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Profile Summary

Cathryn joined WME as an agent in 2006, following a spell at David Godwin Associates and David Higham Associates.  As a former events co-ordinator at Colman Getty PR she has insider knowledge of some of the leading literary awards including the Man Booker Prize and the Samuel Johnson Prize. In 2016, Cathryn left WME to join Curtis Brown, where she has a stable of over 50 clients.

While her list is hefty, she is open to new submissions and has a burgeoning stable of UK authors, including Richard Milward, who has been hailed as 'the JD Salinger of our time' by the Financial Times. 

She has a clear interest in the work of young male novelists; Joe Stretch, Chris Killen, Paul Ewen, Phil Wilding and Stephen Camden all feature on her list.  In terms of genres, Cathryn is passionate about literary fiction, women’s fiction and, on the non-fiction side, work that slots into the genre of ‘lifestyle’ and popular literary criticism.  She will also consider Young Adult novels.

We think she would also be a good choice of agent if you write short stories; she represents award winners Clare Wigfall (The Loudest Sound And Nothing), and Petina Gappah (An Elegy for Easterly).

After scrutinising Cathryn’s Curtis Brown profile page and sourcing a range of online interviews and articles, we can offer the following insights into her tastes and preferences:

  • Has built a best-selling and award winning food and lifestyle list which includes Russell Norman’s The Polpo Cookbook;  Jasmine and Melissa Hemsley, The Art of Living Well; and food blogger Ella Woodward’s, Deliciously Ella)
  • Her favourite books include: Never Let Me Go (Kasuo Ishiguro); The Time Travellers Wife (Audrey Niffenegger); and The House of Sleep (Jonathan Coe).
  • Ernest Hemingway fan – her son is named after him!
  • Attends literary festivals like Hay and is actively involved in both the Literary Tent at Camp Bestival and the Port Eliot Literary Festival.  She often chairs events at The Edinburgh International Book Festival too.  
  • She regularly tweets @Taffyagent and is a firm believer in authors using social media to promote their work.

If you’re planning to contact Cathryn, don’t submit reams of writing! Her pet hate is overwriting and she has previously said that she finds it, ‘really difficult to pull out the quality writing from a manuscript that runs to hundreds of thousands of words’.



Detailed data

Agency:
Curtis Brown Group
Agent since:
2006
Short biography:

Cathryn has been a literary agent at WME since November 2006. She has a burgeoning stable of her own authors, including Richard Milward, the 23 year-old first-time novelist of Apples, who has been described by the Financial Times as 'the JD Salinger of our time'; Clare Wigfall, whose critically-acclaimed short-story collection, The Loudest Sound And Nothing won the 2008 BBC National Short Story Award; David Whitehouse, Naomi Wood author of The Godless Boys, and Deborah Kay Davies.

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

I think above everything a unique voice is what really makes something stand out; Yes a plot, setting etc is all important but I need to be hooked from the first sentence if I'm going to keep reading. Favourite books include: Never Let Me Go by Kasuo Ishiguro, The Time Travellers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, The House of Sleep by Jonathan Coe.

Other loves & passions:

Cardiff City Football Club.

How to make a submission:
Agency standard.
Other advice and background:

A covering letter is very important, but keep it shortish and to the point, no more than a page. A brief synopsis is always welcome but not pages and pages of description, think along the lines of writing something like the blurbs you see on the back of books, a couple of hundred words should suffice. Over writing is certainly my biggest bugbear. New writers have a tendency to use three words when they could just use one, over description, mixing metaphors, making sweeping statements, you see a lot of it. I think writers are afraid to cut but in my view less is definitely more, you can always develop something and add words but I find it really difficult to pull out the quality writing from a manuscript that runs to hundreds of thousands of words. Don't be afraid to be your own editor, if you don't hack it apart someone else will. During the editorial process, cut cut cut would always be my mantra for new writers.

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
No
Follow on Twitter:
@Taffyagent
Interesting links:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/books/2011/mar/18/publishers-auction-the-age-of-miracles
Clients:
Steven Camden (Polarbear), Stig Abell, Matthew Blakstad, Claire Calman, Emma Cannon, Nicci Cloke, Julia Crouch, Ben Crystal, Lisa Cutts, Dan Dalton, Philippa Davies, Deborah Kay Davies, Emily Dobbs, Alexandra Dudley, Guillermo Erades, Molly Flatt, Lucy Foley, Viv Groskop, The Hardihood, Alex Hely-Hutchinson, Katharine Hibbert, Clemmie Hooper, Emma Hooper, Tamsin Treverton Jones, Adam Kay, Chris Killen, Rhiannon Lambert, Tom Lee, Toby Litt, Kirsty Logan, Rosie Millard, Patricia Nicol, Russell Norman, Margie Orford, K J Orr, Kobi Ovadia, Nikki Owen, Risto Pakarinen, Penny Parkes, Jenny Parrott, Joanna Rossiter, Helen Sedgwick, Peggy Seeger, Natasha Soobramanien, Neil Spring, Sam Tranum, Mark Watson, Chris Whitaker, David Whitehouse, Claire Wigfall, Naomi Wood, Michael Zee
Full client list:
https://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/agent/cathryn-summerhayes/clients
Email address:
cathryn.summerhayes@curtisbrown.co.uk

Agents of: Curtis Brown Group

Agency details

Website:
http://curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/
About the agency:
Curtis Brown is keen to discover new authors from the 'slush pile.' They accept unsolicited submissions via their online form on which a preferred reader can be chosen for the submitted manuscript or proposal. Curtis Brown has been behind some of the biggest debuts of recent years and has a dedicated New Writing team which meets once a week. They look for excellent writing, great storytelling, original ideas, a new voice. They prefer to work with writers seriously committed to building long-term, rewarding careers in writing. The Curtis Brown submissions blog lists submission tips from their agents and the agency also runs a writing school. The agency was instrumental in establishing the reputations of several British and American writers, including John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, C P Snow, Angus Wilson, Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell, Kingsley Amis and Isaiah Berlin.
Address for submissions:
Haymarket House, 28-29 Haymarket, London, SW1Y 4SP
Office address:
No data
Email address:
cbcsubmissions@curtisbrown.co.uk
Phone number:
+44 (0) 207 393 4400
Number of agents:
13
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
We no longer accept physical manuscripts. If you have written a novel or a proposal for a non-fiction book, please fill in the form on the website: http://curtisbrowncreative.co.uk/submissions/submit/. In order to submit your work, you will need a Cover Letter, Synopsis of up to 3,000 words, sample material of up to 10,000 words. Once you have submitted your work, you will be sent an email with a confirmation that we have received it. If you don't hear from us in eight weeks' time, please get back in touch and let us know something is amiss.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
44/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
New York, London
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@CurtisBrownGrp
Latest news:
http://www.curtisbrown.co.uk/books/
More about the agency:
Curtis Brown is keen to discover new authors from the 'slush pile.' They accept unsolicited submissions via their online form on which a preferred reader can be chosen for the submitted manuscript or proposal. Curtis Brown has been behind some of the biggest debuts of recent years and has a dedicated New Writing team which meets once a week. They look for excellent writing, great storytelling, original ideas, a new voice. They prefer to work with writers seriously committed to building long-term, rewarding careers in writing. The Curtis Brown submissions blog lists submission tips from their agents and the agency also runs a writing school. The agency was instrumental in establishing the reputations of several British and American writers, including John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, C P Snow, Angus Wilson, Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell, Kingsley Amis and Isaiah Berlin.

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