29 March 2018

What the literary agents are reading this rainy Easter

Books from former CBC novel-writing students
by Katie Smart From the Agents

The UK weather for this Easter bank holiday is not looking great – but there’s nothing like a good novel to brighten up a rainy Easter weekend. We asked the literary agents from Curtis Brown and C+W  to tell us what books they’ll be curling up with whilst munching their chocolate eggs and hot cross buns, and here are their answers … 

Alice Lutyens (agent at Curtis Brown):
Alice Lutyens

The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin. I am fascinated by explorations of life and death, and the immense mystery of death.  Would you want to know when you were going to die? Would it mean you could make all the right choices and die with no regrets, or would you be unhappy and live in fear? All questions I shall be pondering over the time of year when everything springs back into life.

Lucy Morris (agent at Curtis Brown):

Lucy Morris

Top of the dangerously teetering bedside table pile is Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I shall also make a good stab at squeezing in some of the (beautifully jacketed) Patrick Melrose novels by Edward St Aubyn between overly competitive Easter egg hunts/brawls.

Gordon Wise (agent at Curtis Brown):

Gordon Wise

I’m going to try Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman because EVERYONE is talking about it! (As well as Taschen’s fabulous illustrated tome Entryways of Milan because fabulous architecture of the 30s-70s always gives me an enormous kick.

Allison DeFrees (working closely with Clare Conville, C+W):

allison defrees

John Launcester’s The Debt to Pleasure, because I don’t cook enough and am thinking a book about food and recipes (and many themes besides) might spur my culinary inclinations. And so far it’s hysterically funny, which is a good way to obliterate all thoughts of rain on the windowpane. Also Marc Morris’ King John biography, because I’m curious to see this brilliant historian and writer’s take on the evil squalor that was King John’s reign.

Luke Speed (agent of TV/film rights at Curtis Brown):

luke speed

I’ve finally got around to reading The Secret History by Donna Tartt, and plan to finish it …

Cathryn Summerhayes (agent at Curtis Brown):

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My recommendation is Sal by Mick Kitson – a book which makes you feel that whatever the world throws at you, you can find a way through the bad times.  Teenager Sal and her 11 year old half-sister Peppa have run away from an abusive family life to live in the wilderness, just outside Glasgow.  Sal has learnt all you need to know about survival from Wikipedia – she can hunt, fish, build a shelter, even murder a terrible step-father and get away with it …

Abbie Greaves (working closely with Sheila Crowley, Curtis Brown):

Abbie Greaves

I’m looking forward to reading The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin which has been garnering brilliant reviews on both sides of the (Atlantic) pond. I am fortunate to have been given a hardback, and it’s a reasonably sized tome, so I’ll need the extra energy from the Crème Eggs to help me hold it up.

Niall Harman (working closely with Gordon Wise, Curtis Brown):

niall

I’m reading Small Island by Andrea Levy (at 500-odd pages I think I’ll just about have time to read it in between questions from the family about what a literary agency does.)

Anna Davis (Director of Curtis Brown Creative):

Photography for Curtis Brown Creative

I’m in the middle of reading Lullaby by Leila Slimani, having just got back from a trip to Paris (where it’s set). It’s an elegantly chilling read – a sort of French literary Mary Poppins-gone-dark story, and it won the Prix Goncourt. I’m also planning to read Daphne du Maurier’s My Cousin Rachel, which is a big favourite of lots of writers I know and respect. I’m a bit embarrassed that I haven’t read it already, and I figure it’s time to remedy that!

Maybe we’ll be reading your book in the future …

The Curtis Brown and C+W agents and assistants appear as visiting speakers for our London-based courses. Take a look at our next Three Month Novel Writing Course in London, with Charlotte Mendelson (deadline for applications is Sunday 8 April) – and there’s one fully-funded scholarship place available

If you’re not in London, you can apply for our online Three Month Novel Writing Course with Suzannah Dunn  (deadline for applications is Sunday 8 April), which includes two online ‘agent days’.

If you’re writing a novel for young adults or children, take a look at our Three Month online course with Catherine Johnson

We also offer shorter online novel-writing courses for all-c0mers. Find out more about our courses here.

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