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Comment from the book world in January 2019

January 2019

Book to film - Meg Wolitzer on The Wife

28 January 2019

‘I go through a very intense process when I'm writing a book, so the idea of repeating that for a film seems exhausting. You want to have a point where you are really done with something, you know? Much better to let other people do it and then occasionally you show up and eat their food on set or come to their gala premieres and, you know, excitedly meet everyone. For me, that's a good role...

I wrote it (The Wife) four years ago when feminism was definitely a moving thing that had a lot of people talking about it but by the time the book came out we were in a very different moment and feminism was front and centre. But a novel isn't just tracking what's happening in the moment. It's trying to peek around the bend and also look backwards, at why we got to this point and why we think and feel the way we do. An up-to-date novel almost seems like an oxymoron to me. You want a book to be able to last and to be reflective. As Mary Gordon said to me once, the novel is the opposite of a tweet.'

Meg Wolitzer, author of The Wife, The Uncoupling and The Female Persuasion, in the Observer

How best to present yourself to an agent

21 January 2019

'Your book is special to you and may one day be to other people but at the moment it is just another submission. Authors need to remember that agents are inundated with submissions. Most have full lists already and need to concentrate on their existing clients. Of course we are looking for new talent but the chances of selling books from the slush pile are small.

Some agents claim they have never sold anything from the slush pile though I take it very seriously, and personally look at almost twenty thousand submissions each year . Given each submission may be over forty pages long, that is a lot of reading to fit around the reading of my existing clients' work, such as the fifty delivered manuscripts each year, and the normal work of the agency...'

Andrew Lownie of his eponymous agency on how best to present yourself to an agent

'Be ruthless about protecting writing days.'

14 January 2019

'Be ruthless about protecting writing days, i.e., do not cave in to endless requests to have "essential" and "long overdue" meetings on those days. The funny thing is that, although writing has been my actual job for several years now, I still seem to have to fight for time in which to do it. Some people do not seem to grasp that I still have to sit down in peace and write the books, apparently believing that they pop up like mushrooms without my connivance. I must therefore guard the time allotted to writing as a Hungarian Horntail guards its firstborn egg.'

J K Rowling, author of the hugely bestselling Harry Potter books and the Cormoran Strike books written under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith.