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Profile Summary

Before becoming a literary agent, Alexander had a stellar career in publishing, becoming Publisher of Viking (a Penguin imprint) then Editor-in-Chief of Macmillan.

She became an agent in 1998, and Aitken Alexander is now one of the largest and best-established agencies in the industry. Her client list is fairly evenly divided between fiction and non-fiction. Notable fiction clients include:

  • Penny Vincenzi, the large-selling author of women’s fiction
  • Louise Rennison, author of the huge international success, the Confessions of Georgia Nicolson – a YA series for teenage girls
  • Sarah Dunant, a writer of broadly literary crime thrillers
  • Mark Haddon, writers of the YA/adult crossover hit, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
  • The literary-romantic author, Julia Gregson

Her fiction tastes tend to combine both the literary and the commercial: that is, strong and intelligent writing in the form of a strongly told narrative. For an agent of her seniority, she remains relatively open to debut writers and is known to enjoy working editorially. She works with YA fiction, but would not be the right agent to approach for younger work.
Her non-fiction list has a particular interest in memoir – Alexander was, for example, the agent behind Alan Johnson’s hit memoir “This boy”; Rory Stewart’s Iraq memoir (and some further work from the same author);

Other clients of interest include:

  • Andrew Wilson, author of books on Sylvia Plath, among others
  • Amanda Vickery, historian and broadcaster, and writer about women’s lives in Georgian England
  • Dorothy Rowe, the thoughtful self-help / psychology author
  • Lucy Moore, an author writing about the Georgian underworld
  • Caroline Moorhead, a writer on human rights and women of the French resistance
  • Francis Spufford, an imaginative and wide-ranging author with works on (amongst other things) the era of Soviet plenty and Ice in the English imagination.

Clare’s career has ticked pretty much every box there to be ticked: President of the Association of Authors Agents, one time Literary Agent of the Year, on the Orange Prize / Bailey’s Women’s Prize committee, and winner of the women-in-publishing Kim Scott Walwyn Prize.



Detailed data

Agency:
Aitken Alexander Associates
Agent since:
1998
Short biography:

Clare Alexander became an agent in 1998 after more than 20 years as a publisher, latterly as a publisher at Viking and the Editor-in-chief at Macmillan. Clare specializes in literary and commercial fiction. In addition she represents a number of writers of narrative non-fiction, especially in the areas of history and memoir. Clare was vice president of the Association of Authors 2008. Clare is a member of the Women's Committee of the Orange Prize. She was named Orion Publishing Group Literary Agent of the Year at the 2007 British Book Industry Awards and was awarded the 2008 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, which honours outstanding achievements by women in publishing.

Client list status:
List largely complete
Genres this agent is interested in:
Memoir and autobiography, History, Women's fiction, Historical fiction, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

Literary and commercial fiction, history and memoir. Clare is noted for a sharp editorial eye and an enthusiasm for working with debut writers that is relatively rare in such senior agents. (But that editorial enthusiasm does NOT mean your work can be sloppy; it obviously needs to be excellent.)

Other loves & passions:

Not stated

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

Clare says, "Marketable is a very debateable term; I know many authors dislike it, and of course the quality of the writing is the most important thing. But I have to think of a way of talking about the client to a publisher that will engage their interest." Aitken Alexander Associates do not accept submission by email.

