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, the company is solely run by John Berlyne. 2016 saw Louise Buckley join the company and she is currently an Associate Agent. 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.
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!+
Louise is currently OPEN for Submissions.
I have been an agent since 2016, but prior to this I was an editor at Pan Macmillan and Dorling Kindersley. I am actively building my list of authors and read across most genres, but I am particularly keen to see submissions in the following areas:
Women’s fiction – I enjoy anything that asks important questions, tugs on my heartstrings or transports me to exotic locations. I am notlooking for erotica or overly sentimental romance.
Crime fiction – I love a good whodunnit or even a whydunnit. I am especially keen to see well-written crime fiction with a strong sense of place, for example something like The Dry by Jane Harper.
Thrillers and psychological suspense (though I am less keen on the male-oriented action adventure stories). Recently enjoyed reads in this category include Sometimes I Lie by Alice Feeney and Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough.
Literary fiction – I like books that pose bold questions and big themes yet have characters you care about. I also love authors that question what it means to be human.
Historical fiction – I love stories that focus on a little-known but fascinating person’s life, e.g. something like Burial Rites by Hannah Kent. My favourite periods of history represented in fiction are the Tudor/Elizabethan periods, the Victorian period and the first half of the Twentieth Century.
Science fiction – particularly dystopian fiction/anything with time-travel/high-concept twists/SF in a real-world setting. Recently enjoyed SF reads include The Giver by Lois Lowry, Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel and Dark Matter by Blake Crouch.
Fantasy – I enjoy fantasy in a real-world setting and books that have a hint of magic. For example, books like The Nightcircus by Erin Morgenstern or The Watchmaker of Filigree Street by Natasha Pulley. I also enjoy reading YA fantasy authors such as Sarah J. Maas.
I am also curating a small, bespoke non-fiction list. I am particularly keen to see authors writing in the following areas: cookery and food; health & lifestyle; popular history – particularly social history; popular psychology and sociology; biography/memoir; nature writing; true crime; parenthood.+