Director – Maternity Cover

The Good Literary Agency is looking for a dynamic committed leader and manager to oversee the running of the agency during our co-founder Julia Kingsford’s maternity leave.

TGLA is a social enterprise literary agency founded in 2018 by Nikesh Shukla and Julia Kingsford to explicitly represent British writers from backgrounds under-represented in UK publishing. In the 40 months since we started we have worked with over 150 writers at various stages in their writing from early mentoring to receiving life-changing advances and winning major prizes. We have Arts Council England funding as well as generating our own income from the deals we make on behalf of our clients.

Julia oversees the leadership and strategic responsibilities of the agency including overseeing finance and partnerships as well as management of our small team of four agents, an assistant, a submissions coordinator and part-time development editor.

This is a flexible part-time role and a unique opportunity for someone with a strong track record of championing writers, literature and inclusion and representation to lead a dynamic organisation in a crucial stage in its development.

Our ideal candidate would have experience as a creative entrepreneur who has led or had a management role in small organisations and worked within both a commercial publishing environment and an arts organisation, but we are very keen to hear from candidates who may have narrower or completely different professional experience but can demonstrate an understanding of how their transferable skills can bring value in leading TGLA.

We are aware that it’s unlikely we’ll find someone who perfectly matches Julia’s skillset and are very alive to receiving applications from people with a wide range of experience but it is vital that all applicants can demonstrate a longstanding commitment to championing inclusion either through their own lived experience or through their work.

As this is a part-time temporary role we anticipate that it will be something you do as part of a portfolio career or alongside your personal responsibilities and are excited to see the breadth of experience candidates could bring to the role. Maybe you’re a literary agent looking for new challenges outside of agenting and want to make a real difference to the literary landscape; perhaps you have a background in commercial publishing or writer development or in a literature or arts organisation and want to step more firmly into a leadership role in a small organisation making a big difference; maybe your experience of the literary world is as an author with a background in management and you’re keen to combine your skills in an organisation that puts under-represented writer’s voices first; perhaps you’re an experienced leader in the sector excited to bring your experience to an organisation making a real difference. Or maybe you don’t fit any of these profiles but have built a career with exactly the right transferable skills and experience and have a genuine passion for the work that we do. Whatever your story we’re excited to hear from you.

Please note that Julia does not look after clients at TGLA and so this role is very much of a leader and manager rather than a literary agent. We are though keen to hear from experienced literary agents and open to discussion about what a dual role as Director and Agent could look like or what managing TGLA alongside your existing client responsibilities as part of your own agency (as Julia currently operates) could look like.

  • Leadership
    • Working with Nikesh to strategically lead the organisation day to day including where necessary: acting as spokesperson and advocate for our work; operating at a senior level in the industry to push for increased representation across publishing and the literature sector; making decisions about how the agency responds to any opportunities or issues that may arise; representing the agency at events; ensuring the delivery of the organisation’s strategic priorities
  • Management & Finance
    • Oversee line management and development of our small team
    • Take responsibility for delivery of our project plans including reporting to ACE
    • Ensure the day to day running of the agency is on track
    • Oversee budgets, targets and cash flow
  • Partnerships
    • Work with our partners including publishers, writer development agencies and other organisations to deliver our existing and planned projects
    • explore new opportunities for working with existing or new partners to enhance our work or create genuine opportunities for change
Skills & qualities
  • It is vital that everyone applying for this role has an understanding of the issues within publishing and society more generally that have lead to structural inequality and writers of colour, working class, disability and LGBTQ+ being under-represented as well as a track record of working to make change in inclusivity and representation happen
  • We expect applicants to have senior experience in either a commercial book business (agency, retailer, publisher etc) or in a publicly funded / social enterprise arts organisation but whichever side your experience comes from to have a genuine interest in developing your hands on knowledge of how the other side works. If your experience comes outside of either of these areas but you feel it can match perfectly with the job then we’d be interested to hear from you but would need to understand how your skills and experience would bring value to the role.
  • A passion for books, their role in society and the business of how they get made is vital.

Location: We are headquartered in Bristol but our team is split between the SW and London and currently all are homeworking, which we anticipate continuing for the time being, with occasional meetings and contact days. It would therefore be useful for this candidate to be based somewhere with a reasonable travelling time to Bristol or London.

Hours: This is a flexible part-time position and we are open to discussing various ways of working with the right candidate. At the moment Julia does 2-3 days per week spread out across the week with the ability to flex her time when required, but it would be possible for a candidate to work more rigid hours. Depending on the candidate’s experience, other commitments and ability to deliver the core responsibilities it would also be possible to discuss more or less hours.

Salary: we are very open to considering candidates with a broad range of experience from emerging leaders to those with a decade or more in senior positions, therefore depending on experience we anticipate a base salary of £55,000 pro rata but are happy to discuss a higher salary for a more experienced candidate.

Term: initially 6 months from early/mid November, though there may be the possibility of this extending.

Inclusivity is at the heart of our organisation and we are as committed to increasing representation in the sector workforce as we are in the writers we champion. We are therefore particularly interested in receiving applications from anyone who identifies in any of the under-represented groups we represent.

How to apply

Applications should be addressed to Julia and emailed to with ‘Director – Maternity cover’ as the subject line and include your CV and a covering letter. Please also include details of your salary expectations and fill in this monitoring form.

Julia is also very happy to receive initial enquiries from candidates, particularly if you are enthusiastic about the role but unsure if your experience would fit or want to discuss any aspect of it in more detail. All enquiries will be treated in the utmost confidence. Please email directly.

Deadline: Wednesday 22 September