Nicola Barr

Nicola Barr

Literary Agent

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  • Literary fiction
  • Commercial women’s fiction
  • Crime
  • Non-fiction popular culture
  • Memoir
  • Young adult fiction
  • Science fiction
  • Picture books
  • Romance

About Nicola

I’ve been at the Bent Agency for over a year now and thought it was time to update my bio and wishlist. I arrived at this brilliant agency via a long stint as an agent at Greene & Heaton, having spent my formative publishing years at the much-missed literary imprint of HarperCollins, Flamingo. During that time I’ve worked as a reviewer for the Guardian, the Observer, the Scotsman and others.

I have over the years represented many bestselling commercial fiction authors, Richard & Judy bestsellers, award-winning crime fiction and commercial women’s fiction. I am still very much on the lookout for upmarket commercial well-written fiction in these areas, particularly if they speak to a social issue, shine a light on a true-life injustice, have an atypical hero or heroine. In the past few years I’ve read and represented a lot of thrillers so to make me fall in love it will have to be incredibly fresh and original. I hope that is taken as the challenge it’s meant to be. In YA, I’m most passionate about grounded contemporary. I’m lucky enough to look after Rainbow Rowell in the UK, so think ELEANOR AND PARK and FANGIRL…

My first and enduring love is literary fiction and I’m always looking to grow that area of my list, whether elegant and page-turning or unsettling and experimental. I like to read about families, about oddballs, about women struggling and women achieving, about the disenfranchised. I occasionally like darker than dark and I very much like to be made to laugh.

I’m a committed Londoner, but was born and raised in Northern Ireland , then studied at the University of Glasgow. I am actively looking to build on the brilliant Irish, Northern Irish and Scottish writers I already have. I do have a natural tendency to be drawn to working-class voices and regional stories. I also love nothing more than getting stuck in editorially on a story if I see brilliance there.

Like many in these odd times, I find myself increasingly drawn to non-fiction that allows for a collective vent. In the past year or so I have represented books by Dawn Foster, Owen Hatherley, John Grindrod, Lauren Duca, Danielle Henderson, Moira Donegan – on housing, Europe, feminism, millennials, sexual harassment. I love illustrators, cartoonists. I love sport, comedy and I might even show an interest in your food blog. As long as it doesn’t mention cupcakes.

I’m open and approachable and desperate to get good writing out in the world. Send me something.

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