Your Complete List of UK Literary Agents

Includes all literary agents currently active in the UK.

Literary agents are the gatekeepers, right? The people who stand between you and admittance to the Promised Land of traditional publishing.

Well, in a way, yes. No large publisher takes work seriously unless it comes to them via a literary agent, so you do need that seal of approval . . .

But even before you get to the happy stage of fretting about all that, there’s one more issue on your mind.

How do I even know which agents to pitch to?

And additionally:

How can I even find a list of literary agents currently accepting new work in the UK?

Well, we have the answers to both questions.

You should probably read everything in this blog post, because you’ll find it helpful. But if all you want to do is skip straight down to our list of agents, you can do so here:

Jump Straight to List of Agents

How Do I Know Which Literary Agents to Approach?

My granny once gave me some great advice on gardening. She said, “Always grow plants that you like, and that like you back.” So don’t go planting clematis if you don’t like clematis. And if you do like clematis, but those darn things keep dying on you, then just move on. Plant something different.

Good rule, right? And it applies to agents too.

We’ll start with the first part of Granny’s Rule:

Find the agents who want YOU

You need to approach literary agents who are keen to hear from people like you. It’s pointless wasting your energy on the rest.

That means you want literary agents who:

  • Are open to submissions in your genre.
  • Either welcome submissions from new writers or are, at least, open to great new slushpile submissions.

So if, for example, you’re a crime writer, and an agent is open to submissions from crime writers, and if that agent welcomes slushpile submissions, then you need to pop that agent on your longlist.

That’s a good start, but agents aren’t very specialist and in most cases, your longlist will be something like 100+ names long. Yikes!

The second half of Granny’s Rule enables you to reduce that total to something manageable. Here’s how it works:

Finding the agents YOU want

Take your longlist and pick out any literary agents that you especially like the sound of:

  • Maybe they represent some of your favourite authors in your genre.
  • Or they represent a favourite author in a different genre, even.
  • Or they don’t represent a particular favourite writer of yours, but they have commented admiringly on that author.
  • They share a passion of yours. (For example, your book is in part about Greece, and you notice this agent has Greek ancestry, or runs writing retreats in Greece, or represents books about the country, etc)
  • They made a comment in a blog / on YouTube / at our Festival of Writing / or anywhere else . . . and for whatever reason that comment struck a chord in you.
  • And it’s OK if your reason is dumb. Maybe you like an agent’s face! Or you think their name sounds cute (which is how JK Rowling came across her first literary agent, Christopher Little.)

Really, you’re just looking for points of contact that make sense given your (relatively scant) information resources. You are looking for about 12 names in total.

The secret to getting an agent

What are they really looking for?

Ways not to search for agents

There are two common ways to search for literary agents and neither of them are smart.

Dumb agent search method #1
Send your stuff only to the industry’s most high-profile literary agents

OK, if you happen to be called Ms Meghan Markle and you have an autobiography to sell, this would be a great strategy.

For anyone else? It’s dumb.

The highest profile agents have the glossiest client lists. That means (a) they probably won’t take you on, (b) they probably won’t even read your work, and (c) even if they did they would have a lot less time for you than a newer, hungrier agent would.

Why would you want that person? Answer: you don’t.

Dumb agent search method #2
Only apply to literary agents close to where you live

If you live in central London or New York, that’s a perfectly fine approach. If you live anywhere else, it’s dumb.

Agents cluster in major cities because that’s where the publishers are. You do need your agent to be in constant touch with publishers. You do not need your agent to physically meet you often. Quite honestly? Once a year would be fine – and you’ll be in town least that often to see your publishers.

UK literary agent list

Literary Agents: The Complete UK List

Want access to all the data? Want to unlock those search tools?

The list below is a complete list of UK agents. If you follow the links, you’ll find profile summaries for each agent – but the full data will remain locked.

To get complete access, just go here and sign up for your free account. It’s fast, secure and free.

The secret to getting an agent

What are they really looking for?