Posted by Polly What an exciting day 21.05.18* is for me!  Today, I start representing North American authors and selling to publishers there too. We have terrific writers and editors and publishing houses in the UK and Ireland and these have always been my focus and love . . . but it is amazing to […]

The Greenhouse Funny Prize 2013

We’ve just opened the doors on the Funny Prize for 2013. Last year was so much fun, and we found such a star in Pip Jones and her young series SQUISHY McFLUFF (pictured celebrating her deal with Julia), that this year we’re running it again, and opening it up to the US and Canada. It’s […]

Peep around the Greenhouse door

A belated welcome to 2013 in the Greenhouse. We’re in rip-roaring form over here in our cosy glass house. The sun’s warm on the panes, the soil is fertile, the scent of growing plants is rich in the air (oh, I love a good metaphor) . . . and we hope some of you will […]


Last night I went out for cheeseburgers with Pip Jones. We were celebrating. Earlier this year I set up the Greenhouse Funny Prize in the UK and Ireland, a competition to find new talent in children’s writing. At Greenhouse we love all sorts of writing for children. We love edgy, biting YA fiction. We love […]


Julia here and I’ve been working hard on the Greenhouse UK Funny Prize. We’re loving the response. Do keep spreading the word on your forums and writing groups. It’s been so helpful and shown us that there is a lot of goodwill towards this fighty, little/big Greenhouse. I’d like to introduce you to Leah Thaxton, […]


Julia here, and I’m excited about something. The UK side of the Greenhouse is running a prize in conjunction with this year’s Writer’s Workshop Festival of Writing. It will be called the Greenhouse Funny Prize. At Greenhouse we love all sorts of writing for children. We love edgy, wincingly close-to-the-bone YA fiction, we love thrilling, […]

The story of August (Chapter 1)

If, as T.S. Eliot says, ‘April is the cruelest month’, what does that make August? The month when you’re incredibly busy but think you shouldn’t be because it’s supposed to be vacation time? (In fact, as I write, Julia is away in a Nordic country doing something unusual involving fish – all in the name […]


It has been a silent time in blog-land. Sorry about that, but I’ve always taken the view that blogging/social networking has to take second place to the obligations of client representation. How can one justify musing and pontificating in cyberspace when a client’s waiting for editorial notes or progress on their deal? Doesn’t seem right […]


EXTRAORDINARY is a big word today. Everyone wants to be it. Whether that means unicycling while doing the splits on America’s Got Talent, or walking alone around the world, or being the very first person to ride a rhinoceros up the DC Beltway – many of us will do what it takes to be different. […]

Just the two of us

It’s summer time, and the livin’ is easy. Well, sort of. Actually, Julia and I are very hard at work, with record numbers of submissions, lots of interesting projects circling, and, as you know, some fine deals under our belts in the last few weeks. This is a business that never sleeps! But just for […]

The short and the mainly sweet

Weekly inspirational blog post: Not written. Reason: Insanely busy. See below. So this photo: Irrelevant, but ain’t it cool! Submissions: Cascading. More so than ever before. Will we always be open to general submissions? Yes in UK. Don’t know about USA – we’re hanging in there for now. Narrowly. What would make that easier: a) […]

What we saw and what we did

So here it is. The last post before Christmas, and the last of 2009. And here’s a photo taken just before the great Greenhouse UK lunch, which rounded off the year in London. (Bookended by Sarah and Julia, see if you can spot the authors in the middle.) With Julia nestled in her remote Undisclosed […]

It came upon a midnight clear

Which is the title of one of my favourite Christmas carols, because it perfectly expresses the mysterious, ethereal beauty of falling snow. And fall it did, yesterday. Snow isn’t easy if you’re a Dachsund, so Lucy and The Wee Man [see The view from under the desk] are disappearing up to their axles every time […]

The view from under the desk

I know you all like to be kept up to date with exciting new developments in the Greenhouse. And what could be more thrilling than to tell you that we have a new intern at the agency! He arrived a few weeks ago and here’s one of the very first shots of him hard at […]

Sarah goes to Hollywood

My first West Coast visit, and I’m with Randy Newman – ‘I love LA!’ I headed out west with all the excitement of an early pioneer – in search of film agents, movie makers, blue skies, beautiful people, and all the star-studded cast of SCBWI’s massive summer conference. And was I disappointed? No! Fold back […]

Some things that I know for sure

1 Even a cod can be sacred I must admit that I wouldn’t have been convinced had I not gone to Boston for the first time last weekend and seen the Sacred Cod with my own eyes. For those who don’t know, the Cod hangs in splendour in the Massachusetts state house—and is now, for […]

Shooting for the moon

Last Saturday night I sat outside a diner on New York’s 7th Avenue, eating cheesecake and smiling up at the moon. It has been one of the best weeks in the short history of the Greenhouse – packed with progress, excitement, and affirmation that we’re doing some things right and are truly on our way. […]

