Cathryn Summerhayes is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, where she began her agenting career as an intern, before working at DHA, David Godwin and for ten years at WME, where she was a partner. She previously worked at Colman Getty on prizes and events such as The Man Booker, Samuel Johnson and Forward Poetry Prizes.
She also works in the production office at Port Eliot Literary Festival and is actively involved with the Hay Festival as well as being a board member for Literature Wales. She was shortlisted for The Bookseller’s Agent of the Year in 2016 and her clients include Dr Adam Kay, Mark Watson, Naomi Wood, Kirsty Logan, Susan Fletcher, Johanna Basford, Rose McGowan, Grace Dent, Viv Groskop, Sir Ranulph Fiennes, Lucy Foley, Polpo’s Russell Norman, Mark Hix, TLS Editor, Stig Abell and Clemmie Hooper.
What was the last book you read?
Convenience Store Woman by Saraka Murata and Grandad’s Island by Benji Davies (to my kids – I cry EVERY time Grandad says he’s not coming home).
What did you read it on?
Lovely, lovely printed paper.
What’s next on your reading list?
The new Murakami, and many, many unsolicited manuscripts which are languishing on my Kindle.
Which writer would you have loved to have met and why?
Hemingway. I am just not convinced that he was as handsome and charming as EVERYONE says he was. But I bet he was great at a party.
Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?
The Big Green Book Shop, Wood Green, lovely people, passionate, brave, marvellous.
Go on, let us know your musical guilty pleasure.
Katy Perry (my 4 year-old daughter’s fave and now mine).
And your one from the world of fiction?
All the Stig Larssons (and the not Stig Larssons).
When did you first realise you wanted to work in publishing?
When I first held a proof of the new Martin Amis novel in my hands when I was working in PR. I wanted to be the FIRST to read stuff…it was an exciting moment for me because I had floundered for a while.
What would be the title of your autobiography?
What was your first job?
Gameshow contestant (I won Catchphrase).
If you could tell your younger self one piece of advice, what would it be?
Do NOT let Shaun Green give you a love-bite in the IT cupboard, it will only lead to bad things. It did. Never let anyone give me a love-bite near computers again.
What was your favourite childhood book?
Mallory Towers series
Catherine Summerhayes is speaking, as well as conducting a round of Pitch Slams, at our 2018 Writer’s Summit. To book your ticket, and learn more about our programme, see here.