Emma Paterson

I joined Aitken Alexander Associates in 2018 after five years at Rogers, Coleridge & White. Before that, I worked at The Wylie Agency. In 2018, I was selected as a Bookseller Rising Star.

I am looking for literary fiction and a wide range of non-fiction. In fiction, my preference is for character-driven novels and short stories with a strong sense of place and atmosphere, and work which demonstrates an energetic and often critical engagement with the world we live in now. I am drawn especially to the formally ambitious, the radical, the irreverent and the unsentimental. Good examples of my taste include Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, Break It Down by Lydia Davis, Veronica by Mary Gaitskill, Silver Sparrow by Tayari Jones, The Mars Room by Rachel Kushner, A Heart So White by Javier Marías, In the Cut by Susanna Moore and Beloved by Toni Morrison. Recent fiction highlights on my own list include Elaine Castillo’s America Is Not the Heart, Bernardine Evaristo’s Booker-shortlisted Girl, Woman, Other, Megan Hunter’s The End We Start From, Chris Power’s Rathbones Folio Prize-longlisted Mothers and Sharlene Teo’s Ponti. I represent Women’s Prize-longlisted Lillian Li, Susanna Moore and Kristen Roupenian in the UK on behalf of their US agents.

In non-fiction, my tastes are broad. Books I have loved recently include The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk and Playing in the Dark by Toni Morrison. I represent a number of journalists, including Emmy-nominated Mona Chalabi, Shon Faye, Orwell Prize-shortlisted Sam Knight, Rebecca Liu, Ash Sarkar and Vicky Spratt, and academics such as Jade Bentil, Helen Charman and Emma Dabiri. I am particularly interested in history, politics, psychology, social justice and literary criticism, and I’m keen to discover academics, critics and experts writing in these areas. I am also drawn to novelists and poets crossing over into creative non-fiction and essay writing. Non-fiction highlights on my list include Emma Dabiri’s Don’t Touch My Hair, Lucia Osborne-Crowley’s I Choose Elena, Olivia Sudjic’s Exposure and Shon Faye’s forthcoming The Transgender Issue.

I’m equally stimulated by business, lifestyle and beauty books which offer a fresh, playful angle on a popular topic, such as Otegha Uwagba’s Little Black Book or Funmi Fetto’s forthcoming beauty bible for women of colour, Palette. 

I represent a small number of poets, including Forward Prize-shortlisted Mary-Jean Chan, National Book Award finalist Diana Khoi-Nguyen, Rachel Long and Rebecca Tamás.