Last week, we introduced you to the tutors on Curtis Brown Creative‘s six-month novel-writing course (which begins on 13 February, in case you’d forgotten). But the list of luminaries heading up the teaching side of things isn’t all we’re offering. Oh no. Those lucky enough to be offered a place on the UK’s only agent-led creative-writing course will also be treated to insider advice from some seriously hefty literary heavyweights, who will come in to spend time with the group. Our roster of guest speakers alone should be enough to get you filling in that application form and polishing up your first chapters in time for the submission deadline this Sunday. After all, this is who you could be sharing coffee and biscuits with…
Jeffrey Archer has topped the bestseller lists around the world, with sales of over 250 million copies in 97 countries and more than 37 languages of his 15 novels, six collections of short stories, three plays, three children’s books, three volumes of prison diaries and a Gospel. He gained a Blue in Athletics at Oxford, was President of the University Athletics Club and went on to run the 100 yards in 9.6 seconds for Great Britain in 1966. Jeffrey has served five years in the House of Commons, 19 in the House of Lords and two in Her Majesty’s prisons. In 1980 Jeffrey Archer’s novel Kane and Abel was an international No 1 bestseller. Thirty-two years later his 2012 novel, The Sins of the Father, was another No 1 and remained in the top 10 bestseller chart for 12 weeks. Jeffrey is an art collector and amateur auctioneer, conducting around 30 charity auctions a year, and has raised more than £10 million in the last 10 years for good causes.
A native of Dublin, Sheila started her publishing career at Poolbeg Press, before moving to London in 1991, working at a number of leading publishers, including HarperCollins and Hodder. During the 1990s and early 2000s, she held a number of high-profile sales and marketing positions, and worked closely with many authors and agents. This was her inspiration to change to ‘the other side’ and in 2003 she became a literary agent.
She is very proud to represent a wide range of authors and specialises in women’s commercial fiction, crime and thrillers, memoir, business, sport and MBS. Her broad knowledge of the book industry in the UK, Ireland and international markets is a wonderful asset in her work with authors and publishers.
Jonathan Freedland, aka Sam Bourne
Jonathan Freedland is an award-winning journalist and broadcaster. He is also Sam Bourne, the author of bestselling thrillers. The Righteous Men, Sam Bourne’s first novel, was an international hit and was selected as one of Richard and Judy’s Summer Reads. He has continued this success with a series of bestselling novels, all of which are published by HarperCollins. He has sold more a million copies in the UK alone for his first three thrillers. Pantheon, his fifth, was published in 2012.
Jonathan Freedland writes for The Guardian, The New York Times and The New York Review of Books, and has a monthly column in The Jewish Chronicle. He also presents BBC Radio 4‘s contemporary history series The Long View. Jonathan was named Columnist of the Year in the annual What the Papers Say Awards of 2002 and in 2008 he was awarded the David Watt prize for journalism.
Aside from his day job as a literary agent, Jonny is also Joint CEO of Curtis Brown and Managing Director of the books division. After working as an actor in the early 1990s, he turned to book agenting and joined Curtis Brown as an assistant before becoming an agent in 1995.
He works with a fantastic range of writers spanning from authors of first-class literary fiction to bestselling thriller writers, from groundbreaking journalists to public figures and business people, from comedians and actors to the very best writers in the field of women’s commercial fiction. He also wrote a humour book in 2006 called Yes, But is it Good for the Jews? which was published by Penguin (UK), Bloomsbury (US) and Einaudi (Italy).
Jonny was on the steering committee for World Book Night 2011 and World Book Night 2012, and the London Book Fair Advisory Board. He also produced a book with Bloomsbury called New Beginnings to raise money for victims of the 2004 Tsunami.
He was shortlisted for the British Inspiration awards in the media category for 2011, and shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year Award in 2007, 2010 and 2011, and was named Literary Agent of the Year in 2012. He was also named among the most influential people in publishing in 2012 by the Evening Standard.
Jonathan is the Chairman of Curtis Brown. He joined the agency in 1994 from HarperCollins where he was Managing Director of Adult Trade Publishing. Jonathan represents a number of bestselling fiction authors who feature in the Guardian Top 100 annual list and he also has a wide range of non-fiction clients and well-known autobiographers, from politicians to celebrities.
He was President of AAA (Association of Authors’ Agents) from 1999 to 2002 and was pleased to be voted Agent of the Year from a shortlist of six literary agents at the British Book Industry Awards in 2009.
Jojo Moyes studied at The Royal Holloway and Bedford New College and then won a bursary to attend the postgraduate City University journalism course. After a year working for the South China Morning Post in Hong Kong, Jojo joined The Independent as a general news reporter and became Assistant News Editor in 1998, remaining on the news desk until January 2000, when she went back to writing as the Arts and Media Correspondent. She has been a full-time novelist since 2002, when her first book, Sheltering Rain, was published. She lives on a farm in Essex with her husband, journalist Charles Arthur, and their three children.
Karolina represents a variety of authors, from award-winning debut novelists to internationally renowned writers of quality non-fiction and popular fiction bestsellers including Haruki Murakami, Cormac McCarthy, Alan Furst, Naomi Klein, Siri Hustvedt and EL Doctorow. Karolina is always on the lookout for great and innovative storytelling, excellent prose and original ideas – whether commercial or literary.
Gordon began working in the book industry in 1989, as a bookseller, and joined Curtis Brown in 2005 from John Murray at Hodder Headline/Hachette, where he was Publishing Director. Before that, he had been Publisher of the Pan Macmillan divisions Sidgwick & Jackson, Boxtree and Channel Four Books, where he was lucky enough to be responsible for a number of bestsellers over the course of a decade. He has also worked in New York in both the agenting and publishing sides of the business.
Gordon’s client list embraces non-fiction – from personality-led and personality-driven projects to history and lifestyle, by high-profile authors or leading media companies – and a select fiction list featuring intelligent writing with commercial genre awareness. He is currently a committee member of the Association of Author’s Agents, and was shortlisted for Agent of the Year at the Bookseller British Book Industry Awards 2012.
As well as expert teaching from published authors, all our novel-writing courses offer dedicated modules on submitting your novel to literary agents – and include sessions on writing a synopsis and preparing a covering letter. Click for more information or to apply for our creative writing courses.