Founder of the Writing Room
I’ve worked for over twenty years as an editor and agent, working with many prize-winning writers.
At the end of 2013, I joined the youthful publishing house Head of Zeus in London as Editor at Large, with a brief to find new literary writers to join their successful list of commercial and wide-ranging fiction and non fiction. I'm particularly pleased as this move brings me back to the world of editing and publishing at an exciting moment for writers.
I began my publishing career at Heinemann, spending time at Secker & Warburg and then Jonathan Cape before helping to found the Orion Publishing Group.
At Orion I brought writers such as Vikram Seth, Ben Okri, Colum McCann, Michael Collins, Philippe Claudel and Charles Palliser to the list.
I've been lucky enough to work with many exceptional writers, including Alasdair Gray, Harold Brodkey, Joanna Briscoe, Norman Lewis, Jim Crace, Terence Stamp, Diana Souhami, Alan Spence, Andrew Greig, Jostein Gaarder, Neil Belton and many more.
From 2006 to 2013 I ran my own literary agency, The McKernan Agency, in Edinburgh working with writers like Alan Taylor, Michael Fry, Professor Michael Schmidt, Michael Collins, Jean McNeil, Aly Monroe, Belinda Seaward and Carlos Alba.
I've been a guest lecturer at Napier University in Edinburgh, teaching the Creating a Fiction List module. I am a frequent speaker at writers’ conferences throughout the UK and Ireland, often speaking on my favourite subject – How to Get Published.
I’m a writer myself, with a book on Jane Austen in print and a biography under contract (though for so many years that I hope the publisher may have forgotten), so I understand the particular difficulties of the writer from personal experience as well as in theory.