Hellie Ogden

Literary Agent

Hellie represents fiction, children’s books and non-fiction and enjoys novels with bold storytelling, moving prose and vivid, thought-provoking characters. In non-fiction she is looking for unique personal stories, cookery, lifestyle, and work that has a social following with cross-media potential. As an editorially focused agent, she has a keen interest in helping to develop and nurture debut writers. Follow her on Twitter @hellieogden.

Hellie featured in The Bookseller Rising Stars list 2013.
And was shortlisted for the Kim Scott Walwyn Prize in 2014.

I’m incredibly hands on editorially, and I love to help shape a piece of work from the very rough idea through to a polished, original manuscript. So I’m looking for a few special, standout books every year that I can pump my energy into, I keep my list small, and I’m happy to receive manuscripts even when just at a rough stage – that really excites me.

The books on my list often tackle dark themes with a strong, fresh voice - I think for me it always comes back to the voice. Favourite authors include Maggie O’Farrell, Graham Greene, Liane Moriarty, Sophie Hannah, Sarah Waters and Philip Ridley. I’m on the lookout for a new crime series with a protagonist that you want to come back to again and again and psychological or high-concept thrillers with big ideas and daring twists. With historical fiction I’m open to original ideas and love seeing a time/place/person in a new light.

I love those books that hit the reading group sweet spot – upmarket, but with a clever commercial hook so something like WHERE’D YOU GO, BERNADETTE? which has real flair and heart. I thought A SONG FOR ISSY BRADLEY was extraordinarily good and I’m often drawn to family stories, and writing that is sharp, witty and warm. I read broadly, literary through to commercial, and in a bookshop I will hunt for moral complexities, unusual twists and prose that will floor me emotionally and challenge me too. I never tire of the mother/daughter dynamic, and now raising a young girl myself, that feels particularly acute.

On the YA-side it’s stories with a big heart and voice that tackle the often messy side of growing up. Books like THE ONE MEMORY OF FLORA BANKS and HEART-SHAPED BRUISE. When it comes to middle-grade I’m open to all sorts, but I have a real love of adventure mixed with magic, and I read on repeat Eva Ibbotson, or something eccentric and mad and outrageously funny.

I also focus on finding standout cookery/lifestyle writers and moving narrative non-fiction projects. I was in awe of Dolly Alderton and her debut EVERYTHING I KNOW ABOUT LOVE. We of course have excellent contacts across different media platforms.