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Profile Summary

Clare Conville is fifty percent of the double act that created Conville and Walsh, now a major agency in its own right and one with a strong reputation for taking on debut authors. The principals sold a 50% share in their agency to industry giant, Curtis Brown, but continues to operate independently. Conville and Walsh did not have a strong in-house film and TV unit, but Curtis Brown now supplies one of the best in the business. (Likewise, C&W brought its strong speakers’ agency to CB.)

Clare worked as a commissioning editor at Random House before setting up the agency in 2000. She represents fiction and non-fiction across the full range of literary and commercial, and including also children’s fiction. Her starry client list now includes winners or nominees for virtually every major literary prize going – see the longer and impressive list below.

As one of the best known agents in London, Clare’s list is relatively full already (containing names such as Booker winner DBC Pierre, crime writer SJ Watson, and Doc Martin author Sam North.) Clare will still take on additional clients, but the truth is that many writers will find easier doors to knock on.

In terms of likes and loves, you can get a fair view of Clare’s taste from the following sampling of her clients:

  • Rumbunctious historical crime novelist (and Richard & Judy winner), Antonia Hodgson
  • Literary (and sometimes speculative) novelist, Sarah Hall
  • Journalist and East European specialist, Misha Glenny
  • Esther Freud, best known for Hideous Kinky, which became a film starring Kate WinsletArt critic, Rachel Campbell-Johnston
  • Art critic, Rachel Campbell-Johnston
  • Gritty YA author, Kate Cann
  • Matt Beaumont, best known for his satire on office life, E
  • DBC Pierre, best known for his Booker-winning Vernon God Little
  • SJ Watson, author of international smash hit Before I Go To Sleep

And finally one fine piece of advice from Clare: “An agent or editor will almost certainly only read your script once. Choose your moment. Edit like hell and get informed opinions about what further work is needed. If necessary, pay.”



Detailed data

Agency:
C+W Agency
Agent since:
2000
Short biography:

Listed by the Observer as one of 'Our top 50 players in the world of books', Clare previously worked as an editor at Random House, before co-founding Conville & Walsh in 2000. She specializes in literary and commercial fiction, general non-fiction, and children's writers. Between them Clare's clients have won or been nominated for nearly every major literary prize including the Man Booker Prize, the Bollinger Everyman Woodhouse Award, the Whitbread First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Best First Novel Award, the Orange Prize for Fiction, the Prix Femina, the John Llewllyn Rhys Memorial Prize, the Arthur C Clarke Award, The PG Wodehouse Award for Comic Fiction, the Guardian First Book Award, the Kate Greenaway Medal, the Nestle Smarties Book Prize, the Waterstone's Children's Book Prize, the Orwell Prize, the Blue Peter Book of the Year and the W. Somerset Maughan Award. In 2011, Clare co-authored Dangerous Women, The Guide to Modern Life.

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

Persuasion, Jane Austen, Clare Tomlinson

Other loves & passions:

Keep your letter professional, informed and typo-free. Also, keep it short. If you present your work well you can avoid putting people off before they've even begun reading.

How to make a submission:
If you’re interested in submitting to Clare please email Allison DeFrees in the first instance. We read all of the submissions we are sent, but due to the volume we receive it may take us up to three months to get back to you.
Other advice and background:

Bits of advice from various interviewswith /articles by CC: "An agent or editor will almost certainly only read your script once. Choose your moment. Edit like hell and get informed opinions about what further work is needed. If necessary, pay for professional help. There is a demand for specialist agencies that offer this service because objective feedback is hard to come by." "Ignore what you're trying to achieve creatively and think about the book from the outside. What would make someone pick it up? Study the cover copy for authors you admire." "A world-weary editor or agent can be startled back to life by a strong title. The title for a first novel has to work on a number of levels. It must grab attention, be memorable, it must convey in part a substantial aspect of the book and it must resonate at an emotional level, whether it is comic or tragic or a mixture of both."

