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Profile Summary

Bill Hamilton is the most senior agent at AM Heath -- always an old and respected agency but now the oldest surviving independent agency in London.
Bill's list ranges across the board. He's probably best known for representing Hilary Mantel, the multi-award winning and bestselling author of Wolf Hall and Bring up the Bodies. Other top quality literary names on his list include Anita Brookner and John McCabe.

He represents plenty of serious non-fiction, with a particular interest in history and current affairs. Bill represents the literary estate of George Orwell and is one of the forces behind the Orwell Prizes for political writing. In politics, he represents for example Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP and Michael Crick, the investigative broadcaster. In history, he represents Christopher Hill, and plenty of others. But he's also happy to let his hair down with more commercial writing. Among his more obviously commercial clients are:

Katie Fforde, the #1 bestselling author of women's fictionMarina Lewicka, the huge-selling author of A Short History of Tractor in UkranianWinston Graham the (admittedly dead) author of the Poldark series

As a relatively senior agent, it's probably harder to get picked from Bill's slushpile than from many others, but he continues to treat all submissions, including slushpile ones, with seriousness, and has recently taken new debut authors, such as Katie Ward, author of Girl Reading.

You can get some idea of Bill's philosophy of agenting (a philosophy broadly shared across the agency) by reading his blog "Puzzled" (April 2013) on the AMH site. In that post, he confesses to being taken aback by the surprise, widespread in the industry, that he has represented Hilary Mantel from her very first appearance via the AMH slushpile. The surprise was that Bil hadn't ditched the author after she failed to make a speedy commercial success of her career (though she had always been acclaimed in critical terms.) Bill comments, "What we can do is back talent, in the confidence that if there are enough people who think highly enough of a writer, or they are adaptable enough in what they write, they will eventually make it." He notes that plenty of successful older authors had to keep reinventing themselves before making it big. He praises those authors for showing, "a hell of a lot of persistence, a ferocious appetite to speak to readers."

Disclosure:
Bill Hamilton represents Harry Bingham, the crime author who is also owner of Agent Hunter and the Writers' Workshop.



Detailed data

Agency:
AM Heath and Co
Agent since:
1982
Short biography:

I joined A.M.Heath in 1983 having been brought up amongst many of the agency's writers. I've been proud to continue a great tradition at A.M.Heath spanning the estate of George Orwell to the international phenomenon that Hilary Mantel has become. I love great storytelling, great writing, great history, and almost any mixture of these in both fiction and non-fiction. It's all about fostering talent for as long as it takes, and embracing a constantly changing marketplace. I'm also privileged to represent many outstanding American writers of fiction and non-fiction across the spectrum, through our alliances in New York.

Client list status:
List largely complete
Genres this agent is interested in:
Travel, Science, Politics, society & current affairs, Other non-fiction, Religion, Mind, Body, Spirit, Memoir and autobiography, History, Women's fiction, Historical fiction, Fantasy, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

We look at the initial pages in each submission, and good writing comes roaring out at you. What's important is the author's relationship to their work. If they're a genre author, you want to see professionalism and adaptability, a sense of the market. If they're literary, you're looking for imagination and a voice. But in both cases you want the sense that they're writing for a reader, that they're moulding the language, making it a performance.

Other loves & passions:

Bill is the agent to the George Orwell Estate and as such has a deep involvement in the Orwell Prizes for political writing.

How to make a submission:
I appreciate a direct and unpretentious letter, very clear-sighted about why the story is good: Here
Other advice and background:

People get so much misleading advice about how to approach us. So they'll say: I admire your authors X and Y and my writing is something like a combination of the two of them. That comes across so false and unspontaneous. And then you look at what they've written and it's usually nothing like the authors they've cited. I want to read a letter that shows some spontaneity and directness. And some people do write the silliest things: terrible cliches, absurd analogies, or just banalities. You should never start a novel with someone waking up to the sound of an alarm clock; or with an extended description lasting pages before the action starts.