Living La Vida Loca

‘I enjoy reading your blog because it never lacks adventure,’ said someone who wrote to me recently. Adventure? I thought. Moi? But over this past week I’ve been thinking about it – and perhaps she’s right! Starting an agency, from scratch, in another country, has been the most extreme, exciting, challenging, back-against-the-wall thing I’ve ever […]

Feeling the love

Just back from a gorgeous weekend in the Shenandoah, where the sun shone, the flowers were brilliantly lovely, and I clumped around in shorts and hiking boots taking endless photographs in my quest to master light meters and variable exposures. Come anywhere near me and I’ll bore you to death with shutter speeds, F-stops and […]

The view from my desk

I quite often read about the mystery of literary agents. That to many aspiring writers, agents appear to inhabit some arcane universe, entered only by secret handshakes, coded and cryptic messages, insider knowledge. And that their decisions are unfathomable and capricious, if not downright cruel. A bit like the election of a Pope by the […]

The old world and the new

It’s a good thing President Obama married Michelle when he did, because otherwise one of my two sons would have whisked her away. Or possibly both. Never mind that they are only 22 (yes, both of them) and spend most of their time in London; age and distance are no object when it comes to […]

All go at the Greenhouse

What do you get when you take one very busy trip to London (including a talk to about 50 SCBWI members on ‘writing the breakout novel’), add an upcoming Bologna book fair (complete with schedules to fix and decisions to be made on work to be pitched), throw in a large pinch of eye problems […]

Giving the mundane its beautiful due

Not my words (oh, that I might be so eloquent) but those of John Updike, whose death was announced this week. But what a wonderful phrase to describe the high calling of writers, whose job it is to memorialize and bring to luminous signficance the small everyday worlds that we all inhabit. And what a […]

The last post

Here it is – my last post of 2008. And no doubt, like me, you’re running around doing all those last-minute jobs that have to be done before the holidays can properly begin. Picking the final gifts, grappling with many square feet of wrapping paper, rolling out the dough for the Christmas cookies or the […]

The illustrated life

The first thing I should say is . . . Look! Sarah’s blog has finally moved into the twentieth-first century; my web-meister, Rowan, has tinkered with the mechanics in the engine-room to allow photos to be inserted. It’s taken a while and cost thousands of lives, but I’m very excited to be able to reveal […]

Welcome to the future – and a lovely new agent

Yes, it’s Monday – and I can finally reveal my exciting news. The Greenhouse is growing! A press release went out today to both US and UK trade press, announcing that I’ve appointed Julia Churchill as a new Greenhouse agent, responsible for helping to grow our British stable of authors. Oh, and I’m leaving for […]

Very short, but hopefully quite intriguing

I was meant to write you a nice long and meaty piece today – but have run out of time, caught between ‘the rock’ of a contract’s minute detail and ‘the hard place’ of a Thanksgiving dessert waiting to be created, its constituent parts sitting neglected in bags out in the garage. So I shall […]

Capital in so many ways

There are many great things about living around Washington DC. There are the majestic views up the Mall from the Washington Monument to the Capitol. There are the inspiring words engraved on the walls of the Jefferson Monument, and the spring-time cherry blossoms. There’s the excellent kayaking on the Potomac – and the moment when […]

That was the week that was

What can I say about this week? That it was busy? That I read a lot of manuscripts? That I’m in the middle of making a deal? That I didn’t get as much done as I should have got done? That squirrels have eaten so much of our carved Mr Pumpkin on the front step […]

Return of the pumpkins

You must have been wondering where I’d got to. Did I vanish in a puff of smoke? Or fall into a pile of submissions never to be seen again? Well, the latter is always very possible (except they’re all electronic now), but the truth is – I’m just emerging from probably the busiest few weeks […]

Two nations divided by . . .

People quite often marvel at the unmitigated glamour of my life. Homes in both the USA and UK? Flying across the Atlantic? Nipping around New York and London in pursuit of the literary life? Well, I hardly like to complain, but wish you could see me now: clad in a ratty pair of track-pants and […]

100,000 and counting

This weekend has seen a milestone that I’ve been watching approach for some while. We finally made it on Friday night – 100,000 page hits on the Greenhouse website. Even allowing for the fact that 10,000 of those are probably my own (well, I LIKE looking at the site. I’m proud, OK?), that does suggest […]

A flood and a deal

As I write this, the Greenhouse is about to float away on the monsoon known as Tropical Storm Hanna. There are floods on the roads, waterfalls in the yards, and a Hound that smells so bad from his brief outing in the rain that he will thenceforth be known as Stinker (a name he richly […]

Last minute excitements

I don’t know why, but deals always seem to come to fruition just as I’m about to go off travelling. Take today, for example. I’m leaving for vacation tomorrow evening (back August 26) and have done virtually nothing to get ready. The suitcase is still in the basement, the socks are still in the dryer, […]