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Yes
Follow on Twitter:
@C_Conville
Interesting links:
http://www.femalefirst.co.uk/books/Dangerous+Women-5692.html
Clients:
Dolly Alderton, Estate of Francis Bacon, Damian Barr, Neil Bartlett, Francesca Beauman, Matt Beaumont, Patrick Benson, Immodesty Blaize, Louisa Buck, John Burningham, Rachel Campbell-Johnston, Roger Clarke, Miriam Darlington, Katie Davies, Damian Dibben, Chris Difford, Apostolos Doxiadis, Rory Dunlop, Peter Dunne, Penelope Farmer, Esther Freud, Misha Glenny, Kirsty Gunn, Matt Haig, Luke Haines, Lou Hamilton, Estate of Dermot Healy, Michael Hodges, Antonia Hodgson, Laura Jennings, Rob Lloyd Jones, Rachel Joyce, Abraham Kawa, Stephen Kelman, Katie Kitamura, Gerad Kite, Persia Lawson, P J Lynch, Celia Lyttelton, Robert McCrum, Sam Mckechnie, Joshua Mowll, John Niven, Sam North, Sydney Padua, Christos H. Papadimitriou, Sian Pattenden, Estate of Katie Pearson, Kit Peel, Megan Peel, DBC Pierre, Alexandrine Portelli, Huw Powell, Paula Rawsthorne, Jamie Reid, Lydia Rose Ruffles, Polly Samson, Niamh Sharkey, Nicky Singer, Lemn Sissay, Richard Skinner, Annalyn Swan and Mark Stevens, Piers Torday, Jon Lys Turner, Emma Jane Unsworth, Steve Voake, Joost de Vries, Harriet Vyner, Amanda Eyre Ward, S J Watson, Ben Wilson, Robert Wilton, Isabel Wolff, Osman Yousefzada
Full client list:
http://cwagency.co.uk/agent/clare-conville
Email address:
clare@cwagency.co.uk

Agents of: C+W Agency

Agency details

Website:
http://www.convilleandwalsh.com/
About the agency:
Founded by Clare Conville and Patrick Walsh in 2000, we are a leading international literary agency based in the UK, who represent an eclectic range of best-selling and award-winning commercial and literary authors, including novelists, scientists, historians, travel writers, biographers and children's authors. We have a well-established track record nurturing talented newcomers and re-launching established authors; working closely with all our clients to provide solid advice and support from pitch to publication; and offering expert representation - often dealing directly - in all media, markets and languages across the world. Jo Unwin and Claire Conville were shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year in the 2010 and 2012 Bookseller Industry Awards respectively. Jake Smith-Bosanquet won Rights Professional of the Year in the 2011 Bookseller Industry Awards.
Address for submissions:
5th Floor, Haymarket House, 28-9 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP, United Kingdom
Office address:
5th Floor, Haymarket House, 28-9 Haymarket, London SW1Y 4SP
Email address:
Look at Website for agent email
Phone number:
44 20 7393 4200
Number of agents:
9
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
You should send your submission (in Word.doc format) via email directly to the agent you would like to consider your work following the guidelines below. Contact details are listed under our agent profiles. Please don’t write to more than one of us. If we think a book is promising, we’ll make sure it gets to the person most likely to want to represent it. Please note, we no longer accept postal submissions. To read our individual profiles and wish lists, please take a look at the Staff page. Have a look here for more information: http://cwagency.co.uk/page/submissions
More info on this agency:
Founded by Clare Conville and Patrick Walsh in 2000, C&W describes itself as "a leading international literary agency based in the UK, who represent an eclectic range of best-selling and award-winning authors, including novelists, scientists, historians, travel writers, biographers and children's authors." In 2013, C&W announced the sale of a 50% share in the agency to industry giant, Curtis Brown. Representatives of Curtis Brown will sit on the C&W board. Conville and Walsh will also move into CB's offices in London's Haymarket. Curtis Brown will make use of C&W's excellent agency services for speakers and the two companies will share various other operations. Nevertheless, C&W will retain its operating indepedence, so we continue to list the company separately on this site. C&W's write up of themselves continues thus: "We have a well-established track record nurturing talented newcomers and re-launching established authors; working closely with all our clients to provide solid advice and support from pitch to publication; and offering expert representation - often dealing direct - in all media, markets and languages across the world. As a small group of agents, we have decades of experience in both literary and commercial publishing. We are proud of our reputation for the happy enduring relationships we have built up with our clients, and of our dynamic team of staff."
Average response time:
9 days
Agency Transparency Index:
33/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
None
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@CWAgencyUK
Latest news:
http://cwagency.co.uk/section/books/news
More about the agency:
Founded by Clare Conville and Patrick Walsh in 2000, we are a leading international literary agency based in the UK, who represent an eclectic range of best-selling and award-winning commercial and literary authors, including novelists, scientists, historians, travel writers, biographers and children's authors. We have a well-established track record nurturing talented newcomers and re-launching established authors; working closely with all our clients to provide solid advice and support from pitch to publication; and offering expert representation - often dealing directly - in all media, markets and languages across the world. Jo Unwin and Claire Conville were shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year in the 2010 and 2012 Bookseller Industry Awards respectively. Jake Smith-Bosanquet won Rights Professional of the Year in the 2011 Bookseller Industry Awards.

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