A literary agency based in Edinburgh
Caro Clarke is a literary agent with over thirteen years' experience in publishing – at Transworld (PRH) and at Canongate Books as a Senior Rights Manager. They were named Rights Professional of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2021.In 2019, they co-founded the Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented nature writers, which kickstarted a passion to demystify the publishing industry and help emerging writers to develop their craft and build their writing careers. Portobello Literary was established in 2022 to build on that work.Writers they have worked with have won or been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Saltire National Book Awards, Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize, Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, Forward Prize, Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour, Mo Siewcharran Prize, Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, Northern Writers Award, Nan Shepherd Prize, Laurel Prize, Nature Chronicles Prize, Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Eric Gregory Award, Women in Journalism Georgina Henry award, SI Leeds Literary Award and the Frank Allen Bullock Creative Writing Prize.Contact emailFor more information on the type of authors we're looking for, please visit the Submissions section.Portobello Literary is a network member of Publishing Scotland and Caro Clarke is the Chair of the Association of Scottish Literary Agents.Portobello Literary is proud to be a member of the Association of Authors’ Agents and endorses the principles of best practice in the Association’s Code of Practice.
Logo designed by Rafaela Romaya
Thank you so much for considering Portobello Literary for your submission.We are looking for clients and are happy to chat to writers at any stage of their career.Please follow the guidelines below, which make it easier for us to review your book.Owing to the enormous and increasing volume of submissions that we receive daily, we regret that we cannot guarantee a reply to your submission. We respond to as many submissions as we can but individual responses cannot be guaranteed, and we cannot offer feedback on any submissions that we are unable to pursue further. If we are interested in reading or hearing more about your book, we'll be back in touch within eight to twelve weeks.Please note that we don't accept postal submissions. We also do not accepted submissions originated, written or edited by Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology.To send in your submission, please address your email to Caro at firstname.lastname@example.org with:
A synopsis of your book
A short bio
And, depending on whether you're sending fiction or non-fiction:
- For fiction: the first three chapters or the first 50 pages of your manuscript along with the total word count
- For non-fiction: a chapter outline and three sample chapters no longer than 50 pages.It is helpful if your name and book title are both in the file name and within the files you're sending in the header or footer.If you have any queries about the format of your submission and can't see it answered above or you aren't able to submit in the way outlined below, do email us on email@example.com and we can discuss.If you'd like some tips on crafting your submission, head to our Resources page.
What we're looking for
Caro ClarkeI represent fiction and non-fiction.I have very broad taste in fiction and I’m attracted to excellent writing, clever plots, unusual settings and complex characters. I love all types of stories from niche literary novels, to speculative fiction and fantasy, gripping crime and novels with wide appeal. I am partial to fiction that transports you, steals your heart and makes you think.Some fiction I’ve loved recently: Sweet Bean Paste by Durian Sukegawa, The Mothers by Brit Bennett, Great Circle by Maggie Shipstead, Memorial by Bryan Washington, Ghost Wall by Sarah Moss, How Much of These Hills Is Gold by C Pam Zhang, Girl A by Abigail Dean, At Night All Blood is Black by David Diop, The Stranding by Kate Sawyer, Transcendent Kingdom by Yaa Gyasi, Book Lovers by Emily Henry, Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson, Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell, A River Called Time by Courttia Newland, Welcome to my Life by Bethany Rutter and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.On the non-fiction side, I’m looking for narrative non-fiction, memoir, popular science, big ideas, travel, culture, essays, queer culture and intersectional feminism. I’m also interested in food writing and cookbooks. As the co-founder of the Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented nature writers, I have a particular soft spot for nature writing of any type. What I look for in non-fiction are fascinating topics, a unique perspective or one that disrupts the status quo and an engaging voice. Most of all, I’m looking for writers who are passionate about the topic of their book.Some non-fiction I’ve loved recently: Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner, Small Bodies of Water by Nina Mingya Powles, Islands of Abandonment by Cal Flyn, Inferno by Catherine Cho, Coming Undone by Terri White, Two Trees Make a Forest by Jessica J. Lee, The Lady from the Black Lagoon by Mallory O’Meara, Thick by Tressie McMillan Cottom, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, Why We Swim by Bonnie Tsui, Thin Places by Kerri ní Dochartaigh, Afropean by Johny Pitts, Dark Skies by Tiffany Francis-Baker, Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe and The Lonely City by Olivia Laing.I am always on the lookout for writers from underrepresented backgrounds.I am not looking for children’s books (picture books to YA) at this time.
If you're new to writing and seeking representation, the submission process can seem daunting. Here are some tips on how to prepare the best submission.FICTIONWhat to send?
- The sample chapters you are sending should be the first chapters.
- A synopsis should be a one or two-page document that summarises the plot (including spoilers and the ending!). A synopsis isn’t there to showcase your style (that’s what your sample chapters are for) so keep to simple sentences and get straight to the point. (Most writers find creating a synopsis to be the worst part of the writing process so hang in there.)
