Situating my novel in terms of genre, literary agents and potential publishers.


I should say at the outset that in terms of length, I am going for a novella. This suits the tight writing style I have and I look towards the examples of writers such as Penelope Fitzgerald in The Bookshop, Christopher Isherwood with A Single Man and Muriel Spark in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie etc.

I create fiction within a historical framework, the story takes the reader to a different time and place. In my case, Eastern Europe during the Communist Era. This is partly because it was a period when the choices people made were determined by the socio-politico situation of the country and their own principles and beliefs.

I am not writing historical fiction in the sense of Hilary Mantell’s Woolf Hall but more in the sense of The Puppet Boy of Warsaw by Eva Weaver, The Book Thief by Markus Zusak and The Secret History by Donna Tartt. The story is character and action driven with the social and political events of the time being relevant to the character and forming an essential raison d’etre for their actions and responses.

At the end of the day, the setting will (I think) determine the publisher. Publishers who have experience of this territory are One World Publishers (https://www.oneworld-publications.com/) and Peter Owen (http://www.peterowenpublishers.com/). Publishers who print commercial contemporary literature are Black Swan (The Book Thief), Weidenfeld & Nicolson (The Puppet Boy of Warsaw) and David Fickling Books (http://www.davidficklingbooks.com/) publisher of John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas.

In terms of agent, it would have to be someone familiar with this territory. Kirsty Dunseath, Fiction Publishing Director, Weidenfeld & Nicolson has a good track record in this field. Agents who seem to be familiar with the type of work I wish (or am) to produce are Debbie Carter or Waverly Place Literary Agency in New York, Monika Woods of Inkwell Management (she likes books connected with Poland) and possibly Greene & Heaton in the UK (http://www.greeneheaton.co.uk/index.asp) as they look after Sarah Walters.