CBC and Curtis Brown are proud to be partnering with the Women’s Prize Trust and Audible to run Discoveries, a writing development prize and programme, which offers practical support and encouragement to aspiring female novelists of all ages and backgrounds, from across the UK and Ireland.
Rosie Pierce joined Curtis Brown in 2018, after working in the editorial department of an independent publisher in Edinburgh. She currently works alongside Felicity Blunt and is also building her own list of authors. Rosie is also one of the team working behind the scenes on Discoveries 2022, and is a reader for the prize.
We caught up with Rosie to find out more about what it is like working at a literary agency, what she enjoys reading and her advice for writers submitting to Discoveries 2022.
You work alongside literary agent Felicity Blunt, and you are also building your own list of authors. What are you looking for in a submission from a new writer?
I am always looking for storytelling that is led by a fresh and confident voice, be that in a warm, fun romantic comedy or an eerie, unsettling ghost story. I love reading about love in all its complicated, wonderful, painful forms – and how it can bring out the best and worst in human behaviour. And if a story makes me laugh, I am sold.
Can you tell us about your favourite part of working in a literary agency?
It’s extremely glamorous. Only joking. I enjoy how collaborative the job is. We get to work with so many brilliant and creative people: authors, editors, publicists, agents and scouts.
What is your number one tip for writers starting to pitch their novel?
Keep your pitch concise. You don’t need to cover the full plot of your novel; you just need to introduce us to the heart and hook of your story.
Who is your favourite fictional character?
Truthfully, I don’t think I have one. But there are many who have stayed with me after I’ve finished their stories. Most recently: Frannie in In the Cut, Bill Furlong in Small Things Like These, Edie in Luster, everyone in Happy All the Time.
What’s been your favourite book of 2021?
I loved Memorial by Bryan Washington – it’s funny, tender and moving. A brilliant novel.
I’d like to remind anyone thinking about submitting to Discoveries that your work does not need to be finished or perfectly polished. We are looking for writing that has originality and potential!
It is also worth checking out CBC’s library of free digital resources on all aspects of the writing and publishing process. There is so much great information and advice on there that may be helpful as you pull together your submission.