Sunday, November 8, 2009

Westwood Creative Artists

94 Harbord Street
Toronto ON M5S 1G6

Westwood Creative Artists is the largest agency in Canada, representing more than 420 writers. Clients include Yann Martel, Conrad Black, Barbara Gowdy, Rohinton Mistry, Joseph Boyden, M. G. Vassanji, and Gina Buonaguro and Janice Kirk. (For the scoop on Gina and Janice’s latest book, see here.)

Westwood specializes in literary fiction and general non-fiction. It also handles some young adult fiction but does not handle other children’s fiction, hard science non-fiction, poetry or genre fiction.

"I'm passionate about finding new writers," says Bruce Westwood the agency’s founder. However, "Coming in cold and saying, 'I have just written a novel,' with no previous history is very, very difficult." Send stories to magazines, write articles – get your name out there before you approach an agent.

You can query by email:
But for this agency, I suggest querying the old-fashioned way by mail. Include an outline of your work and two sample chapters. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope and expect to wait two months for a reply.

Seven literary agents work at Westwood: Jackie Kaiser, Michael A. Levine, Linda McKnight, Hilary McMahon, John Pearce, Ashton Westwood, and Bruce Westwood.  To get an idea of who represents what you write, browse their 2009 Hotlist here.

Overall, the Westwood website is a candidate for the world’s worst, which just goes to show, you can still be the biggest agency in Canada, with no web savvy at all.  Check it out here:

Photo (by Ashley Hutcheson for National Post): Bruce Westwood, Agua, the office dog, Natasha Daneman (foreign rights), Michael A. Levine, Jackie Kaiser, Ashton Westwood and Hilary McMahon

Note: On Nov 14, Brian Henry will be moderating the seminar, Strategies for Getting Published, at Ryerson University in Toronto. This is your chance to get your questions answered by the most knowledgeable people in the publishing industry. Our three panelists will be literary agent Marie Campbell of Transatlantic Literary, Beverley Daurio, publisher and editor-in-chief of The Mercury Press, and Jack David, co-publisher, ECW. Full details here.

For information about all of Brian’s writing workshops and creative writing courses, see here.

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