The Felicity Bryan Publishing Mentorship Scheme has been launched, created in honour of the renowned literary agent who died in June 2020.
An annual paid three-month mentorship programme, the scheme is aimed at anyone from an underrepresented background who is interested in pursuing a career in the publishing industry.
The mentee will be paid the Oxford Living Wage for the duration of the mentorship and there will be a stipend available to cover the cost of accommodation. The scheme is supported by Bryan's family, and “reflects her own energetic nurturing of talent and potential in young people starting out on their careers”.
It will be based primarily at the Felicity Bryan Associates Oxford offices but also include a range of industry placements at partner organisations, including Hachette UK, Profile Books, Andrew Nurnberg Associates, Blackwell’s and Sylvie Zannier Literary Scouting.
Catherine Clarke, m.d. of Felicity Bryan Associates, said: “We are proud to be honouring Felicity’s memory with a scheme designed to open up the commercial workings and creative highlights of our wonderful industry to talented individuals who might otherwise not have that opportunity. And we are immensely grateful for the generous participation of our partners in providing depth and variety to the programme.”
Bryan was one of the most successful and esteemed literary agents in recent decades, establishing her own literary agency in Oxford in 1988, after a career as a journalist and then a director at Curtis Brown in London. When she died, from stomach cancer, in summer 2020, her agency was the largest outside London. She was awarded an MBE in the 2020 New Year's Honours for her services to publishing.
David Shelley, c.e.o. of Hachette UK, said: “I am very honoured that Hachette UK will be working with Felicity Bryan Associates to host interns from underrepresented backgrounds to learn more about the whole publishing process. Helping widen opportunities in our industry was a mission that was close to Felicity’s heart and it’s one we share through our “Changing the Story” programme. I have high hopes that we will be working with some of the publishing talents of the future on this scheme.”
Andrew Franklin, chair of Profile Books, added: “This is a really constructive scheme for two reasons. First it honours the great and still hugely missed Felicity, and second, it will help to address a real problem in our industry. We are very pleased to help.”
Applications for the scheme are open to anyone over 18, based in the UK or Ireland, who considers themselves underrepresented in the publishing industry on the grounds of ethnicity, disability, sexuality, gender, class or any other circumstances. For more information, visit the agency website.