It’s been another great year here at Conville & Walsh. As well as continuing to build the careers of our existing writers, we’ve unearthed some brilliant debuts. We’ve also expanded as a company, taking on four new members of staff, founding a speakers’ bureau and curating a literary festival.
We’ve seen a whole host of award wins and nominations this year, many for debut writers.
Logicomix was named in Angoulême Festival’s official selection for 2011, and was also shortlisted for the annual Sondermann Prize for Best International Comic of the Year.
S J Watson had quite a year - his first novel, Before I Go to Sleep, was nominated for two Daggers in the Crimewriters’ Association Awards, going on to win the John Creasey (New Blood) Dagger in October. Also in October he was nominated in three categories for the Galaxy National Book Awards: Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year, New Writer of the Year, and Audiobook of the Year. He then went on to win the Thriller & Crime Novel of the Year Award.
Alexander Monro received the Jerwood Award to aid him in writing his new book, The Paper Trail. It tells the story of how a Chinese invention revolutionized written knowledge across the world, from the birth of paper manufacture in China two thousand years ago to the printing explosion in Europe fifteen hundred years later.
Stephen Kelman’s first novel Pigeon English was shortlisted for the Desmond Elliott prize. The subject of a great deal of press attention this year, Pigeon English went on to be shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011, the New Writer of the Year Award at the Galaxy National Book Awards, and the Guardian First Book Award.
An in-house project, the What on Earth? Wallbook was shortlisted for a British Book Design and Production Award. It’s a unique book, showing 13.7 billion years of existence beautifully illustrated on a unique 2.3 metre-long timeline.
We’ve had some very exciting film deals this year, and have all been eagerly anticipating the release of some of the films that saw deals last year.
Both SJ Watson’s Before I Go to Sleep and Stephen Kelman’s Pigeon English were optioned for film by Ridley and Tony Scott’s production company, Scott Free. There is interest in Before I Go to Sleep from Kate Winslet, Cate Blanchett, Helen Hunt and Meg Ryan around the main role of Christine, a forty-seven-year-old writer who, following a catastrophic accident in her mid-twenties, is incapable of forming and maintaining new memories for more than a day.
Nicole Kidman is set to star in My Wild Life, the feature film of Dame Daphne Sheldrick’s life. Dame Daphne’s memoirs will be published next year, entitled An African Love Story, by Viking Penguin in the UK and Farrar, Strauss & Giroux in the USA.
Disney Junior has just commissioned The Happy Hugglemonsters, an animated pre-school series which will air in more than 150 countries worldwide. The series is based on Niamh Sharkey’sI’m a Happy Hugglewug.
The film adaptation of Benjamin Mee’sWe Bought a Zoo premiered in New York last week. Directed by Cameron Crowe, the film stars Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson, and is due for its UK premiere in March.
We could not have predicted the success that we saw in the charts this year. As just two examples,
Before I Go to Sleep has become a bestseller in the UK, US, Canada, Netherlands, Bulgaria, France, China and Taiwan. It reached #7 in the New York Times bestseller list, and was a runaway bestseller in Taiwan, staying at #1 for an incredible 18 consecutive weeks. Published in 39 languages, worldwide sales stand close to a million, and are climbing fast.
Dr John Bradshaw’sDog Sense was a New York Times hardback bestseller following his National Public Radio interview and tour of America, and then went on to become a Sunday Times bestseller in the UK as well. It has become the definitive account of dogs’ relationship with people, and he is set to write a companion book about cats for publication in 2013.
This summer, we set up a new arm of the agency, Hire Intelligence, which represents a list of experts, academics and journalists for speaking engagements. Co-ordinated by Alex Christofi, we have booked our speakers at a number of corporate events and conferences, in the UK and the US, as well as English language conferences across Europe. Hire Intelligence was also a proud sponsor of the inaugural…
Curated by director Clare Conville, the festival was held at Voewood House, a beautiful stately home on the stunning North Norfolk coast. As well as appearances by our very own Misha Glenny and DBC Pierre, activities included poetry events, garden history talks, local food, Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis’ magical House of Fairy Tales along with Bridget Nicholls, who gave Pestival walks around the beautiful grounds.
The office has suddenly become very full, with four new members of staff joining us.
We had not one but two Carries join us: Carrie Plitt as Jo Unwin’s assistant, and Carrie Kania as a new primary agent, having left HarperCollins in the US to found a list here.
Clare Conville was named in the Bookseller 100 this year, with an entry that gave credit to the quality and diversity of the authors we represent.
We also had some great news, seeing Jake Smith-Bosanquet named winner of the keenly contested Rights Professional of the Year award at the annual Bookseller Industry Awards in May. He was praised as a ‘strong and versatile operator’, confirming what we had all known for a while.
It’s been a remarkable year, and we’d like to thank our authors for all their hard work. We wouldn’t be here without your brilliant writing, and it’s a great privilege for us to help bring it to light.