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Profile Summary

Donald Winchester is a relatively new agent.  He started his career in the non-fiction department of Penguin Press and then spent five years at A P Watt.   He was appointed at Watson Little in 2013 to develop their high-brow fiction and non-fiction lists.   In general, he is interested in literary and high quality commercial fiction, and, under the category of non-fiction, history, popular science, nature, music, sport, film and technology.  His list reveals a strong interest in popular psychology, social and cultural history, and non-fiction that deals with current issues and developments in world health and medicine. 

Here’s our take on Donald’s literary likes and dislikes:

  • He has an MA in literature from University College London.
  • Favourite books include, A Life’s Work (Rachel Kusk); A Song For Issy Bradley (Carys Bray); A Handful of Dust (Evelyn Waugh); The Heretics (Orlando Figes); Alex’s Adventures in Numberland (Alex Bellos).
  • Favourite authors include Richard Ford, A M Homes, Graham Greene, Richard Yates, Lorrie Moore, and F Scott Fitzgerald.
  • He is a fan of humour books like Great Lies To Tell Small Kids and Texts From Dog
    On the screen he is a fan of 50s and 60s-era thrillers, Monty Python, Roman Polanski, Ealing Comedies, and French classics.
  • He is on the lookout for high quality fiction or non-fiction on 60s pop, folk, jazz, new wave, alternative 80s, Britpop, or indie/electro pop music.
  • Don’t submit young children, pure science fiction, or work that falls under the category of commercial women’s interests.

In summary, we would recommend that writers of debut literary fiction, historical non-fiction and popular science consider submitting to Donald.  However, make sure you can answer his number 1 question: ‘Why would twenty thousand people (or more) want to spend money on my book?’  It is worth noting that Donald seeks out new authors through creative courses and events, social media and the slush pile.



Detailed data

Agency:
Watson Little
Agent since:
2011
Short biography:

After splitting his childhood between Edinburgh, Ohio and Watford, Donald gained a BA in English and History at Queen Mary, University of London and a MA in English Literature from University College London. He began his publishing career at Penguin Press - working on a variety of non-fiction titles - before moving to A P Watt. There he worked for five years with a number of acclaimed and prize-winning authors and began building a list of fiction and non-fiction for adults. He joined Watson, Little as an agent in 2013.

Client list status:
Keen to build client list
Genres this agent is interested in:
Travel, Science, Politics, society & current affairs, Other non-fiction, Religion, Memoir and autobiography, Food and Cookery, History, Historical fiction, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:

Donald is interested in literary and well-written commercial fiction - particularly debut authors - as well as writing on history, popular science, music, sport, film and technology. 'Quite apart from my clients' work, my favourite fiction writers are (at time of writing) Richard Ford, AM Homes, Graham Greene, Richard Yates, Lorrie Moore, and F Scott Fitzgerald. I also love the wit and writing of Evelyn Waugh, Lewis Carroll, and Paul Murray. I'm a great believer in the adage that any subject or setting can be made to live in fiction if the writing is good enough. I'm a voracious reader of non-fiction, from history to current affairs to music/film to pop science. Some (relatively) recent non-fiction I've loved: Will Storr - The Heretics, Orlando Figes - The Whisperers, Alex Bellos - Alex's Adventures In Numberland, Nick Davies - Flat Earth News, Alex Ross - The Rest Is Noise, Stephen Grosz - The Examined Life, Susannah Cahalan - Brain On Fire. I'm also a fan of humour books - Great Lies To Tell Small Kids and Texts From Dog are a couple of recent favourites.'

Other loves & passions:

I'm a fan of many forms of music - classic/romantic, 60s pop, folk, jazz, new wave, alternative 80s, Britpop, indie/electro pop - and I'd love to find a great book on any of these subjects, fiction or non-fiction. As ever, the quality of writing is key. I'm a casual but enthusiastic cinema fan. I especially like 50s and 60s-era thrillers, Monty Python, Roman Polanski, Ealing Comedies, French classics. I play tennis, badly. I like football, as well as other sports. I once was an enthusiastic coin-collector.

