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Literary Agents - The Power Behind the Passion

LONDON Few professions combine the tetra of talent that forms a successful literary agent. Sharp negotiation skills, a working knowledge of intellectual property, the juggling of New York/LA time zones - all wrapped up in a singular creative passion. And for around a 15% return on 100% commitment to their authors.

Here, we make visible three members of the invisible estate...  


Camilla Bolton

Senior Agent 

Darley Anderson Agency

Your career trajectory and current specialism?

I have been here for 11 years and started as an office assistant and reader before Darley gave me the incredible opportunity to become an agent after three months at the agency. I specialise in fiction focusing mainly on crime, thrillers and suspense, although I do also take on a few women’s fiction and non-fiction projects if I fall in love with them.

Approach to nurturing talent - debut and established authors...

The key for our agency is that we sign authors with the belief that we will represent them for their whole careers. As an agent you have to obsessively love a manuscript, but it is also hugely important that we believe we can work with an author over hopefully many years and be the very best advocate for their work.

A big part of my job is working very closely with authors editorially and nurturing them from the outset so they are equipped and ready to work with editors. Once we have deals in place – we purposefully keep hold of the world rights so we can submit directly worldwide - we then support authors, manage and strategise their careers, maintain positive relationships with publishers and negotiate the very best terms and advances for contracts. Overall, day to day, our approach is definitely one of supporting and protecting our authors now, whilst being very aware of the market and strategising how their future careers will flourish.

Challenges currently facing the agency market and your company - and your outlook for 2019

The book market is continuously changing and this year has been harder for paperbacks to secure shelf space, but then hardbacks are definitely holding their worth. The ebook market fascinates me as readers tend to be far more genre loyal as opposed to the author loyalty you find with printed books. So we need to work with authors and publishers to find new ways to ensure an author’s presence is sustained.

Every year there are challenges but the key for us is ensuring our represented authors have all the support they need, whilst as an agency we are also very focused on discovering new talent and future bestsellers. When you have an amazing manuscript with characters and plot that blow you away then it shouldn’t matter if it’s being called a challenging year; as an agent you need to have unwavering belief and determination that there is always a way to ensure the manuscript will become a novel that readers will love. So our outlook is extremely positive and we’ve got some amazing books being published in 2019.

What were your highlights for 2018?

We’ve had a phenomenal year with Lee Child dominating the world and at the agency we’ve had five books at No 1 in the UK and four at No 1 in the US. Overall in just the UK and US, fourteen of our authors have been chart bestsellers, including ten books on the Sunday Times bestseller list and eight on the New York Times bestseller list. Two of my authors reached the remarkable milestone of having sold over a million copies so this has also been incredibly exciting. Another huge work highlight for me personally was having both B A Paris’ Bring Me Back and Catherine Steadman’s Something In The Water on the New York Times bestseller list at the same time. I’ve also sold four debuts with a fifth looking like it’s about to go under offer, so it’s been a thriving year for new talent.

And your tips on the stocking-filler titles for Christmas?

There is an amazing independent bookshop in central London called Goldsboro Books that specialises in beautiful collectible hardbacks so I always tell people to visit here for stocking-filler gifts. For particular titles, Past Tense by Lee Child is phenomenal (and competing to be my favourite Reacher book so far) and You Were Gone by Tim Weaver is a genius mix of an amazing hook, incredible protagonist and beautiful storytelling. If you’re looking for really fresh voice driven titles then the debut You Don’t Know Me by criminal lawyer Imran Mahmood has received huge acclaim, and G X Todd’s Defender and her Voices series has been compared to King’s The Stand so she is definitely an author to watch.

Angharad Kowal Stannus

Founder 

Kowal Stannus Agency 

Your career trajectory and current specialism?

I spent the first 10 years of my career on the publishing side in NY at Simon & Schuster as director of rights, specialising in the international markets. In 2008 I switched to the agenting side and moved to London where I opened the UK office of literary agency Writers House. In 2017 I had the pleasure of going out on my own and opened the Kowal Stannus Agency.

Big picture publishing has always held a fascination for me, whether it’s through business with publishers in countries all over the world, or being able to offer my clients the knowledge that comes with having been on both sides of publishing and agenting spectrum. A background in rights –
selling translation, film and television, merchandise, or what have you – also trained me to think about books as a gateway to many different things. During my career I’ve been privileged to represent an incredibly diverse list of authors and illustrators such as: Stephen Hawking, Nora Roberts, Neil Gaiman, Michael Lewis, Rachel Renee Russell, Karen Rose, Christopher Paolini, and Natalia and Lauren O’Hara, to name just a few. So much so that I’ve purposely chosen not to specialize in any one genre; KSA represents fiction and nonfiction for adults and children.

