What is your role at Gleam futures and what does it entail?
I’m Head of Publishing at Gleam Titles, the literary arm at Gleam. I work as an agent and represent the books and look after the careers of writers. So it’s my job to talent spot and discover authors, I help secure them publishing deals and work alongside them throughout the process of writing and publishing their books.
How long have you worked with Zoe?
I have worked with Zoe for more than four years now! I’ve loved watching her move from her Girl Online fiction series into non-fiction, and then onto this big fiction series, The Magpie Society, which we’re so excited about. It’s going to be EPIC.
What are some of the best parts of your job?
The people. One of the best parts of my job is getting to work with people who are doing amazing things in the world, like changing laws, facilitating award-winning activism and helping others with the skills and platforms they have. I also love words – being close to the text, an idea, and helping turn that into a book that people will spend time with.
What are you currently working on?
A lot of the things I’m working on now I can’t discuss as the deals haven’t been announced. But this month we’ve had Sunday Times bestsellers with Where’s My Happy Ending? and the one and only Mrs Hinch. Liv Purvis’ The Insecure Girl’s Club and Chidera Eggerue’s How To Get Over a Boy have published – they are both fantastic books offering pearls of wisdom and nuggets of truth.
What did you study at school/uni to help with your career?
I studied English Literature and it definitely laid the foundation for my work. I think the psychoanalytic theory I studied was very informative in terms of the books I work on now – it’s where I discovered feminism and the idea of gender as a social construct.
What are some of your all-time favourite books?
That’s the impossible question I get asked time and time again. I love to read literary fiction: Deborah Levy, Angela Carter, Miranda July, Sally Rooney etc. I’d recommend everything and anything they’ve written. I also love more surreal and quirky books that suspend your reality, such as Andrew Kaufman’s All My Friends are Superheroes and The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Ariel by Sylvia Plath is one of my favourite poetry collections. The Son by Philipp Meyer is the best western I’ve ever read.
What are you looking forward to reading this year?
There is so much great stuff coming this year! Excluding my own authors from this list, I’m excited to read Exciting Times by Naoise Dolan Pandora’s Sykes collection of essays How We Know We’re Doing It Right, The Panic Years by Nelle Frizzle, Marian Keyes’ new novel Grown Ups and Explaining Humans by Camilla Pang.
Who are some of your favourite new authors?
Han Kang, Naoise Dolan and Marina Keegan, who sadly passed away at a very young age but her debut collection of essays and stories The Opposite of Loneliness was published posthumously, and it is one of the most brilliant and affecting collections I’ve read.
What do you like most about working in London?
The access it gives you to so many other worlds and perspectives, inspiring art in galleries around the corner, the height of new fashion on your doorstop and incredible food to sample on your lunch hour. London is a giver.
If you had any advice for aspiring writers what would it be?
Write what you’re afraid to write. Read as much work as you can by the writers you aspire to be like. Write, write, and write.
What do you always carry with you?
Poo bags. (I have an Italian Greyhound).
What would your last meal be?
My answer was always seafood, I adore seafood. But I just got struck down with food poisoning from a handful of cruel oysters, so now I’m really not sure…
What are you looking forward to most in 2020?
All of the incredible books I have coming from some amazingly talented people – Laura Bates, Sam Baker, Emma Gannon, Florence Given, Sophie Hinch, Louise Pentland, Penny Wincer and of course Zoe! It’s going to be one hell of a year for Gleam Titles.
Shop Abigail’s book picks
Follow Abi on Instagram here.