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

I'd like to steer clear of fiction for young children as well as books on the far commercial end of women's interests - my colleagues at Watson, Little do these sorts of books better (so if you do have a project along these lines, be in touch with them!). Also, send straight sci-fi to an agent that specialises in sci-fi (but I would not rule out a novel with sci-fi elements). Advice - Be polite. - If you can't answer this question - why would twenty thousand people (or more) want to spend money on my book? - in a way that you would feel comfortable saying aloud to a complete stranger, then you need to reconsider. - Remember you are one of thousands of people who aspire to be a published writer. - When editing, try to imagine yourself as a first-time reader of your manuscript. It's difficult, but try. Make a list of all the criticisms you would make and then - as author again - imagine how you would answer them. If you can't answer a criticism, fix it. Be hard on yourself. (If you aren't, others will be for you.) - Remember that, of all the people who read your manuscript, you are in many ways the least reliable judge because you know it so well. The people who count are those who know it less - because they most resemble the potential reader. - Do your research. There's much to be gained via a speedy Google of the agent you hope to submit to. - Read your cover letter. Reread your cover letter. Ensure you sound like someone a person you would want to work with. Be friendly! - Do not expect to make your living from writing. Few do. (Side note: do not state financial expectations in your cover letter.) - Don't respond angrily or sarcastically to a rejection. We aren't out to ruin your day.

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
No
Follow on Twitter:
@DonaldWin_
Interesting links:
http://www.thebookseller.com/news/winchester-leaves-p-watt-watson-little
Clients:
Sue Armstrong, Trevor Barnes, Susan Blackmore, Emily Brand, Vyvyan Evans, Peter Gluckman, Mark Hanson, Tom Hickman, Greg Jenner, Alice Kahrmann, Paul Kriwaczek (estate), P.K. Lynch, Glynn Maxwell, Chris Naunton, Vivien Noakes (estate), Fern Riddel, Rebbecca Rideal, Lee Rourke, Leila Segal, Caroline Smailes, Caroline Wallace, Jemma Wayne
Full client list:
http://www.watsonlittle.com/agent/donald-winchester/
Email address:
dw@watsonlittle.com

Agents of: Watson Little

Agency details

Website:
http://www.watsonlittle.com/
About the agency:
Watson, Little Ltd is a long established literary agency which handles an unusually wide range of adult, children's and young adult fiction and non-fiction. We represent authors ranging from the Hans Christian Andersen 2006 award winner Margaret Mahy to Adam Hart-Davis, alongside a host of writers, each at the top of his or her particular field of expertise. We also look after a small number of illustrators including Stephen Biesty. Watson, Little's agents combine many years of experience with modern attitudes and a keen awareness of the changing face of publishing. All forms of media are handled by in-house staff or associates with a view to developing each client's long-term career as author or illustrator.
Address for submissions:
Watson, Little Ltd Suite 315 ScreenWorks 22 Highbury Grove London N5 2ER
Office address:
No data
Email address:
office@watsonlittle.com
Phone number:
020 7388 7529
Number of agents:
5
Accepts email submissions:
Yes
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
Preliminary letter, synopsis and sample chapters. Please include return postage if you'd like to have your material returned; otherwise we will respond by email.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
8 days
Agency Transparency Index:
36/100
Member of the AAA:
Yes
Overseas offices:
None
Accepts overseas writers:
No
Follow on Twitter:
@watsonlittle
Latest news:
None
More about the agency:
Watson, Little Ltd is a long established literary agency which handles an unusually wide range of adult, children's and young adult fiction and non-fiction. We represent authors ranging from the Hans Christian Andersen 2006 award winner Margaret Mahy to Adam Hart-Davis, alongside a host of writers, each at the top of his or her particular field of expertise. We also look after a small number of illustrators including Stephen Biesty. Watson, Little's agents combine many years of experience with modern attitudes and a keen awareness of the changing face of publishing. All forms of media are handled by in-house staff or associates with a view to developing each client's long-term career as author or illustrator.

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