Byte Connects: Suad Aldarra (author) & Doug Young (Literary Agent at Pew Literary)

Posted by Stella Calvert-Smith on 7 June 2021, in Byte Connects, Member news, News

Byte the Book loves bringing people from all areas of the publishing world together so that they can learn from each other and collaborate, and we want to highlight some wonderful collaborations that have come about via Byte The Book.

Here's storyteller Suad Aldarra talking about meeting Literary Agent Doug Young at a Byte the Book Agent Tables event, and how this lead to the imminent publication of her debut novel I Don't Want to Talk About Home, with Doubleday Ireland.

If you've found some great collaborators through Byte The Book and are keen to share your stories in this series please send us an email to info@bytethebook.com.

How did you get to Agent Tables?

A random Tweet appeared on my feed offering a free ticket to Agent Tables, preferably to a writer of colour. I sent an email and luckily I was the first one.
 
Who did you meet at our event and what happened?
I had 10 minutes to meet two agents who have already read my book proposal. The first agent gave me tons of edits and things to reconsider in my writing style.
When the next 10 minutes started with the second agent, I was prepared for another round of rapid criticism but the first thing the agent said was: "I love your book, what's your next step?"
The discussion went on about what he liked about my book and we agreed to carry on the conversation in another meeting. I emailed Justine, she connected us, and later, I had a long discussion with Doug Young from PEW literary who offered me representation.
If I learnt anything from that day it is how much the publishing world depends on personal taste. 
 
What has happened to your book since Agent Tables?

I worked with my agent on polishing the book proposal and three months later, we started the submission process. My book went into a 3-way auction and was acquired by Doubleday (Penguin Random House). It's going to be published in Spring 2022 and I still can't believe it.

 

If you would like to take part in one of our upcoming Agent Tables events, tickets are still available for September, November, & January. Be quick as this is a very popular event and tickets sell out fast. 

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Suad Aldarra is a Syrian storyteller and a data scientist based in Dublin, Ireland. She was long-listed as part of the Penguin Random House WriteNow 2020 programme, which supports under-represented writers in the UK and Ireland.Suad was the PENx Common Currency Writer in Residence at the 2021 Cúirt International Festival of Literature, in partnership with Cúirt, English PEN and Irish PEN. Her memoir, I Don't Want To Talk About Home, which discusses themes of home and identity is forthcoming from Doubleday Ireland in Spring 2022.

 

Doug Young has worked in the book industry for over three decades, latterly as a publishing director at Penguin Random House, where he worked for 17 years. He joined PEW in 2019 and is interested in hearing from writers with a story to tell, mainly but not exclusively in the form of non-fiction, and people who write in a distinctive voice or from a fresh perspective. His range of interests is broad – including history, popular science and politics, as well as memoir and the occasional off-the-wall novel.

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