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Interview with an Agent: Robyn Newton

last updated 16 March 2023

Interview by Rachel Moffat

Our agents move mountains, working with our artists to make dreams come true. In this blog series, we sit down with our experts and give you an insight into their story and their passion for all things Bright.

Join us now as we interview: Robyn Newton

title Robyn Newton at Bologna Children’s Book Fair 2023

How long have you been working for Bright? Tell us a little about your career journey.

I’ve been an agent at Bright for five years now and in many ways, it seems a lot longer! I began my career working for the BBC in the Audiobooks team and really loved the fast pace of scheduling releases and recordings. However, a job came up at Parragon, Bath’s largest publishing house at the time, and I was thrilled to become part of the children’s team. I moved into the editorial team and loved being part of the creation of titles for very young children. Leaving Bath was very hard, but I ended up moving to London to work for Macmillan and got to conceptualise and write many books for Priddy. A new move was on the cards though! I spoke to Nicky Lander on a weekly basis and wondered if I would thrive as an agent too. Eventually an opportunity arose - yippee! I have headed up the children’s team but am now a managing agent with a smaller list of artists, and I couldn’t be happier. My creative juices are constantly running, being surrounded by such talent, and my days are fast-paced and full of such positive chats and connections.

title Illustration by Manuel Šumberac

Where did your love of art come from?

My mum is an artist extraordinaire, there’s really nothing she can’t turn her hand to. From making myself and my sister beautiful (matching) outfits when we were younger, to hand-painting gorgeous greetings cards, she has always given me inspiration and encouraged me to be creative. As I am not the best at drawing, I turn my hand to crafts like crochet, and particularly love interior design. My travels have also led me to appreciate art in all forms and I gain inspiration from the joyous variety of cultures and environments across the world.

title The Bright Team at our office in Clapham Junction

What do you look for in an artist?

I love to see interpretations of the natural world and I especially warm to artists who, like me, care passionately for the world around us. Injections of vibrancy are key for me, as colour brings things to life for children, even if a bit of artistic license is involved to make things extra magical! However, true-to-life renditions of our beautiful planet and people/children living gently within it are important to me too . That doesn’t mean to say I’m not partial to a truly evil adversary, or a scare-you-half-to-death dragon!!

title Illustration by Kristina Kister

Tell us about the first/most exciting project one of your artists worked on?

I was thrilled when Priddy commissioned one of my artists for the first time and I got to work with my old colleagues again. This really brought it home to me how collaborative and supportive the industry is, and how you’ll always be bumping into familiar faces.

What has been your best day at Bright?

I remember starting at Bright and heading straight to the Bologna book fair. It was a baptism of fire but on my last day of meetings there I felt on top of the world and so sure I had found my dream career. Everyone at Bright is so genuinely supportive.

title Freddie Dawson and Robyn Newton at the Bright Christmas Party 2018

What has been the biggest hurdle in your career?

I was super worried about feeling like I had no creative purpose, but it turns out that being so invested in the success and day-to-day fulfilment of all my artists’ careers really fills that gap. Plus, I am not short of a project or two in my spare time!

What advice do you have for new agents?

Be the positive energy and things will travel in a positive direction. But, above all, conduct everything you do with honesty and integrity and honesty and integrity should follow you. What do you know about the industry now that you wish you could have told yourself when you first started? Carve your own niche and talk about those things you feel passionate about, don’t feel pressured to agree with those you assume are more knowledgeable. Everyone has different experiences and unique insights to bring to the table.

title Illustration by Marc Moynihan

When you’re not working, what does a day in the life of Robyn look like?

I love to spend as much time as possible with friends or family, so we’ll go for lunch or visit my sister near Bath. Hopefully there’ll be a delicious lunch involved too. In the evening, I’ll get on with a craft project (currently on my first attempt at crocheting a jumper), or we’ll go for a couple of glasses of wine at a little bar.

What advice do you have for aspiring artists?

Be prepared to lay the groundwork for a long and successful career, don’t expect quick wins. Build relationships by being professional and personable to everyone you meet and work with. As I said above, the industry is very small so enormous effort and positivity go a long way.

title Clara Reschke, Robyn and Róisín Hahessy // Robyn and James Lancett // Bright Christmas party 2018

A final message?

Life is for living, not for worrying about what other people are doing or thinking about you. You are your own individual success story.

To work with Robyn, get in contact here.

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