A round of applause for our feisty and ever so helpful Sarah Davies of the the Greenhouse!
Sarah Davies runs the Greenhouse, a full-service literary agency exclusively for authors of fiction (though not picture books) for children and young adults. Greenhouse launched in January 2008 and has already developed and sold a number of debut authors. With offices in Virginia (just outside Washington DC) and London, the agency represents both American and British authors and sells direct to both markets. Foreign rights are handled by sister-company Rights People – a specialist children’s rights-selling business with a fast-growing reputation for selling literary properties around the world.
Sarah has more than 25 years’ experience of children’s publishing, moving to the USA from London in 2007. She started her career at Collins (before it was HarperCollins), followed by a spell at Transworld/Random House. In 1994 she joined Macmillan Children’s Books in London as Fiction Editor, rising through the editorial ranks to Publishing Director and member of the management board, where she was involved in all aspects of business strategy and development for an award-winning list which published 200+ titles per year, from novelty/preschool books to sophisticated teen fiction. She held this position until 2007 when she left to start Greenhouse.
Sarah has worked with and published many leading authors on both sides of the Atlantic. Americans include Judy Blume, Meg Cabot, Sharon Creech, Carl Hiaasen, Karen Cushman, David Baldacci, Sarah Mlynowski, and Gary Paulsen. Brits include Philip Pullman, Peter Dickinson, Frank Cottrell-Boyce, Eva Ibbotson, and Frances Hardinge. She also has considerable experience in contract negotiation, marketing and rights, as well as a strong understanding of digital developments. Excellent publishing contacts in both the USA and Britain - and homes in both countries - give her a uniquely transatlantic vision. She makes regular trips to New York and London, and in 2007 was a member of the judging panel for SCBWI UK’s first-ever writing competition, which resulted in the anthology ‘Undiscovered Voices’.
Married to an American, Sarah has twin sons who are more-or-less grown-up now, but who taught her much of what she knows about children and reading. She attends major international book fairs and trade events and loves meeting new authors and nurturing fresh talent. She says, ‘Everything I’d most like you to know about Greenhouse is embodied in its name. You’ll find my Ten Top Tips for writing children’s fiction, and lots more info, on the Greenhouse website.
What Sarah is currently looking for:
- Smart, high-concept tween fiction with a strong voice and lots of commercial appeal.
- Strong middle-grade fiction, with adventurous storylines – perhaps with supernatural/spooky plots, if really original. Boy protagonists, international settings, historical/magical threads are all interesting. Strong characters that leap off the page.
- Teen novels that are arresting, dark, superbly well written and linger in the mind and heart.
- Other fiction I would love to find: A great story set in the Middle East with authentic characters (a KITE RUNNER for young people). A big and important novel with themes that engage and challenge the intellect; this could be futuristic or perhaps have political or racial issues woven into the storyline. A ‘novel for our times’!
Stay tuned! I know you're all dying to know who the winners are. They'll be announced shortly.