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
No
Follow on Twitter:
Does not Tweet
Interesting links:
http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/books/features/books-special-can-intelligent-literature-survive-in-the-digital-age-926545.html
Clients:
Fiction: Kitty Aldridge, Clare Allan, Jo Baker, Tom Bullough, Clare Clark, Sarah Dunant, Susan Elderkin, Diana Evans, Julia Gregson, Mark Haddon, Mohammed Hanif, Helen Humphreys, Virginia Ironside, Liz Jensen, Lucy Kellaway, Tim Lott, Louise Rennison, Jennie Roone, James Scudamore, Gillian Slovo, Frank Tallis, Penny Vincenzi, Daisy Waugh. Non-fiction: Lisa Appignanesi, Philip Ball, Lisa Chaney, Emily Cockayne, Deborah Cohen, Lizzie Collingham, John Cornwell, David Edgerton, Daisy Hay, Mary Laven, Amanda Mackenzie Stuart, Judith Mackrell, Caroline Moorehead, Lyndal Roper, Dorothy Rowe, Anne Sebba, Ben Shephard, Francis Spufford, Nicholas Stargardt, Rory Stewart, Andrea Stuart, Amanda Vickery, Andrew Wilson.
Full client list:
http://www.aitkenalexander.co.uk/index.php?option=com_k2&view=itemlist&task=user&id=79%3Aclarealexander&Itemid=58
Email address:
reception@aitkenalexander.co.uk

Agents of: Aitken Alexander Associates

Agency details

Website:
http://www.aitkenalexander.co.uk/
About the agency:
Gillon Aitken first founded Gillon Aitken Limited in 1976. From its inception, the agency has placed great emphasis on overseas rights. In 1998, former Viking and Macmillan Publisher Clare Alexander joined the agency and in 2005 the name of the agency was changed to Aitken Alexander Associates. In 2008, Andrew Kidd, previously Publisher of Picador and Macmillan, joined as a director. In 2011, Lesley Thorne joined the board of the company alongside Gillon, Clare, Sally and Andrew. Gillon, Clare and Andrew represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction authors. The focus of the agency remains on writers and writing. Gillon Aitken first founded Gillon Aitken Limited in 1976. From its inception, the agency has placed great emphasis on overseas rights, and Sally Riley joined the agency in 1989 to head up the Translation Rights department. In 1998, former Viking and Macmillan Publisher Clare Alexander joined the agency and in 2005 the name of the agency was changed to Aitken Alexander Associates. Aitken Alexander also enjoys strong associative relationships with the agencies of Anthony Sheil, Mary Pachnos and Lucy Luck, each of whom boasts strong and distinctive lists. In 2009 the agency opened an office in New York, under Anna Stein, and, in 2011, in New Delhi, under Shruti Debi. Both moves reflected Aitken Alexander's strong commitment to the best of international writing.
Address for submissions:
18-21 Cavaye Place, London, SW10 9PT
Office address:
No data
Email address:
reception@aitkenalexander.co.uk
Phone number:
020 7373 8672
Number of agents:
8
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
Send a cover letter, synopsis, the first 30 pages to submissions@aitkenalexander.co.uk. They do not represent illustrated children's books, poetry or screenplays.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
31/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
Y - New York and New Delhi
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@aitkenalexander
Latest news:
http://www.aitkenalexander.co.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=1&Itemid=128
More about the agency:
Gillon Aitken first founded Gillon Aitken Limited in 1976. From its inception, the agency has placed great emphasis on overseas rights. In 1998, former Viking and Macmillan Publisher Clare Alexander joined the agency and in 2005 the name of the agency was changed to Aitken Alexander Associates. In 2008, Andrew Kidd, previously Publisher of Picador and Macmillan, joined as a director. In 2011, Lesley Thorne joined the board of the company alongside Gillon, Clare, Sally and Andrew. Gillon, Clare and Andrew represent a wide range of prize-winning and bestselling fiction and non-fiction authors. The focus of the agency remains on writers and writing. Gillon Aitken first founded Gillon Aitken Limited in 1976. From its inception, the agency has placed great emphasis on overseas rights, and Sally Riley joined the agency in 1989 to head up the Translation Rights department. In 1998, former Viking and Macmillan Publisher Clare Alexander joined the agency and in 2005 the name of the agency was changed to Aitken Alexander Associates. Aitken Alexander also enjoys strong associative relationships with the agencies of Anthony Sheil, Mary Pachnos and Lucy Luck, each of whom boasts strong and distinctive lists. In 2009 the agency opened an office in New York, under Anna Stein, and, in 2011, in New Delhi, under Shruti Debi. Both moves reflected Aitken Alexander's strong commitment to the best of international writing.

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