Having a wide view of all publishing markets makes me more valuable in this world of intellectual property, and certainly makes my job more fun.

Approach to nurturing talent - debut and established authors...

In this world of ever-tightening budgets, editors have less and less time to edit, and therefore won’t acquire something that needs more than a fair amount of editorial work. As an ex-publisher, I know just how busy they are. A manuscript has to be loved not just by the editor, but by the many other gatekeepers working with that editor. That’s where your agent comes in. I provide editorial comments and support, and usually my advice is less about the creative and more about the commercial, or helping clients to think about the bigger picture. It’s also about supporting my clients across publicity, marketing, branding, the development of their website, etc. But the most important thing is a good relationship and respect.

Challenges currently facing the agency market and your company - and your outlook for 2019?

It’s no surprise that the entertainment market is incredibly competitive. The most important thing is to get the client’s work in the right hands, and provide the tools to know where in the market to place it. My outlook for 2019 is incredibly positive – I can’t wait to see some client’s new or debut
titles published, and to continue to add new voices and artists to my list. I’d love to add some more commercial fiction, and I’m still looking for the perfect love story.

What were your highlights for 2018?

Growing my client’s individual careers is always the highlight of the year. I’m also thrilled to have signed some fantastic new voices and stunning Illustrators, which you’ll be hearing about next year.
And I’m particularly pleased that Lauren O’Hara was chosen to illustrate Sophie Dahl’s first book for children, Madame Badobedah,due to publish next autumn, so look for it then.

And your tips on the stocking-filler titles for Christmas?

For a great gift for your daughter, as a family activity, or for someone who needs a little lift, I recommend Write A Letter by kindred spirit Jodi Ann Bickley. For pure escapism and to shake off end of year malaise, book 1 in Angus Watson’s new series, You Die When You Die. Or for the youngest ones, the gorgeous picture book, The Bandit Queen, by sisters Natalia and Lauren O’Hara.

Donald Winchester

Literary Agent 

Watson, Little 

Your career trajectory and current specialism?

I’ve been a literary agent at Watson, Little for five years, after a half-decade at AP Watt, and before that in editorial at Penguin. At Watson, Little (which incidentally is nearing its 50th anniversary), I look after a broad range of fiction and non-fiction. In fiction I tend to look for high quality writing in many areas – I am most readily seduced by a story that combines smart and compassionate writing with a playful approach to structure. Some of my favourite contemporary novelists include Sarah Hall, Edward St Aubyn, and Zadie Smith.

Approach to nurturing talent - debut and established authors...

Every author is different, and has different needs. My view is that an agent is there to serve their authors, to give them what support, feedback, and encouragement they need – while also negotiating the best deal for them on all fronts. This means a curated approach for each writer. I do a lot of editorial work with my authors – ensuring their work is in the best possible shape before an editor sees it.

Challenges currently facing the agency market and your company - and your outlook for 2019?

The general constraints of the market, where readers have an increasing array of entertainment options to choose from, remains an issue to those (like me) who love books above all! On the industry side, publishers’ eagerness to acquire non-traditional rights (often to the detriment of authors) will continue to be a challenge.

What were your highlights for 2018?

Cyprian Ekwensi’s brilliant Jagua Nana, the story of a bold and resourceful woman in revolutionary Nigeria, was published by Penguin Modern Classics this year. It is a real gem, by an unjustly neglected and prolific writer, but is also personally pleasing as its been brought back into print after several years.

And your tips on the stocking-filler titles for Christmas?

The familiar (Sally Rooney, Ladybird remakes, Michelle Obama’s autobiography) will be there but I’m also hoping people will make time for Pat Barker’sThe Silence of the Girls, Timothy Morton’s Being Ecological, and Jesmyn Ward’s Sing, Unburied, Sing.

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Bumbu Rum Airs With Lil Wayne

NEW YORK Bumbu Rum Co. is set to air a new interview series, "The Bumbu Room," in which celebs and their fans engage in a candidly Q&A. Rapper Lil Wayne takes the mic first in the series which premiered today on Billboard.  Lucy Reid   lucy@redcarpetmagazine.co.uk

Bumbu Rum is owned by Sovereign Brands, a family-run, global wine & spirits company headquartered in New York and led by CEO Brett Berish. Bumbu is a craft rum brand from Barbados,  ranking high in the world order of critically acclaimed rums.

Following Lil Wayne’s debut, future pisodes of "The Bumbu Room" will star DJ Khaled, Rick Ross, Dave East, and others. Prior to filming, each artist will announce their “Bumbu Room” participation on social media so that fans have the opportunity to submit their best questions.

