Diamond Kahn & Woods Literary Agency are delighted to announce that Ella Kahn has signed Natalie Hart, winner of the 2016 London Book Fair’s The Write Stuff pitch event, which saw six authors pitch their books to a panel of agents in front of the Author HQ audience. Ella was invited to be on the panel of The Write Stuff event having won the 2016 Trailblazers Award, powered by the London Book Fair and sponsored by BookBrunch and the Society of Young Publishers, which celebrates the next generation of publishing talent roaring through their twenties.
Natalie was the panel’s unanimous winner at The Write Stuff event, with her powerful and moving pitch of her debut novel NOT MY SOLDIER. Natalie met with several agents as a result of her win, before choosing to sign with Ella.
NOT MY SOLDIER is a novel that examines modern day conflict and the battles being fought on the home front. It shows that collateral damage can occur far from the frontline, and explores the other side of the story: that of the women who are left at home to pick up the pieces of these costly wars.
Blurb: Emma had considered the possibility that her husband might not come home from war. She had not considered that he might return a stranger. When Adam is deployed to Iraq just months after Emma moves to Colorado, it is a difficult time for the couple. Emma struggles with her new role as military spouse, isolated from her friends and, family, and distanced from her own career in conflict zones. But the challenges of Adam being away are nothing compared to what faces her when he gets home.
As a teenager Natalie worked in her local independent bookshop in East Sussex. She still can’t believe that someone actually paid her to drink tea and talk about books. Now she specialises in public opinion research in conflict and post-conflict environments. She has spent three years in Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan as a researcher, where the idea for NOT MY SOLDIER began to form. Natalie has a BA in Arabic and Spanish from the University of Cambridge and recently completed a distance learning MA in Creative Writing at the University of Lancaster. Natalie has completed online fiction courses with Faber Academy and the Gotham Writers’ Workshop.
Ella Kahn, DKW, said: ‘I knew from the moment I read Natalie’s beautiful, lyrical sample chapters that this was one of those stand-out submissions that come along very rarely, and when she followed this up with a powerful and emotional 3-minute pitch at The Write Stuff event, I was desperate to sign her. It sent shivers down the back of my neck and nearly brought me to tears – NOT MY SOLDIER is an incredibly special book and I am so proud to be representing Natalie. The fact that I met Natalie as a direct result of having won the Trailblazers Award makes it even more special, as it shows how important the awards are in their support of young publishing professionals and writers.’
Natalie Hart said: ‘I am delighted to be signing with Ella Kahn and DKW. The Write Stuff competition at the London Book Fair was a wonderful opportunity for me to pitch my work to agents and I ultimately felt that Ella was the perfect person to represent me. I am very excited to be working with a young agent and trailblazer who already has such an impressive career behind her, and I am thrilled to have found someone who is as passionate about my novel NOT MY SOLDIER as I am.’
Jacks Thomas, The London Book Fair, said: ‘The London Book Fair has long been a hub for writers, publishers and agents and it is always wonderful to learn about success stories that emerge from it. We’re delighted that Natalie Hart has found an agent after attending LBF and taking part in our competition to discover new writing talent – The Write Stuff. We are so pleased to have played a part in discovering Natalie’s new book, even more so because the agent she has chosen, Ella Kahn, is an award-winning LBF Trailblazer herself – so this sounds like an LBF match made in heaven!’