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Mentor with us in 2023!

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'Now I’m an agent I’m securing deals for people who never thought they could be writers.'

Silé was one of our first mentees, and has gone from strength to strength in her post Arts Emergency career.

I’m a Literary Agent from London. I went to school in north London, then studied for an English with Creative Writing Degree in south London. Going into the creative world was a dream, but I was financially independent from a young age, so it didn’t feel like an option that was open to me. When I was in college, I went on BBC Question Time and asked the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg some very difficult questions. That went viral and led to an introduction with Neil from the Arts Emergency team back when the organisation was just starting out.

I needed a career path that combined my need to support myself financially, with my desire to work with books. At the time I was planning to go straight into work, not seeing the need for a degree – or the debt that came with one. Then, I was paired with a mentor who was working on her first book (Reni Eddo-Lodge). She gave me the courage and the contacts to pursue a career in publishing.

Going into the creative world was a dream, but I was financially independent from a young age, so it didn’t feel like an option that was open to me

As I applied, I hit a lot of brick walls. All of my jobs up to that point were sorely lacking in the admin skills and contacts that would shift my CV up the pile. The Programmes team at Arts Emergency offered me a job as an assistant on a temporary basis, which meant I could pay my rent through the last year of university and get the skills and experience necessary to secure a job after graduating. This changed the trajectory of my career. This is what sets Arts Emergency apart. The mentors, the team and the infrastructure they have created means that they can really support people in a targeted and holistic way.

I went on to work at the trade association for publishing and one of the largest literary agencies in the country as an assistant. Now I’m an agent for a leading boutique agency. I’m securing deals for people who never thought they could be writers. I run regular workshops with students and publishing hopefuls, write a column for trade magazine The Bookseller and have won an award for my contribution to the industry.