Old Boys' Club

Aspiring authors of the Anglophone persuasion, take note:

Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin, (..) gets four or so [manuscripts] a week - despite a note on the website that declares "Sadly, we're unable to consider unsolicited manuscripts. The best way to find a publisher is through an agent." These four are given to people in the office for a week or two on work experience; if they think there's any merit in the submission, it goes to publishing director Simon Prosser or one of his permanent colleagues. Yet nothing in the past 10 years has actually ended up in print that way. The only books that have been published and not arrived via an agent were recommended by friends in the publishing industry, or by Hamish Hamilton's writers, "which is slightly different, because there is some connection," says Prosser.

Aida Edemariam, an editor, has something to say about authors, agents and the publishing industry. The rules are slightly different in Denmark but not as different as you might expect.