Anwen Hooson, co-founder and former co-managing director of Riot Communications, is launching the Bird Literary Agency.
The business already has three debut writers on its books, with work ranging from serious non-fiction to YA thrillers, which, according to Hooson, "perfectly illustrates" the kind of books the agency wants to get behind.
Bird’s first clients include Professor Matthew Williams, one of the world’s "foremost experts" in hate crime, who is currently working on The Science of Hate, a "timely and fascinating" analysis that draws on psychology, economics, evolutionary theory and cutting-edge brain science in the quest to understand who, why and when we hate. BBC political reporter Bethan James has penned The Women Who Stood, which brings together accounts of pioneering women in politics – from suffragists, party leaders, or steadfast backbenchers – for the 10+ market; and Liz Hyder, a creative writing workshop leader, arts publicist and winner of the 2018 Bridge Award for Emerging Writers, whose YA thriller Bearmouth was described by Hooson as “wholly original – genuinely like nothing I’ve ever read before. It knocked me for six.”
Hooson said: “It’s a thrill and privilege to be launching this new venture with three incredible voices – all united by the fact they will inspire and provoke, surely a mission-statement for all great writing."
Hooson, a music graduate and trained classical pianist, jointly founded Riot Communications with Preena Gadher in January 2009. Hooson left Riot Communications last summer to launch a performing arts charity for young people, which goes into pilot phase later this year. Prior to co-founding Riot Communications, Hooson worked at Penguin and at Waterstones.
Hooson, who is funding the business herself, will be working from an office in Brockley, London.
She added: “Selling books, working with authors and collaborating with publishers is what I’ve been doing my whole career, so this feels like a very natural progression. My authors can expect an open-minded, supportive, determined and loyal champion; publishers meanwhile can rely on me to be a straight-talking and passionate team-player.”