Vermont – and a picture of beauty (or maybe not)

I’ve a riddle for you. Where in the world have I just been? Clues: My feet blew up with scabrous mosquito bites. My hair turned into steel wool, fuzzed into an unappealing mass by alternating drizzle and humidity. And I saw more important people wearing nothing but towels than is in any way recommended. Can […]

Back at my American desk (though head elsewhere)

It’s good to be back in Virginia, though my head is spinning in orbit somewhere over the Atlantic. I’m sure it will land safely back on my shoulders tomorrow once the old body clock has reconnected. It’s also good to be safely manacled and shackled to the Greenhouse desk again. Or rather the virtual desk, […]

London calling

Hello to you all from a warm and sunny London where I’ve been tearing around like a bit of a maniac, trying to do too many things in too short a time. What do you mean, what’s new? OK, OK, I agree this is a somewhat habitual state of affairs, but I subscribe to my […]

From Hollins to London

Back at 1.30am this morning from Hollins University down in Roanoke, where I gave a talk last night to the grad students (and some faculty members) on the MFA children’s writing course. My topic: From Both Sides of the Pond: The Greenhouse – a Transatlantic Literary Agency. 45 minutes (plus questions later) of me holding […]

That was the week that was!

I’m sorry it’s been a little silent lately and that my customary weekend post didn’t materialize. It’s been a crazy couple of weeks here in the hotseat – plus, I was keeping my powder dry, all ready to burst out and surprise you with an exciting edition today! Tally ho! Last week was a textbook […]

A scary kind of assessment

Does anyone know if she’s any good? Why does she have that funny commission structure? How long does she take to reply? What’s her track record in the USA? Does she HAVE any track record in the USA???? Yes, the literary blogosphere is a scary place to find yourself – especially when you’re the one […]

Raise a glass of champagne!

Never make a promise you can’t keep or it’ll come back and bite you. That’s what I’ve learnt, having declaimed to a London colleague a couple of weeks ago that ‘When I sell THE BOY WHO FELL DOWN EXIT 43 I shall dance naked in the moonlight in the back yard, singing The Star Spangled […]

LIBF to Virginia

Yes, it’s been LIBF this week. For those new to the international trade circuit, that’s the London International Book Fair – a seething hurly-burly of an event at Earls Court that brings together all the publishing/selling community, including a fair number of Americans who make the trek over (no doubt to wonder where their dollars […]

Home from Bologna

Here’s a travel recipe to have your head flying off somewhere in space: sleep for 4 hours (waking in panic at intervals, sure you’ve missed the plane), get up at 5.45am, fly from Bologna to Munich, then from Munich to Washington DC – seated next to a three-month-old baby, and attended by two evil stewardesses […]

Easter bits and pieces

Can I actually cope with any more triumphs? Well yes, I can, though I also have a wish right now to lie down in a sunlit field and just watch the clouds float by. You know that feeling?This morning I achieved my final challenge to being a true Virginia resident: YESSSSS, I passed my driving […]

Great news from the Greenhouse!

I’m snatching a moment from a hectic day, just to reassure you that I haven’t gone AWOL. In fact, the truth couldn’t be further from that. This past week has been the most exciting since launch of the Greenhouse – because what I can now proudly announce to you is . . . the agency’s […]

A Green Letter Day

This has been a week to remember. But first I have to tell you an amazing thing: TODAY I GOT MY GREEN CARD.Yes, you read that right. After a journey of 13 months, during which I have been police-checked, finger-printed, vision-tested, X-rayed (twice, because first time it looked like there was a lump on my […]

My bags are packed, I’m ready to go . . .

Blogging is an extraordinary thing. Now the Greenhouse is ‘out there’ and submissions are pouring in (about 40 today and counting; do I laugh? do I have a nervous breakdown?), I’m starting to get the sense of an embryonic GH community developing. It’s an amazing feeling – so many people I’ve never met opening the […]

SCBWI: From New York to London

Hi there, y’all, from a cold and bleak London, where the sky today hung heavy as white lead. It’s been a crazy few days – two cities, two flights, but one common thread: SCBWI (for anyone who doesn’t know, this stands for the Society of Children’s Books Writers and Illustrators). New York was a hectic […]

Bologna on the horizon

It’s a beautiful day here in lovely Virginia and the sun is pouring through the white plantation shutters of the Greenhouse. The floor is occupied not only by piles of papers and manuscripts, plus accoutrements of my smart new Blackberry, but also by the resident Greenhouse dog – an elderly, snoring Golden Retriever named Hogan, […]

Hello from the Greenhouse!

Hi there! Welcome to the brand-new site of the Greenhouse – and to my blog. On the site’s pages you can read all about the agency and what we’re aiming to do over the coming months and years. By being in on it from the start, you can follow what has been and still is […]