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes
Follow on Twitter:
@amheathltd
Interesting links:
http://theorwellprize.co.uk/the-orwell-prize/about-the-prize/governance/
Clients:
David Abulafia, Nicholas Allan, Christopher Andrew, Max Atkinson, Gill Bennett, Richard Townshend Bickers, Harry Bingham, Michael Bond, Ernle Bradford, Anita Brookner, Victor Bulmer-Thomas, Nick Bunker, Kathleen Burk, Miranda Carter, David Conn, Peter Conradi, Margaret Crick, Michael Crick, AJ Cronin, Andrew Crumey, Richard Davenport-Hines, Peter Davison, Annabel Dilke, Edward Docx, Lesley Downer, Philip Dwyer, Kirsten Ellis, Charles Esdaile, Theo Farrell, Katie Fforde, Clive Fisher, Judith Flanders, Charles Freeman, Carrie Gibson, Lesley Glaister, Oleg Gordievsky, Winston Graham, Romesh Gunesekera, Patrick Hamilton, Miranda Hearn, Christopher Hill, Richard Hillary, Geoffrey Household, James Humphreys, Mollie Hunter, Graham Ison, Dan Jacobson, Susanna Jones, Jonathan Kaplan, John Keane, Laurence Kelly, Francis King, Giles Kristian, Aleks Krotoski, Julia Langdon, David Lawday, Felicity Lawrence, Marina Lewycka, Robert Lomas, Philip Longworth, Elizabeth Lowry, Caroline Lucas, Matthew Lynn, Hilary Mantel, Peter Marshall, Adrian Mathews, Simon May, John McCabe, Grace McCleen, John McGahern, Leo McKinstry, George Melly, Robin Neillands, Paul O'Keeffe, Sean O'Neill, George Orwell, Charles Palliser, Peter Partner, Edward Pearce, Michael Preston, Diana Preston, Francis Pryor, Simon Rae, PR Reid, Jacqueline Riding, Beau Riffenburgh, Angus Roxburgh, Alex Rutherford, Tim Severin, Caroline Shenton, Brendan Simms, Edward Smithies, John Stack, David Storey, Zoe Strimpel, Simon Strong, Robert Temple, Donald Thomas, Harry Thompson, Thomas Thompson, Jerrard Tickell, Robert Tombs, Isabelle Tombs, George Tremlett, Raleigh Trevelyan, Peter Truscott, Charles van Onselen, David Walker, Katie Ward, Robin Waterfield, Tom Watt, Richard Weight, Rene Weis, Giles Whittell, Philip Willan, John Tyerman Williams, Stephanie Williams, HP Willmott
Full client list:
http://www.amheath.com/about-us
Email address:
enquiries@amheath.com

Agents of: AM Heath and Co

Agency details

Website:
http://www.amheath.com/
About the agency:
Founded in 1919, A.M.Heath is one of the UKs leading literary agencies. We represent established contemporary authors, rising stars and some of the iconic writers of the 20th Century. Our focus is on working with authors to exploit the potential of their writing in as many arenas as possible. Our agents work closely together to ensure that we cover all areas of the business and each author benefits from the shared expertise of our tight-knit and supportive team. Between us we represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction; journalists, historians, biographers, experts and novelists across all genres, from crime to literary, historical to YA and childrens. We are also proud to represent several major literary estates, including the Orwell estate.
Address for submissions:
6 Warwick Court, Holborn, London WC1R 5DJ
Office address:
No data
Email address:
http://www.amheath.com/contact.php
Phone number:
0207 242 2811
Number of agents:
7
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
We have all found exciting new talent through the unsolicited submissions and are keen to continue doing so. We want to hear from you and look forward to reading your work. We are no longer accepting paper submissions. Instead, we'd like you to submit online, by filling in the form that you can click to at the bottom of this page. The form will ask you for your contact details and for some information about your submission (for example, what genre it falls into, whether it's finished or a work in progress). It will then ask you to insert a covering letter (maximum 500 words) and a synopsis of the work (maximum 1,500 words). You can either type these directly into the form, or copy and paste them from elsewhere. And, finally, the form will ask you to upload a word file containing your submission (.doc or .docx - please do not upload a pdf).
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
4 days
Agency Transparency Index:
57/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
No data
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@amheathltd
Latest news:
http://www.amheath.com/news.php
More about the agency:
Founded in 1919, A.M.Heath is one of the UKs leading literary agencies. We represent established contemporary authors, rising stars and some of the iconic writers of the 20th Century. Our focus is on working with authors to exploit the potential of their writing in as many arenas as possible. Our agents work closely together to ensure that we cover all areas of the business and each author benefits from the shared expertise of our tight-knit and supportive team. Between us we represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction; journalists, historians, biographers, experts and novelists across all genres, from crime to literary, historical to YA and childrens. We are also proud to represent several major literary estates, including the Orwell estate.

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