Janklow & Nesbit UK
Headshot of Claire Paterson Conrad - Literary Agent at Janklow & Nesbit UK

Claire Paterson Conrad

Literary Agent
Accepting submissions

Claire Paterson Conrad started her career in publishing at Chatto & Windus, followed by stints at Granta and Canongate Books before a move to New York where she became Publisher of the NYRB Classics series. Claire subsequently joined J&N to help establish their London office, where she is now a Literary Agent and Director. She continues to work closely with the US team, particularly Lynn Nesbit, co-agenting authors such as Monica Heisey, Jeffrey Eugenides and André Aciman, Maaza Mengiste and the Estate of Joan Didion. Claire does this work alongside her own broad but carefully curated list which spans, in fiction, from Michel Faber to Eva Rice and, in non-fiction, from Oliver Burkeman to Gillian Anderson’s forthcoming book WANT, a generation-defining collection of women’s anonymous sexual fantasies. Many of the books she has represented have been bestsellers and shortlisted for or won prizes, such as The Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Costa Book of the Year, the Baillie Gifford Prize, The Royal Society Science Book Price, The Guardian First Fiction Prize, the Wainright Prize, the Dylan Thomas Prize and the British Book of the Year Award, to name a few.

I work closely editorially with writers, regardless of genre. With non-fiction, I’ll help hone the smallest seed of an idea into a perfect, irresistible proposal and with fiction, I’ll make sure a first novel is as good as it can be before taking it to publishers. I’m energetic, committed and obsessed with good writing and I’m ruthlessly ambitious for my clients and their work, both creatively and financially. I’ll remain fully engaged at every step of a book’s journey, from pitch to publication and beyond. I have wide-ranging tastes in both fiction and non-fiction.

In fiction, I work across upmarket commercial to literary fiction and mistrust pigeon-holing books into genres. I’m actively looking to take on distinctive fiction which is voice or character driven; a strong hook or unusual perspective is always a bonus. I’m currently keen to find an all-consuming multi-generational novel or gripping love stories, particularly if it’s warm-hearted and wise. I’d also like to find more novels that make you laugh out loud, and fiction that subverts the norm, even in subtle ways. I love beautifully written literary fiction that has a strong sense of place, feminist fiction with a revisionary twist and experimental novels that play with structure or form, especially when this is used to illuminate the complexities of human experience. I’d particularly like to hear from novelists who have started writing later in life.

In non-fiction, currently, I’m looking for writers who show us new ways of looking at things or help us understand the world better, or books that start conversations and change minds. I’m also passionate about finding and amplifying voices from under-represented backgrounds. I’m looking for memoir and narrative non-fiction by writers, journalists or historians who can retell fascinating stories or little-known periods of history. I’m searching for good food writing and books about the food system, or books that highlight our need to protect and care for our precious planet, especially nature writing. I’m looking for books that are a call to arms for other issues of our day, ones that challenge orthodoxies in ways that aren’t necessarily prescriptive. I’d love to find more good popular science writing, written by great communicators. Lastly, I’m a huge fan of non-fiction that melds genres, from Olivia Laing to Maggie Nelson and Rebecca Solnit.

Some recent books I’ve read and enjoyed, in fiction: THE OVERSTORY by Richard Powers, BIG SWISS by Jen Beagin, DEMON COPPERHEAD by Barbara Kingsolver, EXIT WEST by Mohsin Hamid, TOMORROW AND TOMORROW AND TOMORROW by Gabrielle Zevin, STILL LIFE by Sarah Winman, THE BEE STING by Paul Murray and YELLOWFACE by Rebecca F Kuang. In non-fiction: NOTHING TO ENVY by Barbara Demick, EDUCATED by Tara Westover, BLOOD, BONES AND BUTTER by Gabrielle Hamilton, THE SALT PATH by Raynor Winn, WATERLOGGED by Roger Deakin, ULTRA-PROCESSED PEOPLE by Chris van Tulleken, THE BODY KEEPS THE SCORE by Bessel van der Kolk and BRAIDING SWEETGRASS by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

Please read our submission guidelines before submitting your work to Claire