In Episode 1, Lil Wayne weighs in on keeping multiple girlfriends, plastic surgery, Rihanna vs. Nicki Minaj, and Jordan vs. Kobe.

Click HERE to watch...

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United Productions At Andrea Bocelli Tour

 

The performances of legendary tenor Andrea Bocelli went up an octave thanks to United Production’s choreography on his UK Tour.  Lucy Reid  lucy@redcarpetmagazine

The company has been providing entertainment, creative direction and staging across the entertainment industry for the past 15 years. United Production dancers, Ediz Ibrahim and Hannah Jennings roused an audience of 20,000 at London’s O2 Arena.

United's Lyndon Lloyd choreographed a spectacular, classic piece while the company supplied full casting, dancers, styling and creative direction for the show.

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New SVP At Nickelodeon

 

NEW YORK Nickelodeon has announced Ron Hines as senior vice president, for creative development, global experience design. Lucy Reid       lucy@redcarpetmagazine.co.uk

 

Hines’s promotion will see him report to Anne Mullen, executive vice president, preschool brand creative and marketing. He will lead a team of designers and art directors who work with partners to develop, produce and implement Nickelodeon licensed theme parks, waterparks, resorts, cruises, live entertainment productions, exhibits and corporate events. 

With decades of design experience, Hines has helped bring to life Nickelodeon Universe in the Mall of America, as well as theme parks and waterparks in Europe, Asia and Australia.

Based in Orlando, FL, Hines will continue leading on two new Nickelodeon Universe projects currently under development at the American Dream Mall in New Jersey scheduled to open in 2019 and Mall of China in Chongqing scheduled to open in 2020. 

Hines comes from a global brand backgroud that includes Universal, Hard Rock and AT&T.

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Rolling Stones and Universal Shake On It

LOS ANGELES: The decade-old union between The Rolling Stones and Universal Music Group (UMG), has moved closer with the announcement of a global deal that encompasses the band’s recorded music and audio-visual catalogues. Abigail Parkin  abigail@redcarpetmagazine.co.uk

 

UMG will also be providing archival support, global merchandising and brand management.

The status of both parties as global players has been well-established over the years: The Rolling Stones’ huge  impact on pop culture finely tunes with UMG’s expertise and resources.

Sir Lucian Grainge, chairman & CEO of UMG said, “After a decade of working in partnership together, we are thrilled to expand and extend our relationship with The Rolling Stones.  We look forward to bringing our expertise and passion to bear as we put our global organization to work on behalf of this iconic band who continue to create music and influence culture around the world.”

David Joseph, chairman & CEO, Universal Music UK, added: “The Rolling Stones continue to define rock and roll, they are loved the world over and they are the band who never let up. It’s a privilege to work with them and Joyce Smyth, their exceptional manager.”

Joyce Smyth, The Rolling Stones manager said, “For many years now we’ve had a wonderful partnership with Universal Music and look forward to an even more successful future together.’’

UMG will continue to distribute the band’s celebrated recorded music catalogue globally with future projects and reissues to be released through UMG’s labels and networks around the world.

Bravado, UMG’s brand-management and merchandise arm leads the global provider of consumer, lifestyle and branding services to recording artists and will handle global merchandising rights, retail licensing, brand management and e-commerce on behalf of the band, including their iconic tongue logo, one of the most universally recognized symbols in entertainment.

Bravado’s radar will also identify innovative opportunities for creative collaboration within the worlds of art, fashion, retail, sport, lifestyle and touring merchandise to excite and inspire their millions of fans around the world. 

Recent programs and collections include partnerships with Paris Saint Germain FC, Selfridges, Colette and Zara and newly designed merchandise for their No Filter European Tour.

Eagle Rock, the UMG-owned leading producer and distributor of music programming for broadcast, DVD, Blu-Ray, TV and Digital Media, has expanded its global distribution rights to the band’s extensive long-form audio visual catalogue.

The agreement will see Eagle Rock re-issuing several classic concert films from their archives including: Atlanta (1989); Steel Wheels (1989-90); Voodoo Lounge (1994); Bridges to Babylon (1997-1998); Four Flicks (2002) and Bigger Bang (2005-2006).

Picture credit: Dave Hogan

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Gray & Farrar Appoints New MD

 

Mayfair-based matchmaking consultancy Gray & Farrar has announced the appointment of Kalina Boyadjiew as its first managing director.

 

The consultancy leads with a policy of “No apps, algorithms or data matches” instead opting for a more personal bespoke service to its wealthy clients.

