Welcome to my website. I’m an Australian literary agent, editor, freelance writer, and the author of The Young Widow’s Book of Home Improvement, a memoir. Sydney-born, I currently live in Brooklyn, New York.
I’m looking for great manuscripts from new Australian authors that I can sell to publishers in Australia and around the world. My clients value my strong editorial background, as I know what constitutes a manuscript of publishable quality. I often work with my clients on a final revision to help them fulfill the potential of their manuscripts. Here is my client list and the books I have agented.
I also have a lot of experience in philanthropy and am a graduate of New York University’s Heyman Center for Philanthropy & Fundraising. I’ve worked mostly with arts-related non-profit organizations and helping individuals and groups with grant writing and research. I’m proud to be assisting the Indigenous Literacy Foundation on an ongoing basis.
A lifetime ago I completed a PhD in English Literature at the University of Sydney, but soon realised I did not want to be an academic. Moving into publishing, I worked as the in-house editor of the Picador list (fiction and nonfiction) at Pan Macmillan Australia, one of Australia’s largest trade publishers. Working with authors and learning the publishing business stood me in great stead when I became an independent editor and an author myself. Here’s my LinkedIn profile.
I’m wrestling with my own second book, so I understand the joys and frustrations of the writing process. I also write occasional essays and reviews, some of which you can find on this site.
“Virginia’s memoir mentoring was vital to the ultimate publication of my work. Her insights were helpful at every stage of the process – from big-picture thinking on narrative structure and focus, through to line-by-line editorial feedback at final draft. She is an expert editorial ‘curator’ and a godsend for a first-time author.” –Fiona Higgins, author, The Mothers’ Group (2012) and Love in the Age of Drought (2009)
As part of my lifelong love for books and culture, I have always been passionate about working with arts-related not-for-profit organizations. I grew up helping my father’s fundraising efforts for his local Rotary Club, and I guess that rubbed off on me. I am a Past President of Sydney PEN (International PEN Center) and a former Vice President of the Sydney Improvised Music Association.
Which leads to my other great passion: jazz music. I loved improvising at the piano when I was a young piano student and was supposed to be practising my scales. There’s something about its playfulness within the constraints of the form that make it the most like writing for me.
If you’ve read this far, thank you! Please leave me a comment as I’d love to hear from you.