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Rebecca Winfield Interview

Posted on 27 January 2005. © Copyright 2004-2024 WriteWords
A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
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WriteWords talks to Rebecca Winfield, literary agent

Tell us about the agency- history, how you began

Like a lot of other agents, I have a background in publishing. I worked
for Transworld Publishers (part of the Random House Group) for thirteen years as their Rights and Contracts Director. It was a fantastic job and I loved it, but I had always longed to start my own business and so, after a great deal of discussion with friends in the business, I finally took the leap and started my agency in September 2003.

Who is on your list?

My authors are, for the most part, either already published or have a background in journalism. They include Dr Robin Royston, the co-author of a book called Out of the Dark, who is currently working on a book on dreams entitled Whose Mind Is It Anyway, which Bantam will publish next year, Dr Chris Lavers, author of Why Elephants Have Big Ears, whose next book, The Natural History of Unicorns, has been bought by Granta, and Nick Warren, whose biography of his father, the union activist Des Warren, is being published this May by Ebury.

How do you find your writers?

For the most part, they come to me on recommendation from other people in the business. But I do read every submission I receive. I was recently contacted by someone who had the most extraordinary personal story to tell and I knew right away that it would make a fantastic book. It took just a matter of weeks between us first meeting and the book being placed with a major publisher Ė it will appear later in the year but that is as much as I can say for now.

What kind of work are you looking for now?

Very strong non-fiction that is likely to attract newspaper coverage and overseas sales. I would also love to discover the next Anne Tyler because, although I donít handle much fiction, I am confident that there is room in the market for another really strong womanís voice aimed at slightly older readers who are looking for intelligent and engaging fiction.

Who are your favourite writers and why?

My own clients top the list! My taste is pretty varied and includes Monica Ali, Maeve Binchy, Alice Sebold and Michael Houellebecq.

What excites you about a piece of writing-

For novels, itís ambitious plotting and a strong sense of the visual. With non-fiction, I am most interested in books that make the reader re-examine their values and beliefs.

A longer version of this interview is available to WriteWords Full and Community Members.
Click here to learn more about becoming a member.

Comments by other Members

Silverelli at 22:00 on 28 January 2005  Report this post
Rebecca(if you are out there),
Have any of the books you represented been optioned for film?
Is that a particular goal that an agent considers when taking on a project? If so, please elaborate on this topic, if you can.

Thanks for the interview,
WW Silverelli

Anna Reynolds at 16:49 on 31 January 2005  Report this post
By the way, here are the contact details for the agency:

5B Walpole Court,
Ealing Studios,
London W5 5ED
0208 567 6738
07932 673 244

Email : rebecca.winfield@btopenworld.com

Zigeroon at 15:46 on 24 February 2005  Report this post

Thanks for your time and insight into what for most of us is still a mysterious area of writing; getting published.


scriptsplayed at 13:07 on 26 February 2005  Report this post
For a writer who's been trying, and failing, to break into the trade since early 1990 it's heartening to hear your words, Rebecca.

Being one of the entrants of the Richard and Judy competition (with my story Bellus Locus), I felt a little anxiety when glancing over some of the forum posts here. As a result, I made a pact with myself, in that I would let the R&J competition be the deciding factor for the continuation of my writing. When I heard nothing, I decided to forgo the angst and free myself of it once and for all. For some strange reason three things have rekindled the flame again:

a) my own inability to give up - ideas keep presenting themselves to me
b) my certificate of course attendance at the ScriptFactory course - arrived in the post this morning
c) and your interview!

Thank you for instilling the hope within me once more. I am going to be sending 'Flowers Fade' out to a select group of agents (it's lodged within this site if you'd like to give it a quick read).

Kaye Bewley

John Giwa-Amu at 14:02 on 04 April 2005  Report this post
Hi Rebecca,
My name is John giwa-Amu and I have recently been BAFTA Cymru nominated and won the BBC Best New Director Award. I am searching for good source material for my first feature, be it a novel or ideally a treatment ot completed screen-play. If you have anything which is strong and energetic with a hint of youth/political climate I would be interested to read it. My other interests are moentor/student or father/son relationships. I am in strong position to access funding.

Best Wishes

John Giwa-Amu

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