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Carole Blake Open Doors Project

Blogged by Jane Chanaa on December 5, 2016.

The Carole Blake Open Doors Project is now accepting applicants for 2017. This is a programme specifically aimed at encouraging candidates from a diverse range of backgrounds to enter the publishing industry.

Carole Blake was born in south London, and grew up in a house which did not have many books. When she left school at the age of sixteen with hopes of becoming a librarian, she found a job as secretary at George Rainbird Publishing. The experience kick-started her love of art, broadened her education, and introduced her to the classics. She moved to Michael Joseph in 1970, becoming the publisher’s first Rights Manager, and in 1975 joined Sphere Publishing to run their rights, contracts and publicity teams. After founding her own literary agency with some of the authors she’d come to know and love, Carole merged agencies with Julian Friedmann in 1982 to create the Blake Friedmann Agency.

The Carole Blake Open Doors Project will offer at least six days of work shadowing to a selected applicant over a two-week period, including funding for travel and up to eight nights’ accommodation in London. The programme, which will run twice a year, will include close mentorship with Blake Friedmann’s book agents, the opportunity to attend selected meetings with editors and clients, and the chance to be involved in every aspect of day-to-day life as an agent.

Candidate specification

  • Bright and enthusiastic with a can-do approach
  • A keen reader with a good knowledge of contemporary English literature
  • Eager to learn about the process behind getting a book published
  • Friendly and willing to get involved in a close and sociable team dynamic
  • Hard-working, organised, with an eye for detail

Diversity criteria

The programme will be looking solely at applicants from backgrounds not well represented in publishing including those who have not been to college or university (like Carole), those not from high income families, those from BAME backgrounds, and those who live outside the London metropolitan area.

How to apply

To apply, please email Hattie Grünewald at – using the subject line ‘Carole Blake Open Doors Project Application’ with the following:

  • A covering letter of up to 300-500 words outlining how you meet the candidate specification and diversity guidelines
  • 250-500 words on why you want to work in the publishing industry
  • A reader’s report of up to 750 words on a book you have read recently, briefly summarising the plot and explaining what you believe to be its strengths and weaknesses. These could include, but are not limited to: plot, chronology, pacing, voice, structure, characterisation, writing quality and style. They would also like to see how you feel this book would fit into the market, what you think its key selling points might be, who might want to read it and any similar books on the market you think are comparable.

NB: Please do not include a CV; these will not be considered as part of the application process.

The closing date for the submission of applications is 23:59 on 31 December 2016.