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Profile Summary

Rachel Calder has been the Managing Director at the Sayle Literary agency since 1993.   She is a trustee of the Cambridge Literary Festival and the Writer’s Centre Norwich.

Unfortunately, the agency does not publish a list of its agents, however, given its long and illustrious history, we suspect Rachel does not work alone. Established in 1896, it has represented a host of 20th century literary luminaries including D H Lawrence, James Joyce, Henry James, Robert Graves, Rosamund Lehmann, Irwin Shaw, Dashiell Hammett, William Styron, Shelagh Delaney, Ronald Searle, and Brendan Behan.

Rachel’s list is deliberately small as she prefers to have a close working relationship with clients.  She occasionally takes on new writers of literary and crime fiction, biography, history, current affairs, popular science, travel, music and general non-fiction.  Unsurprisingly, given the agency’s history a good portion of their list is made up of literary estates.

Clients include Kate Pullinger (The Mistress of Nothing); young adult author, Celia Rees (Daughters of Time; Witch Child); literary critic William Shapiro (1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare) and Carys Davies (Winner of the 2015 Frank O’Connor short story award).

Our researchers have asked Rachel to provide more information about both her agency and her personal literary tastes and preferences.  We will bring this information to you as soon as we have it.  If any of our subscribers have personal experience of using this agency, please do get in touch.


Detailed data

The Sayle Literary Agency
Agent since:
Short biography:

Rachel Calder joined the Sayle Literary Agency in 1991 and assumed full responsibility for the company a couple of years later. A board member of Writers' Centre, Norwich, she is also on the programming committee of the Cambridge Wordfest.

Client list status:
List largely complete
Genres this agent is interested in:
Young adult fiction, 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, Science fiction, Horror, Historical fiction, Erotica, Crime, thriller, action, General Fiction, Literary Fiction
Authors & books liked:
No Data
Other loves & passions:
No Data
How to make a submission:
Standard agency submission.
Other advice and background:
No Data
Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
Follow on Twitter:
Interesting links:
The following names represent the agency's full client list: Victoria Anderson, Ella Anstruther, Stephen Amidon, Louis Baum, Brendan Behan Estate, David Beresford, Alfred Bester Estate, Frances Borzello, Billy Bragg, Adam Brown, Judy Budnitz, Aifric Campbell, Pascal Cariss, Sally Cline, Paul Daly, Carys Davies, Pete Davies, Shelagh Delaney Estate, Luisa Dillner, Miranda Doyle, Gretel Erlich, Martina Evans, Matthew Francis, Ronald Fraser Estate, Dr Chrissie Freeth, David Gaffney, Marian Garvey, Dr Hannah Greig, Kate Grunstein, Georgina Hammick, Amanda Hodgkinson, Paul Hogarth Estate, Dr Miles Hollingworth, Anne Hooper, Pam Houston, Prof Kathryn Hughes, Fanny Johnstone, Suzanne Joinson, Kate Karko, Phillip Knightley, David Liss, Andrew G Marshall, Karen O'Brien, Joseph Olshan, David Park, Sarah Passingham, Stephen Payne, Ann Pettifor, Annie Proulx, Malcolm Pryce, Kate Pullinger, Sophie Radice, Celia Rees Anna Richards, Dr Ruth Richardson, Molly Rogers, Pete Salmon, Ronald Searle Estate, Prof Lynne Segal, Dr Kirsten Sellars, Gitta Sereny Estate, Prof James Shapiro, Irwin Shaw Estate, Katri Skala, Paul Southern, Michelle Spring, Simon Spurrier, Neal Stephenson, Kate Sterns, William Styron Estate, Catherine Swire, Dr Selina Todd, Martin Ungless, Arthur Upfield Estate, Hank Wangford, Dr Fiona Watson, Geoffrey Willans Estate, John Willett Estate, Judith Woods, Jo Browning Wroe.
Full client list:
Email address:

Agents of: The Sayle Literary Agency

Agency details

About the agency:
No data
Address for submissions:
1 Petersfield, Cambridge CB1 1BB
Office address:
No data
Email address:
Phone number:
01223 303035
Number of agents:
Accepts email submissions:
Submission type:
Standard (Letter + Synopsis + First three chapters)
Further submission info:
As a small agency with a full list of authors, we can only occasionally take on new writers of literary and crime fiction, biography, history, current affairs, popular science, travel, music and general non-fiction. If you want to submit your work, look through the website; our existing writers' books are clues to whether your own work is likely to be a good fit. If you think it might be, send the first three chapters and an outline of the rest of your book plus biographical details. If we want to see the rest of the manuscript, we will request it. All submitted material must be double-spaced with numbered pages, typed or word processed, with clear contact details. We read every submission made to us but our priority is to existing authors. Due to the sheer volume of material submitted, we can only respond to submissions that we can proceed with, so if you haven't heard from us after 3 months, you should assume that we are not taking your submission further. Please do not send SAE's as we will recycle all rejected material. Occasionally we have to stop accepting new manuscripts altogether simply due to lack of time to read them.
More info on this agency:
No data
Average response time:
12 days
Agency Transparency Index:
Member of the AAA:
Overseas offices:
Accepts overseas writers:
Follow on Twitter:
Latest news:
No data
More about the agency:
No data

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