In a bid to boost global expansion of the family-owned British brand Kalina Boyadjiew brings a background of real estate and lifestyle industry experience to the role from luxury operators including the Four Seasons Hotel, Residences and Private Members Club and renowned developer Candy & Candy where she oversaw the sales programme and service delivery of One Hyde Park.

She also makes a debut as the first non-family member to join the business at managerial level from its discreet headquarters in a Mayfair townhouse in London.

Gray & Farrar was established by Virginia Sweetingham in 2005 and boasts over 40 years of collective expertise under the Sweetinghams.

Kalina Boyadjiew said: “Matchmaking is undergoing a seismic evolution as society falls out of love with the impersonal, random and casual nature of dating websites and apps, and further embraces the concierge culture which dictates that one must appoint an expert to ensure that every facet of life runs seamlessly. Gray & Farrar is leading that charge, combining a global outlook with bespoke client service, tailored to fulfil the needs and demands of the most discerning HNWIs.

“My experience in international luxury offers the ultimate background to guide Gray & Farrar through its next period of expansion, both domestically and across the globe, identifying strategically selected opportunities and partnerships along the way.”

Virginia Sweetingham added: “It is fantastic to have Kalina on board at Gray & Farrar. Her global experience is just what the business needs to build on its incredibly strong foundations, and to realise its global potential. We are looking forward to applying the knowledge and experience Kalina brings with her which, together with our unrivalled knowledge of matchmaking, will ensure that Gray & Farrar continues to offer the best possible service to its clients whilst becoming recognised as the world leader in its field.”

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Neptunus Production Win

Temporary structure supplier Neptunus has been named the UK’s Best Temporary Structure Supplier at the Event Production Awards 2018.

Neptunus scooped the award in one of the most fiercely contested categories for their role at live events including The National Eisteddfod of Wales and Belgium’s electronic music dance festival Tomorrowland.

Judges said: “This was an excellent presentation, well thought out and creative and showed such diversity in the work they undertake.”

Neptunus reached its 80th anniversary last year and marked the occasion by launching an innovative new structure, Salacia. The circular Salacia was designed especially for Tomorrowland after the festival’s organisers challenged Neptunus to come up with a new and dynamic creation for their event.

The innovastructure was a key element of Neptunus’ Event Production Award entry which saw the company beat off opposition from eight other industry rivals to take the prestigious title in London.

April Trasler, MD of Northamptonshire-based Neptunus received the award on behalf of the company and said afterwards: “We are really thrilled to be named Best Temporary Structure Supplier in recognition of our performance at live events last year at a time when we were celebrating our 80th anniversary.

“Awards such as this recognise the efforts of everyone at Neptunus while our new Salacia structure also demonstrates just how creative our design team are. They are constantly coming up with really innovative bespoke solutions for our customers, pushing the boundaries to ensure that our customers’ visions can be turned into reality – and this is so important to enable us to keep ahead in such a competitive industry.”

 

April Trasler (pictured 3rd right) accepts the award on behalf of Neptunus with project manager Richard Treml (2nd right) and project director Ben Keast (far left).

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Annabel's Cultural Committee

Annabel’s has enlisted a formidable creative coterie to bring cultural magic to the Mayfair institution ahead of its opening later this year. Abigail Parkin.

 

The Cultural Committee will comprise photographer Mario Testino, fashion and style commentator Derek Blasberg, make-up artist CharlotteTilbury and contemporary art influencer Hikari Yokoyama.

Opened by Mark Birley in 1963, Annabel’s has been host to names such as Frank Sinatra and Elizabeth Taylor and ushered in a new generation of musicians and models to carouse under its vaulted ceilings. Later this year Annabel’s will move two doors down from 44 to 46 Berkeley Square in a spectacular relaunch.  

Creative counsel, Testino will work with Martin Brudnizki and the Annabel’s team on aspects of the atmosphere and setting the tone for the ‘now’ generation. The renowned photographer will collaborate with Hikari Yokoyama on a modern-day version of the Annabel’s Triptych; a piece originally painted by John Ward to celebrate the venue’s 20th anniversary featuring the Club’s founding members. The 2017 version will feature some of  Annabel’s most influential members – quite a potential roll-call when figures such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Kate Moss, Tom Cruise, Lady Gaga, Madonna and Anna Wintour have all frequented. Who exactly will feature is yet to be decided.

 

Mario Testino (pictured) said: “It is amazing to be involved in the creative process of reimagining such an iconically British institution. I have many fantastic memories of the nights I’ve spent at Annabel’s, and I’m excited to be part of her next chapter.”

