Those checking out the Three-Month Creative-Writing Course and Online Creative-Writing Course on the Curtis Brown Creative website will have no doubt noticed something of a surfeit of guest speakers. This is down to a new partnership between Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh – and the latter’s stunning rosta of literary agents eagerly wanting to get involved with the UK’s only agent-led creative-writing school. So, here’s your chance to get to know the Conville & Walsh agents. Though, of course, if you’d like to meet them in the flesh and benefit from their unrivalled industry knowledge – not to mention their thoughts on writing – you’ll need to .apply for our courses here.
Listed by The Observer as one of the ‘top 50 players in the world of books’, Clare Conville previously worked as an editor at Random House, before co-founding the Conville & Walsh agency in 2000. She specialises in literary and commercial fiction, general non-fiction and children’s writers. Between them, Clare’s clients have won or been nominated for nearly every major literary prize. These include the Man Booker Prize, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Guardian First Book Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal and the Blue Peter Book of the Year.
Born and brought up in Venezuela, Patrick Walsh studied law at Cambridge University and entered publishing through a junior position at Watson Little. He then moved to the Christopher Little Agency and built up his own client list at the same time as that agency expanded exponentially with the JK Rowling phenomenon. In 2000, he then left to co-found Conville & Walsh and quickly established a list of bestselling and award-winning authors. His non-fiction list of clients includes scientists, historians, biographers and leading writers on an extensive range of subjects that reflects his diverse interests – from physics to fatherhood; clouds to computer hacking; Romans to the Renaissance. On the personal front, Patrick has a lifelong interest in conservation.
Susan joined Conville & Walsh in 2005. As an agent, she is particularly interested in debut literary and reading-group fiction, as well as accessible science fiction and fantasy. She enjoys novels that are unusual in setting or circumstance, explore moral dilemmas and that have unexpected twists. ‘Being an agent allows me to do what I love best: discovering new and original voices, and helping debut writers launch their careers,’ she says. Susan’s authors include New York Times bestseller ML Stedman and Desmond Elliott Prize winner Ali Shaw.
Alex joined Conville & Walsh in 2009, having worked briefly at Bodley Head upon graduating from Oxford University. Since 2010, he has run convilleandwalsh.com and, in conjunction with Patrick Walsh, also launched Hire Intelligence, the Conville & Walsh speakers’ bureau. As a literary agent, Alex represents a diverse range of fiction and non-fiction. His deals include the debut graphic novel Square Eyes by Anna Mill, Luke Jones and Chris Day (Jonathan Cape), which was shortlisted for The Observer/Jonathan Cape graphic short story prize in 2010; The Death of Bees by Lisa O’Donnell (Heinemann UK, HarperCollins USA), which won the 2013 Commonwealth Book Prize; and the non-fiction book Salt, Sweat and Tears by Adam Rackley (Viking), which was subject of a three-way auction. Alex’s own first novel, Glass, will be published in 2015 by Serpent’s Tail.
Before arriving at Conville & Walsh, Carrie Kania worked in US publishing for 15 years at Random House and HarperCollins. Most recently, she was the SVP Publisher of Harper Perennial where she looked after countless authors and classics, including titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird, The Bell Jar and Brave New World; new writers such as Simon Van Booy, Sarah Hall and Tony O’Neill; and notable authors such as Michael Chabon, Barbara Kingsolver and Mary Karr. She also co-founded It Books, an imprint dedicated to pop culture, fashion, film, music and celebrity. In the imprint’s first 18 months, it boasted 13 New York Times bestsellers, including two number-one titles. She has taught at NYU as has spoken at numerous writers’ conferences. She likes the store Liberty, taxidermy, Beckett and skulls; and she co-runs the independent bookstore/café The Society Club in Soho, London.
Sophie Lambert grew up in London and studied English and German at Kings College, University of London and Aachen, Germany. She spent several years as a bookseller and buyer for Blackwells before moving to New York for three years and working for Janklow & Nesbit Associates. Sophie returned to London and freelanced before becoming the Foyles buyer for Selfridges. In 2009 she joined Tibor Jones as an Associate Agent and in 2011 was named a director of the company. She is now building an exciting list at Conville & Walsh, which ranges from literary and commercial fiction to thought-provoking non-fiction. Sophie is looking for authors whose writing stands out in new and different ways.
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.