Call-out: Applications are open for 1-2-1 feedback for fiction writers from YMU Literary Agency


This autumn, Spread the Word is thrilled to partner with YMU Literary Agency for our latest 1-2-1 feedback opportunity for fiction writers – offering the chance to have an extract from your novel read and given feedback by a literary agent.

From Tuesday 21 November, we’ll be accepting submissions of fiction for a maximum of 10 short feedback sessions from agents at YMU Literary Agency. Global MD Amanda Harris and agents Millie Lean and Anna Dixon are available for 2 sessions each, and Elise Middleton is available for 4 sessions.

The YMU Literary team are offering to provide short feedback sessions by phone or video call on up to 10 submissions from writers from underrepresented backgrounds based in the UK.

Elise is looking for: upmarket and literary fiction. She’d love to see inventive, character-led novels with a vivid sense of place, beautifully crafted with confidence and purpose, and books that are contemporary in their concerns. Under the umbrella of literary fiction, Elise is also interested in genre fiction with a literary bent, particularly speculative or a literary thriller.

Amanda is looking for: book club and commercial fiction. Amanda is interested in compelling storytelling, strong characterisation, and books that help readers feel less alone in their emotions and experience. She likes to laugh too and admires books that capture the levity of everyday life.

Anna is looking for: SFF, horror and suspense. She loves fiction that is dark and twisty with emotive and surprising character building, realistic yet complex relationships, and narratives that are re-telling stories we think we know from new angles.

Millie is looking for: YA (no high fantasy and sci-fi), and historical, mystery and contemporary for adult’s fiction. She is looking for projects which feel like they could shape culture and are to-the-moment. Across adult and children’s fiction, she loves a new take on a well-trodden genre, equally strong plotting and character development, clever humour, and anything with a twist.

We define writers from backgrounds under-represented in publishing as those who:

  • From a lower socio-economic background as defined by the Civil Service Diversity and Inclusion guidance

  • Have experienced a lack of academic and/or vocational training opportunities – i.e. have not been able to study/train to their full potential due to low income, ill health, being a carer etc.

  • Are or have been a carer

  • Have experienced homelessness

  • Are a refugee

  • Are a single parent

  • Have a disability

  • Are a writer of colour*

  • Are a member of the LGBTQIA+ community.

The purpose of the feedback session is to receive advice and support on the documents you have submitted. At the discretion of the agents participating, it may lead to further discussion of your work or requests as per standard agenting processes.

How to apply  

Please note this opportunity is only open to unpublished and un-agented writers based in the UK. Apply via Submittable. Only one entry per applicant will be accepted.

The link to apply is here.

To apply, you will need to upload 3 documents:

  • A covering letter of 1-2 pages that includes: A little information about yourself and your motivations for your project, how you meet the criteria for this opportunity and a summary of your writing endeavours to date (e.g. Have you taken part in writing development opportunities? Have you mainly been writing on your own at home?)

  • A one-page synopsis

  • An extract from your project (3,000 words maximum)

If you are a disabled writer, there is the option to submit visual or audio submissions. Please get in touch (email address below) if you need any support with this.

The YMU Literary team will be giving feedback on the documents that you submit.


  • Submissions will open at midday on Tuesday 21 November 2023

  • The deadline for submissions is 10am on Monday 8 January 2024

  • Applicants will know the outcome of their submission by 4 March 2024 and successful applicants will receive their feedback before the end of April 2024.

If you have any queries about your application or this opportunity, please get in touch with [email protected]

About Elise Middleton

Elise joined YMU in 2020, having previously completed work experience at Dorling Kindersley, HarperCollins and Bloomsbury, and worked at Waterstones. She co-founded The Indie Insider, a newsletter dedicated to highlighting the work of independent publishers and bookstores. She is actively building a list of upmarket and literary fiction, and creative and narrative non-fiction.

About Millie Lean

Millie started her career at Bloomsbury, and then moved to Penguin Random House where she worked as an editor in the Puffin team. At Puffin, she acquired titles for middle grade and YA readers, and worked across projects with authors such as Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl and Greg James and Chris Smith.

Millie joined YMU in 2021 and works across fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She also offers 360 career management for a number of elite clients, including Francis Bourgeois, Jane Dunn and Jemma Solomon. She manages overall career strategy, across fields such as television, brand, events and IP.

About Anna Dixon

After some internships around the industry, Anna realised agenting was the job for her and started my publishing career at Abner Stein, selling UK & Commonwealth rights for their busy client list of US agencies. A couple of years later she moved over to WME, where she represented US clients for their UK business, helped edit fiction behind the scenes (Ann Leary, Kim Edwards, Aimee Phan, Evan Winter and Lev Grossman to name a few), learned the ropes of working with her own clients and building a list, and created talent led projects with roster clients from other areas of the business.

All of that experience paved the way for joining YMU in 2021, where she creates book projects with talent from all areas. Anna is also building a list of both clients looking to enter the publishing space from all areas of the entertainment industry, and brilliant authors who may not have a platform but have killer writing skills.

About Amanda Harris

Amanda joined YMU in 2019. Having worked in-house at Macmillan, Simon & Schuster and Hachette, she became a publisher launched two non-fiction imprints and published an eclectic list of high-profile, award-winning and #1 bestselling authors. As an editor and publisher, Amanda worked with stellar talent including Jackie Collins, His Majesty, King Charles, Sir Paul McCartney and Bryan Cranston.

Since joining YMU, Amanda has been shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year twice (2021 and 2023) and was named an industry Top 150 Influencer. She has agented over 25 Sunday Times bestsellers by Claudia Winkleman, Ant and Dec, Fearne Cotton, Noel Fitzpatrick, Stacey Solomon, Tom Daley, Gary Barlow, Jake Humphrey, Joe Swash, Jemma Solomon, and more. She also worked with Davina McCall on the Nibbies Overall Book of the Year, Menopausing.

*Writers of colour: Black, Asian and Global Majority ethnicities.

Published: 21 November 2023