Shooting Star 2017


Meteoric is an apt term for the career trajectory of Adam Gauntlett, this year's Shooting Star - the Rising Star we give just a little bit of extra recognition. In the two and a half years he has been an agent at PFD - which he joined as an intern straight after graduating from Kings College London - he has built a wide-ranging list of prize winners, débutants poised for stardom and big brands which span virtually every genre of publishing. The eclecticism was a conscious decision. "It was daunting starting out. I needed to build a list quickly and for it to be profitable," he explains. "I realised that this is a precarious business sometimes. Tastes can change, so I didn't want to put all my eggs in one basket."

Standouts include début thriller writer David Young, for whom Gauntlett secured a three-book deal with Bonnier Zaffre and whose Stasi Child picked up a Crime Writers' Association Dagger; Lisa Thompson's middle-grade novel Goldfish Boy (Scholastic), Waterstones' January 2017 Children's Book of the Month; and Andrew Zurcher's children's fantasy novel, for which Gauntlett has negotiated a slew of six-figure deals. Gauntlett also represents PFD's theatrical rights, a lucrative stream for the agency.

But the highlight to date has undoubtedly been the blockbuster The GCHQ Puzzle Book (Michael Joseph), a title which shows his proactive agenting. The idea for the book took root after he heard on the radio that GCHQ made up puzzles for its annual Christmas card. Gauntlett approached GCHQ with the idea, had a fortuitous breakfast meeting with PRH boss Tom Weldon, in which he mentioned the book, and the title has gone on to shift nearly 250,000 units.

THEY SAY "Adam finds great books in strange places, has original and unusual taste, is commercially minded, determined and entrepreneurial and - once the negotiation is over! - is a pleasure to deal with." - Tom Weldon, PRH UK c.e.o.