Milly Reilly

An avid reader, I’m drawn to character-driven novels that are sensitive to the details of day to day life and relationship dynamics, be they familial, romantic or friendships (especially the latter). Chimamanda Adichie and Zadie Smith are my heroes. I also enjoy comedy writing and non-fiction, and I have a particular interest in narrative non-fiction and memoir. If there’s social commentary, heart and humour involved, then so much the better.

I began working as Jo’s assistant last year, prior to which I was at First Story, a charity that sets up creative-writing programmes in schools serving low-income communities. I am a University of York English graduate, and I have a Master’s in Contemporary Literature, Culture and Theory from King’s College London. I’m known to get fixated on things, and if it’s not the book I’m reading or interviews with its author, then I’m probably looking for comedians I find as funny as Jemaine Clement and Brett Mackenzie.

Jo Unwin

Jo Unwin


As a child my head was always in a book, but as a teenager I wanted to be an actress, and at university I started to write things for myself to perform.  Gradually I found myself straddling two careers:  I was acting a bit, and writing a bit.  I wrote for TV (Byker Grove, My Parents are Aliens) and acted in theatre, commercials (remember ‘We Want to be Together‘ ?) and TV (mostly comedy: Fry and Laurie, Lee and Herring,  a series of Casualty).

But then one day I had the blinding insight that what I really loved was talking about, and being around, books.  So I became a scout for Aardman Features, looking to option books that could form the basis of animated feature films, and I went to work at a bookshop.  The wonderful woman who ran it suggested I’d make a good agent, and I was lucky enough to meet legendary agent Patrick Walsh soon after the idea had started to take root.

I joined Conville and Walsh Literary Agency in 2008 and took to being a Literary Agent like a duck to water.  I was in a shortlist of three for the Bookseller Industry Awards Literary Agent of the Year in 2010, and was picked out as one of the Bookseller’s Rising Stars in 2011.

I’ve now set up JULA ltd, based at Somerset House.  I never like to define what I’m looking for, as you just don’t know what’s round the corner. Suffice to say I don’t represent poetry or screenplays (unless written by my established clients). I represent authors of literary fiction, commercial women’s fiction, Young Adult fiction and fiction for children aged 9+ but not younger (picture books again only if written by established clients).  I also represent comic writing and narrative non-fiction.



Photo: Jonathan Ring