478: Manuscript critique from literary agent Cathryn Summerhayes.

Cathryn Summerhayes HeadshotITEM: Cathryn is offering a 90 minute – 2 hour consultation – over lunch/breakfast – plus a written report – to any writer of adult fiction (not genre because it’s not her area of expertise). She will read in advance a manuscript of up to 80,000 words and offer help and advice on improvements, edit, etc.

BIO: Cathryn has been a literary agent at WME since November 2006.

In addition to representing authors on behalf of the US office she has an extensive UK client list including; Richard Milward, author of 3 Faber novels Apples, Ten Story Lovesong and Kimberly’s Capital Punishment, who has been described by the Financial Times as ‘the JD Salinger of our time’; Clare Wigfall, whose critically-acclaimed short-story collection, The Loudest Sound And Nothing won the 2008 BBC National Short Story Award; David Whitehouse, whose Bed won the inaugural To Hell With Prizes this year and who has just been awarded the Betty Trask Award; Ben Crystal, author of Shakespeare on Toast and Arden’s new Springboard Shakespeare series, Naomi Wood author of The Godless Boys and the soon to be published Mrs Hemingway and winner of the inaugural Eccles Foundation scholarship through The British Library, Petina Gappah, author of the Guardian First Book Award winning story collection An Elegy for Easterly whose debut novel The Book of Memory will be published by Faber in August 2014 and Deborah Kay Davies, winner of Welsh Book of the Year 2009 whose new novel Reasons She Goes to the Woods is published in Spring 2014. Cathryn also represents several young male voices including Joe Stretch, Chris Killen, Ben Crystal and Phil Wilding.

She has a growing list of children’s and YA fiction, most notably Laura Dockrill whose Darcy Burdock series is published by Random House and Steven Camden, a performance poet whose debut YA novel Tape comes in in 2014 (HarperCollins).

In April this year Emma Hooper’s debut novel, Etta and Otto and Russell and James sold in a dozen territories for very substantial advances, including to Fig Tree, Penguin in the UK and Simon & Schuster in the US – it will publish in February 2015 worldwide.

Prior to working at WME, Cathryn worked at David Godwin Associates and David Higham Associates, and before that, at Colman Getty PR, where she coordinated a number of high-profile events, including the Man Booker Prize and the Samuel Johnson Prize. Cathryn also helps co-ordinate the Literary Tent at Camp Bestival and works on production at Port Eliot Literary Festival. She has one son, Ernest, who has just celebrated his first birthday – and is named after Hemingway, of course!

About K

YA writer. Voracious reader. Feminist. Home educator. Addicted to tea and Twitter.


  1. Well, someone has to get this ball rolling, so in goes £100.

  2. Cathryn Summerhayes

    You are all exceptionally generous and I’ll be polishing my critique-ing skills!!

  3. £421.88 – my winnings from the weekend thanks to Henrik Stenson shooting 64 in the last round of the golf!

  4. Well i want to help as best i can, plus i need an agent and Cathryn is one of the best, so, i am just going to have to call some friends and see if i can get their support to knock Gary off his perch. Having a three book deal already, maybe he’ll let me pass? *dials* * crosses toes*

  5. I don’t know what to do here. I’m heading down to the big fight in Manchester on Saturday and could do with the winnings to back George Groves to shock the world at 5-1. It’s a straight toss up between George Groves and a lunch with Cathryn, as I’ll be donating at least half the winnings to the cause anyway. Would Cathryn take me on? Not a chance, I wouldn’t take me on, but looking at that impressive CV a couple of hours chat and advice would be great. Let me think….

  6. Alrighty, I have found another helpful friend. So i am ready to offer £503 pounds. It is for a very very good cause. CROSSING all fingers and toes.

  7. It is for a very good cause, isn’t it. Providing we’re the only two bidders left, let’s try and bend the rules a little. If Cathryn could spare the time, how about two lunch dates for a cool £1006.00 quid? I’ll go second, no probs, a few months time, say March. What do you think Marella? Say yes, I’ve got six kids under eight shaking piggy banks here, man!

  8. Cathryn Summerhayes

    I am happy with that if the boss of A4P says we can bend the rules a bit and raise over a grand for a very important cause. Staggered critiques would be good. Jan and march ideal. Gives me time to read and assess properly for you both and with such generosity I’d hate you to feel short changed!

  9. Fantastic Cathryn, a great result for everyone and a super amount raised. I’m in no hurry, so anytime next year, let me know when it suits you and Marella. I’ll have a quick look around the site and see how to make the payment.

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