Literary agents Mark Stanton and Kevin Pocklington, formerly of Edinburgh-based Jenny Brown Associates (JBA), are starting a new agency based in Newcastle called The North.
They will be joined by literary agent Allan Guthrie and freelance editor Julie Fergusson, while Jenny Brown and Lucy Juckes are to remain at JBA.
The decision to launch the agency was “largely geographical”, said Stanton, who is based in Corbridge, Northumberland. Naming the agency The North was a way of pointing out its “selling point”, he added. “When our industry is almost exclusively to be found in London [it’s a point of difference that] we’re not there, we are from the north - as many writers are.”
Pocklington, who has specialised in non-fiction to date, will seek a wider range of non-fiction submissions and to develop a fiction list, including accessible literary, YA and crime titles. Stanton is interested in crime and thrillers, as well as general fiction of “all
sorts” and non-fiction projects, particularly in politics and science.
Stanton has struck The North’s first deal with Hodder editorial director Kate Howard, selling world rights for two new novels by Andy Jones, who was formerly published by Simon & Schuster.
The first, entitled Four, will be a lead reading group title for Hodder next summer. At Frankfurt, The North’s key titles include Xavi, the autobiography of the ex-Barcelona and Spain footballer; a Jerry Lee Lewis memoir entitled Redemption; and the story of Mark Beaumont’s recent world record- breaking cycle trip, Around the World in (Under) 80 Days.
The UK publishing industry’s concentration in London has been a hot topic in the past year. The Northern Fiction Alliance, launched in August 2016, is adding two new members, it has revealed: Hull-based Wrecking Ball Press and Scarborough-based Valley Press. They join current members Comma Press, And Other Stories, Peepal Tree Press, Dead Ink, Saraband, Tilted Axis, Bluemoose Books, Route and Mayfly Press.
The alliance’s new website will launch this week, featuring a digital rights catalogue and specially commissioned readings and interviews with authors.