About Zeno

Zeno Agency Ltd is a London-based literary agency specialising in Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror. We are also expanding into other genres, such as crime and thrillers, women’s fiction and young adult fiction. Authors seeking representation should refer to our submission guidelines. We represent a top-drawer range of authors, both as primary agent and in association with a number of well-known agencies abroad. Our list comprises major brand-names, high profile award winners, talented debut authors and prestigious literary estates.

Founded in 2008, Zeno was originally a partnership between literary agent John Parker and freelance literary consultant and genre critic, John Berlyne. John Parker left in 2012 and the company is now solely run by John Berlyne. 2016 saw two junior agents join the company, Louise Buckley and Franca Bernatavicius.  Zeno is a member of the Association of Author’s Agents and an affiliate member of SFWA.

For Rights and Permissions, please refer to the individual client pages or contact us directly through the usual channels.

the team

  • John Berlyne

    John is currently CLOSED for submissions.

    Essentially I’m a sucker for a good old plot-driven narrative. To break this down further, I like books in which things happen to people (or monsters, or aliens or whatever) – in which a character is faced with a problem and in which the meat of the novel is about them solving that problem. For me, good fiction is about forward momentum and the plot is the engine that should drive a story onwards. There are infinite variations and riffs on this classic approach and seeing them reinvented time and again is one of the great pleasures of reading.

    I’ll happily consider all kinds of fantasy and SF – but anodyne Tolkien derivatives will be given short shrift and I can spot ‘em a mile off!  I like cool monsters and heavy magic and I like books in which magic seeps into contemporary life. Neil Gaiman does this kind of thing beautifully but please don’t send me Gaiman derivatives either – be inspired by brilliant writers, but don’t try to replicate their work.

    I’ll read Urban Fantasy, but note that I’m not the ideal target demographic for this kind of stuff so I’m only looking for the highest quality material. Given the level of competition, anything less than exceptional will be bounced back to you. I’ll gladly read YA stuff – if you can ignite my sense of wonder, lost so long ago, buried beneath a black mountain of cynicism, then I’ll get the drinks in! And I’ll read space opera, horror, and thrillers and crime and historical fiction and combinations of all of the above – surprise me! And if it helps you further to target your submission, don’t send me political treatise disguised as fiction, or anything too whimsical or stuff that purports to be funny but isn’t. And read our submission guidelines!

  • Franca Bernatavicius

    Franca is CLOSED for submissions.

    I am looking for both adult and children’s fiction from ages 8 upwards.

    For an adult readership I am looking for high fantasy, literary fiction and magical realism. I would like to read fantasy that builds a realistic other-world without being overly complicated, (think Rothfuss, Faber, Abercrombie), novels that create a sense of dreaming whilst awake, (Murakami, Carter, Ishiguro), equally important is depth; novels that reveal many layers of narrative and keep me completely gripped, (Liza Klausmann’s VILLA AMERICA, Neal Stephenson’s CRYPTONOMICON, Brian Catling’s THE VORRH, Eleanor Catton’s THE LUMINARIES).

    I would love to find some fantastic children’s fiction of any genre, although I do have a particular soft spot for fun romance, psychological thrillers and dystopia.

    I am explicitly not looking for humorous science fiction, romance or straight thrillers/police procedural novels for adults.

  • Louise Buckley

    Louise is currently on Maternity Leave.

    Before joining Zeno Agency, I spent six years working as an editor for Pan Macmillan and Dorling Kindersley publishers.

    As an agent, I have broad taste. In fiction, I look for stories with compelling protagonists, and for me that means protagonists whowant something – if your character doesn’t know what they want, then I – and the reader – will lose interest immediately. I also love novels that pose important questions, that ask ‘what if’ in a bold and imaginative way. I enjoy reading all kinds of genres, from action-packed thrillers and cosy crime novels, to high-concept SF or emotionally powerful YA. I love reading books that transport me to exotic locations and stories that tug on my heartstrings (bonus points if you make me cry). I also really enjoy reading sumptuous, epic historical fiction and love anything with a hint of magic. I’m not looking for any children’s or picture books, poetry or non-fiction.