DHA hosts inaugural Open Day for under-represented writers

DHA hosted its inaugural Open Day for under-represented writers on Thursday 13th December at our offices in Soho.

As book agents, we are looking for new ways to connect with a broader range of writers. In July, we put out an open call to writers from under-represented backgrounds, asking them to send us their materials. We received over 150 applications based on which we invited ten writers to our offices. The aim was to inspire, encourage and inform new writers; to give them an insight into the publishing industry and to offer personalised editorial feedback on their work to help develop their projects.

During the day, we discussed the roles of the author, the agent and the editor; heard from the DHA Translation and Film & TV Departments about the further opportunities available to writers; and offered authors feedback on their current projects.

We were joined by Alexa Von Hirschberg, Senior Commissioning Editor at Bloomsbury, and Amer Anwar, Debut Dagger Award winner and author of Brothers in Blood, both of whom led insightful sessions about their experiences of the industry. The ten writers who attended were: Nicole Allen, Ollie Charles, Eliza Clarke, Mark Hawkins, Tina Mander, Benedict Morrison, Jane Pessoa Quiambao, Jon Ransom, Nudrat Siddiqui and Yan F. Zhang.

Based on the feedback we received from the participants, we believe the day was a great success. One writer said: ‘Being invited to be part of the open day has really given me a new energy with which to attack my writing. Feeling as though I’m part of a community of writers is wonderful, and I’m wildly grateful to David Higham for making that possible.’ Another wrote: ‘The event was really informative and inspiring! I hope you continue to run them in future, as it gave a very useful and realistic overview of the publishing industry’.

We look forward to hosting the next DHA Open Day for under-represented writers (which will be focused on children’s writing) in 2019.