“There is no mistaking a real book when one meets it. It is like falling in love.”
Christopher Morley, Pipefuls
"How would you like to be our woman in London?" asked a publishing contact on a trip over from Paris, in the darkened bar of a West End hotel.
"I would like that very much," I replied.
That is how I became a literary scout. I am not an agent. I do not represent authors and illustrators. I work with literary agents and publishing houses all over the English speaking world, looking for gems which will shine on my clients' publishing lists. I specialise in children's and young adult fiction, from early readers to young adults.
Born in London of Franco English parents, educated at the Lycee Francais, Westminster, Oxford and the LSE, I have always been caught between cultures. I spent my first ten years in publishing selling rights, first at Orion, then for HarperCollins. Since 2001, I've been on the other side, helping acquire books rather than sell them, but the same questions always apply. What will fit my clients' lists, what will travel, to which territory? What is a ballet series worth in Italy, a vampire quartet in France? I love the breadth of vision the job gives me, the windows into different cultures. France, Italy, Spain, Germany, Israel, Holland - to say nothing of the foreign land of animated pictures... It is a constant juggling act to keep up with all the books, the prizes, the trends, to make sure my clients always get the book that is absolutely right for them.