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Profile Summary

Adam joined PFD in 2010, after completing a Masters in English Literature at KCL. He’s keen to build a broad-based list of clients, and is actively seeking quality submissions.

New writers should certainly read his full interview (below), but here are some of the highlights.

Adam is particularly keen on crime and thrillers, “the darker and grittier the better”, and all the more so if there’s a psychological angle to the story. Recent novels that he’s been particularly keen on include Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Alex by Pierre Lemaitre, Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith and The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy. He also cites books by Paula Hawkins, C. L. Taylor and Emma Healey.

His website entry invites “book-group fiction” (that is, accessible-literary rather than high-end literary) and this is clearly an area of his list that he’s keen to enlarge. That said, Adam’s also loves the high deans of post-war American Lit (Bellow, Roth, Updike) as well as other relatively demanding authors. Books he singles out for special mention include Stoner by John Williams (citing his “extraordinary ability to imbue the everyday  . . . with a sense of impending drama”) and Michael Chabon’s high-energy tour de force Kavalier and Clay.

Don’t send genre sci-fi, fantasy or horror, though non-genre books with a speculative element are welcomed. In non-fiction, Adam is keen on biography, history when written on a broad canvas, and anything with a true crime element.

He’s particularly keen to see a legal thriller (especially if you could supply a female lead). Again, do read his full interview below, as it’ll give you a firm sense of what he does and doesn’t want to see – and do also particularly note his comments as to what he does / doesn’t want in a covering letter.

Detailed data

PFD The Peters Fraser and Dunlop Group
Agent since:
Short biography:

Adam Gauntlett is an Agent in the Books Division.
He joined Peters Fraser & Dunlop in 2010, shortly after completing his Masters in English Literature at King's College, London. Adam is actively building his list of authors and is currently looking for: literary/commercial crossover or 'reading group' fiction, crime and psychological thrillers, horror, speculative fiction, intelligent young adult fiction, narrative non-fiction, true crime, memoir, popular science/psychology and serious history. Genres aside, Adam is drawn to coming-of-age tales, road narratives and well-executed plot twists. He is looking for unique voices, and for writers with challenging, singular experiences. Please do send any submissions via email. Adam also handles all stage rights for the agency, for and on behalf of such authors as: E. M. Forster, Jeanette Winterson, Georges Simenon, David Sedaris, Robert Bolt, C. S. Forester, John Wyndham, Robert Pirsig, D. H. Lawrence and H. E. Bates, among others.

Client list status:
Open to new clients
Genres this agent is interested in:
Travel, Science, Politics, society & current affairs, Other non-fiction, Mind, Body, Spirit, Memoir and autobiography, Food and Cookery, History, Women's fiction, Historical fiction, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

Adam is actively building his list of authors and is currently looking for: literary/commercial crossover fiction, crime and thrillers, intelligent YA, narrative non-fiction, humour, memoir and popular science/history.

Other loves & passions:

How to make a submission:
By email please.
Other advice and background:


An Interview with Adam
Q. What books/authors do you love in commercial fiction? (Crime, women's) Give us some examples and say why you liked these books/authors

. At the commercial end of the market, I love crime and thrillers, the darker and grittier the better, and typically with a psychological bent. Some of my favourites include Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn, Alex by Pierre Lemaitre, Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith and The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy. Some other recent favourites include: The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, The Lie by C. L. Taylor and Elizabeth is Missing by Emma Healey.

Q. What books/authors do you love in literary/historical/book group fiction? Examples and reasons, please!

At the literary end of the spectrum, some of my all-time favourite authors include: Salman Rushdie, John Updike, Elena Ferrante, Michael Chabon, Saul Bellow, Philip Roth, Jeanette Winterson, E. M. Forster and Chinua Achebe. One of my most memorable reads of the past three years was Stoner by John Williams. Like everyone else, I was introduced to this with the 2012 Vintage re-issue and was completely mesmerized by what, for all intents and purposes, seems a thoroughly "ordinary" story. John Williams has the extraordinary ability to imbue the everyday or the commonplace with a sense of impending drama, as well as the ability to break your heart with every turn of the page. The final scene is one of literature's most affecting. I also found myself rather late to the party with Chabon's The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Ostensibly a portrait of the American Dream in the early 20th Century, this is a novel that is, and achieves, so very many things; both epic and yet restrained, it's the story I hope to find.

Q. On the non-fiction side, are there particular areas that interest you? Does your non-fiction list have a particular slant to it?


I'm drawn to sweeping histories, True Crime memoirs and biographies.

Q. What (very roughly) is the balance of your list between literary fiction / commercial fiction / non-fiction?

My list is fairly eclectic - my clients range from thriller writers to music biographers - but I'm currently looking to grow my literary and reading group fiction offering.

Q. Is there anything in particular you'd love to see at the moment?

Fiction: I'd love to see a legal thriller (in the John Grisham mould), ideally featuring a strong female lead: a judge or a lawyer. Failing that, a good historical mystery/crime novel (think: Josephine Tey's The Daughter of Time). Non-fiction: I'd like to see a social history of "the barbershop" from the early days of the barber-surgeon to its current status as the church of the metrosexual. I'm also endlessly fascinated with cults - whether social, supernatural or political - and by extension, the conditions necessary for a singular figure to assume, and exert, power over a group. So I'm looking for a Jon Ronson/Louis Theroux-esque piece of investigative journalism.

Q. What's your biggest turn-off in a covering letter? What would you really hope to see?

No covering letter should ever exceed half a page; it should be pithy, demonstrate an understanding of the current market (comparing your manuscript to past or current successes is always useful, even if you fall short of the oft-overused "blah meets blah") and it should privilege clarity above all else. If you can't convey the essence of your book in three sentences, the chances are that I won't be able to either. Publishing (certainly at the commercial end) is largely centred on elevator pitches.

Q. What single piece of advice would you most want to give writers?

Always be keenly aware of the market; publishing - as with most other industries - is heavily trend-led. Bestseller lists are a good indication of what's selling now, though they can't necessarily tell you what will sell in two years' time. Consumer tastes change, sometimes rapidly, so its important to have one eye on the now and the other on the next.

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Follow on Twitter:
Interesting links:
No Data
Ed Burstell, E. M. Forster, Liberty, Jake and Victor Maymudes, Nikki Owen, Jacob Rees-Mogg, MP, Georges Simenon, Lisa Thompson, Adam White, Neil Woods, David Young
Full client list:
Email address:

Agents of: PFD The Peters Fraser and Dunlop Group

Agency details

About the agency:
Address for submissions:
No data
Office address:
34-43 Russell Street, London, WC2B 5HA
Email address:
Phone number:
020 7344 1000
Number of agents:
Accepts email submissions:
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
Please submit the first three chapters of your book in hard copy with a synopsis of the whole and a very brief CV about your writing career. Double spacing and one side only. Please be aware that we don't acknowledge receipt of submissions. We'd rather spend our time reading them. Also it's important that you include a stamped, self addressed envelope so that we can respond to you. If you want us to return your manuscript, make sure the postage is enough to cover the return.
More info on this agency:
Peters Fraser & Dunlop is one of the longest-established literary and talent agencies in London. We are proud to represent authors, journalists, broadcasters, speakers and estates with specialist expertise in the fields of literature, film, television and radio, public speaking, digital platforms and journalism.
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
Member of the AAA:
Overseas offices:
Accepts overseas writers:
Follow on Twitter:
Latest news:
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More about the agency:

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