Best-selling author Derek Blasberg will be the club’s discerning sartorial eye. “Over the decades Annabel’s has hosted a veritable who’s who of the fashion elite,” he said. “It’s a place that is synonymous with great taste, indulgence and fabulous style. In a place like Annabel’s it’s impossible to feel – and look – anything but spectacular and I’m thrilled to be offering my creative input.”

Annabel’s also gets a beauty director in the shape of make-up artist, Charlotte Tilbury who is charged with seeing that the club looks and feels sensational. And she should know, with A-list clients and friends including Cara Delevingne and Penelope Cruz.  

Owner of the iconic Mayfair venue Richard Caring said: “London, as the greatest city in the world, deserves the world’s greatest club. Annabel’s, as the world’s greatest club, is assembling a collective of people unparalleled in their fields. Mario Testino has - and continues to be - an absolute force, using his genius in the worlds of photography and creativity. We welcome him to our family.”

The member’s club will be opened in an 18th Century, Grade One listed Georgian Townhouse. At 26,000 square feet, the new Club will offer much more space than the original. For the first time, Annabel’s will offer an all-day and all-night experience, with new and additional floors for Members to work, dine and entertain their guests.

 

Membership enquiries - email membership@annabels.co.uk

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Savills - Euro Travel Megatrends Report

 

Global property expert Savills has launched a report which identifies the key trends expected to drive the travel sector by 2030. Abigail Parkin

Its European Hotels Megatrends report predicts that Europe will continue to be the preferred destination for a rising number of ‘silver’ travellers from the EU, Asia and Middle East. These travellers will belie age to opt for more active and sporty getaways by 2030 - in common with younger travellers seeking the same pursuits.

The report sees single holidaymakers across all generations forming a larger share of travellers who will want to meet like-minded people. This is expected to put the onus on hotels to be more accommodating of solo  travellers. It’s partially driven by future traveller confidence in digital connectivity, giving rise to more obscure alternatives in location choice.

Social media will further fuel holidays that allow travellers to “access the inaccessible”. The report goes on to claim that with no new destinations by 2030, travellers will find creative spots that impress their social media followers. It appears that the reward will lie in the risk of uncharted destinations.

Hotel trends are forecast as including facial recognition software across venues to target business travellers, speeding up check-in. Lobbies will offer large, elaborate work/social spaces, with extended food and drink options, as hotels compete with serviced office providers. Also 3D motion technology will allow travellers real-time interaction with colleagues in “immersive” environments. Technology will personalise hotel stays with guests being greeted by their favourite film on TV and their chosen lighting levels as the hotel industry competes with home-sharing platforms.

Ecotourism is expected to rule life by 2030 but without compromising traveller comfort so hotels will need to demonstrate how they minimise their carbon footprint and use fair trade products and support local communities.

George Nicholas, global head of hotels at Savills, said: “Young travellers prioritise ‘experience’ and creating bespoke trips to maximise their leisure time, making them dubious of impersonal hotels and of following well-trodden tourist trails. Alongside this you have the already well-travelled baby boomers who are not willing to compromise on comfort or experience as they grow older. Hotels therefore will need to focus on what they can provide that is truly unique and how they can tailor and personalise their offer, be that for a 22 year old single traveller or a 65 year old couple, to continue to capture their custom in 2030.”

 

 

 

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Summer Festivals Fuelled By Eat to the Beat

Is Lady Gaga an avocado fan? Does Chris Martin enjoy a wild mushroom munch? The answers are all in a season’s work for long-time artist caterer Eat to the Beat .

The company’s hectic festival roster starts from now and end in. Eat to the Beat (ETTB) and parent company GIG will be delivering backstage, crew and VIP artist catering at 16 of the UK’s major festivals including Glastonbury at Worthy Farm, Somerset.

ETTB has 19 years of Glastonbury experience and has perfected an operational plan to be executed by a team of 10. The process is being overseen by Mary Shelley-Smith, ETTB’s global operations director. In short, her team will feed crews and artists, including the BBC’s crew and presenters, from the show build phase throughout the festival until site clearance.

 “Glastonbury involves meticulous planning and agility in delivery,” said Mary Shelley-Smith. “We bring our own equipment onto site which includes sinks and hot water provision. A 50-strong team supported by numerous volunteers serve breakfast, lunch and dinner to 950 people each day, but over the main festival days Eat to the Beat will serve over 13,000 meals. “Our team of around 20 chefs will provide a 24-7 service including three course lunches with lots of choice to suit every artist and crew taste we’ve come across!”

Crews from ETTB will be work until at major festivals throughout the summer, ending at Leeds Festival in August. Interim stops include V Festival, Download and the Rewind Festivals.

See : www.globalinfusiongroup.com

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