Multimedia publisher OWN IT! has launched a literary agency arm, signing author Courttia Newland as its first client.
Billed as a “storytelling lifestyle brand” spearheaded by founder Crystal Mahey-Morgan, the company already operates as a book publisher, a record label and an events arm. Mahey-Morgan will be OWN IT!’s main agent, helping to “diversify how it works with storytellers to include literary representation”. The company is currently negotiating with several sub-agents about a foreign rights partnership, according to a spokesperson for the organisation.
Mahey-Morgan's previous contract negotiation experience includes a year at PFD as well as a three-year stint in the contracts department at Penguin Random House between 2008 and 2012. She described setting up a literary agency as "an obvious next step for OWN IT!"
“From our inception we have been concerned with helping the publishing eco-system find and nurture new writing talent while at the same time growing readerships and reaching new audiences," she said. "Good literary representation is a key part of this and now feels like the perfect time for OWN IT! to expand the business to launch a literary agency arm.”
Newland has signed on as the literary agency's first author. He has had seven works of fiction published which have won nominations for the Impac Dublin Literary Award, The Frank O’ Conner award and The CWA Dagger in the Library Award. His short stories have appeared in anthologies including Best British Short Stories 2017 (Salt) and broadcast on BBC Radio 4. In 2016 he was awarded the Tayner Barbers Award for science fiction writing and the Roland Rees Busary for playwriting. He is associate lecturer in creative writing at the University of Westminster and is completing a PhD in creative writing.
Newland said: “OWN IT!’s multifaceted approach is much like mine, and so it’s a privilege to join a literary agency with such a strong emphasis on going the extra mile for artists and audiences.”
He added: “Their contribution to the contemporary landscape is rich and full of promise. I’m very proud to be the first writer on the OWN IT! Literary Agency list and excited to see the great writers they'll bring to our attention in the future.”
The company’s director Jason Morgan added: “Not only has Courttia Newland got a rich history of eclectic writing behind him, he also has a number of hugely exciting projects that he is currently working on and it’s an honour to have the opportunity to represent and work with such a valuable contributor to contemporary British Literature”.