- Your bio should tell us a little bit about who you are, and should include any relevant information to your writing. It’s absolutely fine if it’s very short.When to send?
- Send in your book if – and only if – you have finished writing the whole book. (If we request your full manuscript and you haven’t yet finished it, we will ask you to finish it and contact us when you're done).
- Writing is rewriting, so a first draft usually isn’t the best draft to send. Once you finish writing your book, wait a few weeks and read your manuscript again to hone and edit it. Then read it again (and again!) and edit until you’re happy with it.
- You can then share it with someone else for their (honest) thoughts and see what they say. It’s always best to ask someone who enjoys reading the type of book you’ve written. It’s good to send it to a few people, as opposed to just one person.If you’re in the middle of writing your book and you’re not quite sure it’s working and you don’t know what to do…
- One of the best ways to learn your craft is to read a lot of books and read them critically. How is the writer making the characters shine? Is the plot interesting? Is the writing notable?
- If you can afford to, you might consider trying a creative writing course.Books:
On Writing by Stephen King
Your Story Matters by Nikesh Shukla
Story Genius by Lisa Cron
The Science of Storytelling by Will Storr
On Editing: How to edit your novel the professional way by Helen Corner-Bryant and Kathryn PricePodcasts:
New Yorker Fiction
DIY MFA Radio
Monocle Meet the Writers
Death of a 1,000 Cuts
The Underground Writing Podcast
The Writer Files
Writing ExcusesOnline masterclasses:
MasterclassNON-FICTIONIf you would like to receive a proposal template created by Portobello Literary, just email us on firstname.lastname@example.org and we'll send it over!What to send?
- A synopsis should be a one to two-page document that summarises the entire book. A synopsis isn’t there to showcase your style (that’s what your writing sample is for) so keep to simple sentences and get straight to the point. (Most writers find creating a synopsis to be the worst part of the writing process so hang in there!)
- Your bio should be about you, who you are, and any relevant information on your writing or your professional experience or qualifications. It’s absolutely fine if it’s very short.
- Your chapter outline should have a description of equal length for each chapter in your book. This can include the topic you will be talking about, the examples you’ll use, the themes etc.
- The writing sample you include should showcase the very best of your book (subject-wise and writing-wise).When to send?
- Non-fiction books tend to sell on proposal so you don’t need to have finished the book to submit, though you should have a full proposal.
- You will need to edit your writing sample a few times, making sure the extract is very strong and showcases the best of your book idea. Do spend a lot of time and thought on the chapter outline and synopsis. The structure of your book should make sense and be dynamic. It should show how passionate you are about the subject and why you are the best person to write this book. If you're not achieving that, go back and take a look at your structure.If you’re putting together the idea for a book and you’re not quite sure it’s working and you don’t know what to do…
- One of the best ways to learn how to write is to read a lot of books and read them critically. How is the writer showing their passion for the subject? Do they have any particular personal connection to the topic? How is the book structured?
- If you can afford to, you might consider trying a narrative non-fiction writing course.Books:
Storycraft by Jack Hart
How To Write an Autobiographical Novel by Alexander Chee
Write It All Down by Cathy RentzenbrinkOnline masterclasses:
For all rights information and North American co-agents, email Caro Clarke email@example.comFor any queries about rights for our authors in foreign territories or for film and television, please contact the relevant co-agent below:Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia
Mira Droumeva firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Nurnberg Associates Sofia | Jk. Yavorov bl. 56-B, Ap. 9, Sofia 1111, BulgariaArabic Rights
Mohammed Al-Dhabaa Rights@Kalemat-agency.com
Kalemat Agency | Said Bin Zaid, Building No. 6113, Secondary No. 2678 Qurtubah Dist., 12348 Riyadh, Saudi ArabiaLatvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan
Tatjana Zoldnere email@example.com
Eastern European and Asian Rights Agency (EEARA) | 19/21-3 Gertrudes St. Riga, LV 1011, LatviaChina, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Mongolia
Jackie Huang firstname.lastname@example.org
ANA Beijing Representative Office
Room | 1705, Culture Square, No.59 Jia Zhongguancun Street, Haidian District, Beijing 100872, People’s Republic of ChinaCroatia, Hungary
Évi István email@example.com
Andrew Nurnberg Associates Budapest | Gyori út 20, Budapest 1123, HungaryCzech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia
Jitka Německová firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Nurnberg Associates Prague | Jugoslávských partyzánů 17, 160 00 Praha 6, Czech RepublicGermany, Austria, Switzerland
Antje Hartmann email@example.com
Literarische Agentur Kossack GbR | Papenhuder Strasse 49, 22087, Hamburg, GermanyIsrael
Efrat Lev firstname.lastname@example.org
The Deborah Harris Agency, P.O. Box 8528, Jerusalem 9108401, IsraelJapan
Hamish Macaskill email@example.com
The English Agency (Japan) Ltd. | Sakuragi Bldg 3F., 6-7-3 Minami-Aoyama Minato-ku Tokyo, JapanNetherlands, Belgium (Flemish), Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland
Diana Gvozden firstname.lastname@example.org
Marianne Schönbach Literary Agency b.v. | Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 12, 1017 RC Amsterdam, the NetherlandsSpain, Portugal, Brazil
Txell Torrent email@example.com
MB Agencia Literaria | Ronda Sant Pere, 62, 1º-2ª, 08010 Barcelona, SpainTaiwan
Whitney Hsu firstname.lastname@example.org
Andrew Nurnberg Associates Taipei | 8F, No.129, Sec. 2, Zhongshan, North Road, Taipei 10448, TaiwanTurkey
Şafak Tahmaz email@example.com
AnatoliaLit Agency | Caferaga Mah. Gunesli Bahce Sok. No:48 Or.Ko Apt. B Blok D:4 34710, Kadikoy-Istanbul, Turkey
Film and TV
Our film and TV rights are handled by Matthew Dench at Dench Arnold.
If you have any difficulty accessing this website, sending documents or have any queries, contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org
PUBLICATION: The Language of Trees: How Trees Make Our World, Change Our Minds and Rewild Our Lives by Katie Holten
15th June 2023It's publication day for The Language Of Trees: How Trees Make Our World, Change Our Minds and Rewild Our Lives by Katie Holten, a beautiful collection of writing on our close connection to trees, conservation & the Rights of Nature, all illustrated with Katie's Tree Alphabet.
Order from your local bookshop here and from the Portobello Bookshop website.
COVER REVEAL: Some of Us Just Fall: On Nature and Not Getting Better by Polly Atkin
April 2023Out 6th July 2023. More information on Sceptre's website.
Polygon Acquires World English Language Rights to Bucket List by Russell Jones
April 2023We're delighted to have wrapped up a deal with Polygon for Bucket List by Russell Jones which will be published in Spring 2024.‘Russell Jones’s Bucket List is the feel-good novel of the year,’ says Polygon editor Edward Crossan. ‘It’s a hilarious page-turner that’s like a warm hug. Russell’s writing is charming, and he’s developed characters that are both memorable and loveable. I can’t wait to get this book into the hands of readers. And I can’t wait to read more from this author.’More on the acquisition on Birlinn's website.
COVER REVEAL: Too Hot To Sleep by Elspeth Wilson
April 2023Out April 2023. More information on Bent Key Publishing's website.
Some of Us Just Fall: On Nature and Not Getting Better by Polly Atkin - a Bookseller's Editor's Choice
April 2023Caroline Sanderson picked Some of Us Just Fall by Polly Atkin as a Bookseller's Editor's Choice for July 2023 calling it 'striking'.
The Borough Press to publish 'powerful' exploration of grief and nature
April 2023We're delighted to have wrapped up a deal with the amazing Borough Press, an imprint of HarperCollins UK, for Wendy Pratt's The Ghost Lake which will be published in Spring 2024.
More on the acquisition on The Bookseller.
Footnote Press scoops Moving Mountains, 'first of its kind' anthology of nature writing by disabled and chronically ill authors, edited by Louise Kenward
February 2023We're thrilled to have wrapped up a deal with the brilliant Footnote Press for Moving Mountains, an incredibly special anthology of nature writing by disabled and chronically ill authors edited by
Louise Kenward which will be published in October 2023.
More on the acquisition on BookBrunch.
Andrés N. Ordorica's How We Named The Stars sold to Tin House Books in North America
February 2023Andrés N. Ordorica's How We Named The Stars, set between the United States and Mexico that explores belonging, grief and first love between a man, who is coming to understand what it means to share his late uncle's name, and his college roommate, who changes everything, to Elizabeth DeMeo at Tin House Books for publication in Winter 2024.
Katie Holten's The Language of Trees sold to Elliott & Thompson
February 2023Elliott & Thompson Publishing Director Sarah Rigby acquired UK & Commonwealth excluding Canada rights to The Language of Trees by Katie Holten following a two-way auction from Tin House via Caro Clarke at Portobello Literary.Inspired by forests, leaves, roots, and seeds, The Language of Trees is a gorgeously illustrated collection, a love letter to the wonder of trees – and how they make our world, stretch our minds and rewild our landscapes and lives. The book will be printed in rich, deep green ink and published in demy hardback and ebook on 15 June 2023.
Andrés N. Ordorica shortlisted for the Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year for Scotland
November 2022Andrés N. Ordorica has been shortlisted for the Saltire Society Poetry Book of the Year for Scotland's National Book Awards for his poetry collection At Least This I Know. The news was announced in the Bookseller.The Saltire Society website features a video of a judge talking about the book and a reading from Andrés.
Sceptre lands ‘exquisite’ meditation on chronic illness by prize-winning poet Polly Atkin
September 2022We're thrilled to share that Sceptre has acquired Some of Us Just Fall by prize-winning poet Polly Atkin, a “raw and exquisite meditation on chronic illness and our place within the landscape" to publish in July 2023.
More on the acquisition in The Bookseller.