Posts Tagged ‘Vulpes Libris’

A light has gone out. Goodbye, Carole Blake.

Tuesday, November 8th, 2016

For those not in the know, Carole was one of London’s fiercest literary agents. She wasn’t my agent (I never dared submit to her) but I met her quite a few times at RNA parties and the London Book Fair, where you would have a conversation with Carole that would take half an hour with most people but under five minutes with her, such was her speed of living. Sadly, this speed of living ultimately translated and she passed away very suddenly, and shockingly, on 26th October.

Finding a literary agent to represent your work is like looking for an elusive eyebrow hair in a haystack. You know what they look like, they’re terribly familiar, and yet you can never quite find one. Any author will be able to describe the work, the dedication, the intense commitment and frustration that go along with trying to get published. Many will eventually follow the diversion signs and trundle off into self-publishing, but for those that choose to battle on in traditional publishing – the fight is real. It’s hours and hours of your life. It’s hundreds upon hundreds of words. It’s your creativity, poured out and shaped on a page. And yet when you submit this precious work to a literary agent for their appraisal, and hopefully representation, it’s all too common to never hear back. We can’t blame the agents, we really can’t. They are all perpetually snowed under. The writing world has burst at its seams and literary agents are the first bastion of support. Nonetheless, it’s very demoralising to never hear a peep about your word-baby.

Carole Blake, co-founder of the Blake Friedmann Literary Agency, was in quite a different class to other agents. She was always interested and devastatingly honest about whatever it was you were discussing. I remember a conversation about ensuring that submissions are properly proof read before they’re sent off, “I love reading the manuscripts,” she told me, “but one wrong spelling and that’s it.” One wrong spelling?! That’s standards for you.

Though I didn’t know Carole, like many others I followed sections of her life through her effervescent use of social media and especially Twitter. In one day you could get photographs of her latest book purchases, what she was eating for lunch and details about her shoe and perfume collections. There wasn’t much that this lady didn’t bring to the table.

And that is why she will be so sorely missed by family, friends, clients and her Twitter followers. Carole had such a genuine enthusiasm for, and engagement with, life that it’s very hard to believe she won’t be ferociously representing her chosen authors any more, or posting thirty tweets a day.

I can’t claim more than a passing acquaintance with this great lady, but those over at Vulpes Libris can:


Good night Carole, and God bless.