George Breeze, a part-time History postgraduate at Jesus College, and Dr Stewart Tolley, a History lecturer at the University of Oxford’s Department of Continuing Education, have launched a new non-fiction literary agency which aims to support academic writers to publish non-fiction works for wider audiences.
The idea for the agency - Non-Fiction Works –came about when George and Stewart met for a coffee last year. George explains:
“Stewart is a historian of the eighteenth century who was then teaching me all about Jacobite history during my postgraduate year at Oxford prior to Jesus. He was telling me how, as an academic historian, the opportunity to publish a work of non-fiction for a wider audience was often laced with difficulty. For example, the fraught process of finding a literary agent who understood popular non-fiction sufficiently well enough not to dilute the substance and academic content of a writer’s work. Reflecting on how we could improve the whole process for academic writers, we realised that lamenting the situation would get us nowhere, and that we should seize the initiative by setting up as literary agents ourselves.”
The new agency focuses entirely on developing non-fiction works on any subject matter, and finding ways to expand the reach of such works to general audiences, without the need to ‘dumb down’ content. It’s a challenge that George is passionate about. He says,
“My lunchbreaks as a City banking lawyer were often spent trawling through book-shops to find something that would distract me from turgid financial and legal documents, deadlines, and the general stress of my daily life. As a lover of non-fiction I demanded two things from the book I hoped to purchase: that it should be well-written and engaging enough to hold my attention; and that I should be able to learn something from it.”
He adds, “Ultimately, our business is about maximising the appeal of non-fiction content without lessening its academic impact. It’s also about maximising our writer’s profits by working with publishers with a greater outreach. We welcome enquiries so please do get in touch”.
To find out more, go to the agency’s new website www.non-fictionworks.co.uk.