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Elise Middleton

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Elise Middleton joined YMU in 2020, having previously completed work experience at Dorling Kindersley, HarperCollins and Bloomsbury and worked as a Waterstones bookseller. She co-founded The Indie Insider, a newsletter dedicated to highlighting the work of independent publishers and bookstores. She is a mentor for Black Girl Writers and is actively building a list of upmarket and literary fiction, and creative and narrative non-fiction.

What I’m looking for

In fiction, I’m looking for inventive, character-led novels with a vivid sense of place, beautifully crafted with confidence and purpose, and I’d love to see books that are contemporary in their concerns. I’m invigorated by books with a voice that feels fresh or surprising, and relationships you feel invested in. I also enjoy a narrative with a speculative edge, short story collections, and translated fiction. In non-fiction, I’m interested in writers who excavate the personal to engage with the structures and conceits by which we live our lives. I’d be keen to see books that straddle the line of accessibility and academia (I think of The Transgender Issue by Shon Faye and The Right to Sex by Amia Srinivasan as sitting in this space), food writing, and select memoirs and essay collections. Across genres, I’m particularly keen to hear from writers who have been historically de-centred by the publishing industry.

A non-exhaustive list of books I’ve loved: Close to Home by Michael Magee; Arrangements in Blue by Amy Key; Monsters by Claire Dederer; Maps of Our Spectacular Bodies by Maddie Mortimer; Bellies by Nicola Dinan; The Pachinko Parlour by Elisa Shua Dusapin; Greta and Valdin by Rebecca K Reilly; The Guest by Emma Cline; This Ragged Grace by Octavia Bright; Mrs. S by K Patrick; Land of Milk and Honey by C Pam Zhang; and Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner.