Lunch with a top literary agent
He’s one of London’s leading literary agents – the Bookseller 2010 Literary Agent of the Year, no less. He’s also the Professor of Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University and literary consultant for the Sunday Times Oxford University Literary Festival.
I’m talking about the debonair, waistcoat-wearing, Luigi Bonomi of Luigi Bonomi Associates, who represents more top talent than any other agent would believe was fair. Yet, despite this, what excites him the most – according to press interviews – is discovering new talent.
Yes, you read that right: Discovering new talent (stop me squealing now!).
I, of course, as a struggling writer with scores of brilliant novels inside me, was desperate to meet him. He would, I knew, love my work, opening the door to multiple publishing deals, film rights and a bona fide career as an author.
And so we had lunch together. He wore a charcoal grey suit with a purple shirt peeking out from underneath that cheeky waistcoat. I wore dark jeans (struggling-author look) with a cream silk shirt, heels, discrete diamonds and an understated Tod’s bag (okay, struggling-author-from-Dubai look).
The lunch took place at Bistro Madeleine at the InterCont Dubai Festival City, where he was staying for the Emirates Airline Festival of Literature. He ordered a salad, a bottle of sparkling water. I ordered a goat’s cheese salad, two glasses of white wine. He was quiet, reflective. I didn’t stop talking.
It was an absolutely divine experience that could have been improved in just one way: If only we’d sat at the same table and actually had a conversation with each other, it would have been perfect. But I didn’t dare disturb his peaceful lunch.
Maybe next year.
Once I’ve plucked up the courage to pitch a book to him, of course.