Clare Alexander

Clare Alexander became a literary agent in 1998 after more than 20 years as a publisher, having edited winners of the Booker, the Orange and Whitbread prizes. As an editor, amongst other debuts, Clare published first novels by Helen Dunmore, Alex Garland, Amitav Ghosh, Stephen Knight, Haruki Murakami and Donna Tartt. As an agent, in 2019 she represented half the short list of The Women’s Prize, of which she had been a founder member. She remains a Founding Patron. She was Literary Agent of the Year in 2007, was awarded the 2008 Kim Scott Walwyn Prize, and is a previous President of the Association of Authors’ Agents. She has served on the board of New Writing North and is currently on the board of the Charlotte Aitken Trust. Clare was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2021. She is chair of Aitken Alexander Associates. 

Clare has a large client list, so she only takes on two or three new writers a year.  She is always interested in fiction that surprises, delights or moves her to laughter or to tears – preferably both at once. She does not represent genre fiction but is interested in fiction that elevates genre into something new and original.  In non-fiction she prefers narrative-driven works, including biography, history and memoir.  She has no interest in Wellness, how-to or anything remotely ‘inspirational’.

2023 was a very busy year for authors represented by Clare. Bestsellers included POLITICS ON THE EDGE by Rory Stewart, THE WHALEBONE THEATRE by Joanna Quinn and THE SEVENTH SON by Sebastian Faulks. 

Other acclaimed 2023 hardcover fiction publications with paperbacks to come in 2024 include A SPELL OF GOOD THINGS Ayobami Adebayo, THE MIDNIGHT NEWS by Jo Baker, THE SHARING ECONOMY by Sophie Berrebi, A HOUSE FOR ALICE by Diana Evans, THE WALLED GARDEN by Sarah Hardy, BECKY by Sarah May, THE SNOW HARE by Paula Lichtarowicz, JUNGLE HOUSE by Julianne Pachico and CAHOKIA JAZZ by Francis Spufford which will also be published in hardcover in America in Spring 2024. 

Non-fiction hightlights in hardcover during 2023 with paperback publication in 2024 include Tom Bullough’s SARN HELEN, which was Welsh Book of the Year, Daisy Hay’s ‘hugely engrossing’ DINNER WITH JOSEPH JOHNSON, Kate Strasdin’s ‘irresistible’ THE DRESS DIARY OF MRS ANNE SYKES, Polly Toynbee’s acclaimed memoir, AN UNEASY INHERITANCE and Nicholas Shakespeare’s brilliant official biography of Ian Fleming.

2024 will see publication of new books from Pat Barker, Mark Haddon, Lisa Harding, Alan Johnson, Marina Kemp, Sarah Leipciger and Sandi Toksvig. Non-fiction includes NAMESAKE: Reflections on a Warrior Woman by N. S Nuseibeh in which the author seeks to understand her ancestor Nusayba in the context of her own 21st century concerns; Liz Jensen’s profoundly moving YOUR WILD AND PRECIOUS LIFE: On Grief, Hope and Rebellion; Fiona Stafford’s unpeeling of layers of British landscape in TIME AND TIDE: the Long, Long life of Landscape; Lisa Woollett’s LOST TO THE SEA: A Journey round the Edges of Britain and Ireland and Rachel Clarke’s highly anticipated new work of non-fiction about two families and the history of heart transplant – STORY OF A HEART.

Despite the size of her client list, Clare loves nothing more than discovering new talent as well as working with her many talented authors, not only to launch their first books but also in managing long term writing careers. 

In 2024, amongst other projects she looks forward to talking to publishers about first time novelist Stephanie Y Tam.

Clare is especially interested to find ambitious new fiction that can be domestic or epic in spirit and scope, but which demonstrates maturity and a deep interest in the past, the present or imagined futures.

Clare is assisted by Amy St Johnston: amy@aitkenalexander.co.uk

Please do not submit unsolicited work directly to Clare or Amy. Our submissions guidelines can be found here.