• Tom  Killingbeck

    Tom Killingbeck

    What I’m looking for: I specialise in nonfiction, seeking fresh, expert perspectives on history, science, nature, politics, big ideas, smart thinking, economics, health, and the arts. I am particularly interested in writers who can open readers’ minds, improve their lives and help them see the world differently, whether that be through untold histories, ground-breaking science, or revelatory journalism. I’m always keen to find ‘category killing’ books that will remain the definitive work on a subject for a popular readership for a decade or more. I would love to hear from academics or public figures with a unique expertise, who are keen to find a mainstream audience for their ideas and writing. I welcome approaches from writers who are in the earliest stages of thinking about writing a nonfiction book.

    You can read about some of my recent deals on the Bookseller website.

    About me: I joined AM Heath as a literary agent in 2022, and was made a Bookseller Rising Star the following year. My first deal was for Zeinab Badawi’s An African History of Africa, which sold for six figures and went on to become an instant Sunday Times bestseller. Previously I was an editorial director at Penguin and HarperCollins, where I worked with an eclectic group of authors including Dame Jane Goodall, John Preston, Bella Mackie, Isabel Hardman, Guy Shrubsole, Will Storr, Ed Caesar, Kathleen Hanna and The Modern House. I also helped to launch the 4thWrite Prize.

    I have worked with authors who have won or been shortlisted for the Baillie Gifford Prize, the Costa Biography Award, the Royal Society Science Book Prize, the Telegraph Sports Book Award, the William Hill Sports Book of the Year, the Wainwright Prize, the PEN Ackerley Prize and the Penderyn Music Book Prize.

    Twenty books from my shelf, old and new, to give you an idea of my personal taste and what I’m looking for:

    Fun Home by Alison Bechdel

    Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain

    How Music Works by David Byrne

    Quiet by Susan Cain

    23 Things They Don’t Tell You About Capitalism by Ha-Joon Chang

    Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

    Islands of Abandonment by Cal Flyn

    The Ruin of All Witches by Malcolm Gaskill

    Debt by David Graeber

    Leviathan by Philip Hoare

    How I Escaped My Certain Fate by Stewart Lee

    A Time Traveller’s Guide to Medieval England by Ian Mortimer

    The History of White People by Nell Irvin Painter

    Femina by Janina Ramirez

    Entangled Life by Merlin Sheldrake

    The Living Mountain by Nan Shepherd

    Who Owns England? by Guy Shrubsole

    Just Kids by Patti Smith

    Spoon-Fed by Tim Spector

    Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer