Feature Patrick Walsh

2000 The year in which Walsh left Christopher

Little to co-found Conville & Walsh with fellow agent Clare Conville

16 The number of years

Walsh spent at Conville & Walsh before striking out on his own and founding PEW, at the age of 50

A room with a PEW

A year on from seting up shop himself, literary agent Patrick Walsh is revelling in a buoyant market and an era, he argues, in which the abundance of content and channels to readers (or users), means the literary agent is more crucial than ever. Roger Tagholm reports


Patrick Walsh is pictured by his agency’s offices, an 18th-century town- house located in Soho, central London

HE AGENT PATRICK Walsh, who struck out as an independent a litle over a year ago establishing PEW Literary (based on his initials) aſter

16 very successful years at Conville & Walsh, arrived at Frankfurt aſter two days relaxing in Baden-Baden. “It’s very beautiful there, very 19th-century. There’s the casino where Dostoevsky lost his money, and the cit is surrounded by these beautiful woods where it’s reviving to walk. I always used to go there before Frankfurt, and this year I’m going back.”

He also arrives in optimistic mood, buoyed by the relative health of the market: “The climate is really rather good at the moment. The worries we all had about digital proved unfounded, Waterstones is back on track, and though independent booksellers have been closing, the ones that have survived are fabulous. I think publishers are more optimistic too, but of course they

still complain—I just don’t think they mean it.” He is clearly loving being an independent. He set out his new stall at the age of 50, but says: “Fiſty isn’t old and it’s good to challenge yourself. I wasn’t unhappy at Conville & Walsh—and I miss lots of my old colleagues, although I do still see them. It was more a case of, what’s that old proverb? ‘Sometimes you have to cut your own throat to breathe.’ I wanted to challenge myself and I wanted to get back to working on books, to hatching ideas, to talking to people about projects. One of the joyful things about publishing is the unexpected things that come through your door. “I’m much closer to the books now, much closer to authors. I spend more time working on manuscripts myself, more time seeing authors and I like that. I love doing deals, but I love working on books too.” The need for agents to have a greater editorial role


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