View Full Version : Literary Agent Carole Blake (Blake Friedman) Has Died

10-27-2016, 11:17 AM
So sad, I've followed her on Twitter for a while, it was only a few days ago that she was tweeting about her cancer treatment. I still think that her book From Pitch To Publication is one of the best guides to the publishing industry.


10-27-2016, 11:42 AM
We were Facebook friends; I never met her but she was something of a dream agent of mine and I submitted several times to her. I too was following not only her cancer treatment, but her stories about her stepfather and her baby niece and her shoes and and and... just the other day she said she wouldn't be going to the Frankfurt Book Fair because of the C diagnosis. And she was so upbeat about it, praising the NHS but grumpy about loud patients in her ward. Yesterday she was so happy to be going home. And then -- WHAM.
I am stunned and shocked and though I don't know her personally I feel I do because she shared so much of her life.

She was one of the UK's great agents. A legend in that world.

Old Hack
10-27-2016, 01:20 PM
Carole was a good friend of mine, but then she was a good friend to many people. A wonderful woman, who worked harder than almost anyone I know but who played hard too; who always was available to help and support her friends, her colleagues and clients, and writers, too.

I was at the York Festival of Writers with her a few years ago: we were both speaking there. In a break between events we went to the ladies' loos together and there was a long queue, which we joined. An aspiring writer spotted Carole (she was difficult to miss: platinum blonde hair, bright purple clothes, statement jewelry) and hurried over, and started pitching her novel to Carole.

Carole was gracious and polite and friendly and suggested another time would be better, but the writer persisted. As the queue kept moving, the writer kept with us, pitching away and all the time Carole was polite, friendly. And then we got to the cubicles and I thought the writer might at last stop but nope, on she carried, pitching and pitching, and when Carole went into the cubicle the writer stood outside the cubicle and carried on with her incredibly long, detailed and dull pitch.

I had had enough. I told the woman she was being inappropriate and should go away now, and the woman argued with me, and carried on. And it was only when Carole came out of the cubicle and said she'd heard enough that the woman left her alone.

And then there was another and another and another, all sorts of people wanting something from her, and going about it in entirely the wrong way, and all the time she remained polite and engaged and friendly.

At the end of the day Carole and I sat down in a quiet corner of the bar, each of us with a glass of wine, and I told her that I could not put up with the sort of day she'd had, with people pecking away at her all day long. And often not grateful for her kind advice. And she gave me The Look (when you've had The Look from Carole Blake you know it!) and said that she had been given so much from publishing that it was only fair that she gave something back, and that all these writers were desperate to be heard and that while she couldn't represent most of them, she could at least hear them out. It was something she could do to make them believe that publishing was the exciting, vibrant and inclusive business that she knew it to be.

And if you look on Facebook or Twitter now you'll see so many people leaving tributes to her, telling people how kind she was to them, and how much she'll be missed, and every word of it is true.

If you'd like to do something to honour Carole, or remember her, buy some books. It doesn't matter which books you buy (although obviously, books from her client list would be a good idea!), just buy some books.

10-27-2016, 02:21 PM
I still think that her book From Pitch To Publication is one of the best guides to the publishing industry.


I have several books on the subject, and From Pitch To Publication stands out as the best. The prose is clear, it never talks down or patronises, and the information is deep and knowledgeable. I never met Carole, but I suspect from the tributes I've read that she was just like that in person.

If you don't have a copy, look here.


10-27-2016, 03:12 PM
I once had a copy and read it from front to back, but it's now sitting somewhere in a box witrh all my other books.

10-28-2016, 12:49 PM
I only knew Carole through Twitter and FB. We'd exchanged a few tweets and comments on FB over the years. Such a lovely, gracious, funny woman. And so hard-working. She never wasted a single moment of her life. And, it's so clear from the comments on social media that she was loved by so many.
There was a memorable FB incident a few weeks ago where Carole had posted something about the UK government. I can't remember what. I know that I agreed and posted something about being ashamed of being British at the moment. A very well-known author posted that if we hated the UK so much we should just leave. Carole told her off so beautifully. She had such a way with words.
I wish I'd met her and I'm heartbroken for her family, colleagues, authors and many friends. I'll miss her. :(

Old Hack
10-28-2016, 01:24 PM
I remember that FB thread, Firedrake! The two of them are old friends. Oh, the stories I could tell...

Carole was so classy, and absolutely fearless. I still can't believe it.

10-28-2016, 04:33 PM
I remember that FB thread, Firedrake! The two of them are old friends. Oh, the stories I could tell...

Carole was so classy, and absolutely fearless. I still can't believe it.

I figured they were. I can imagine the stories!

Yes, she was. I will really miss her. Such a dreadful shock.

10-28-2016, 05:12 PM
FROM PITCH TO PUBLICATION was a life-changing book for me. Back when I picked it up it felt like one of the only resources for British writers apart from the yearly Yearbooks. UK literary agencies hadn't gone online yet, and they wouldn't for a while afterwards.

It was such an important book to me. I read it cover to cover, over and over. I pressed it into my mum's hands so she could understand what I was trying to do and how difficult it was. It still sits with pride of place on my shelf. It's timeless.

Carole's loss has really shaken me. I never met her but she helped me so much, her words mattered so much. I can't believe she's gone.

Old Hack
10-29-2016, 04:19 PM
Oh, look. I've been paraphrased in the Times (http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/carole-blake-x0vpjxwvh). You have to register to read it, but you don't have to pay.

10-29-2016, 08:50 PM
That's a beautiful obituary. Carole will be sadly missed.

10-30-2016, 12:22 PM
Fantastic obituary. I never knew she and Julian Friedman had been married. And that she had a miniature doll house collection! She had such a full life!

11-05-2016, 08:25 AM
BBC Radio 4's Last Word has a segment on Carole Blake (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b080xx0z). It begins at 14:50. (Not geoblocked.)

11-05-2016, 08:39 AM
I didn't know her, except as a name, but it sounds like she was a wonderful person. My condolences to her friends and family.

Old Hack
11-08-2016, 02:55 PM
This is such a perfect tribute to Carole.

(http://www.thebookseller.com/news/carole-blake-open-doors-project-founded-agents-memory-426396)Carole Blake Open Doors Project founded in agent's memory (http://www.thebookseller.com/news/carole-blake-open-doors-project-founded-agents-memory-426396)

11-08-2016, 03:46 PM
I was just coming here to post it! What a wonderful, powerful tribute.

Old Hack
11-08-2016, 05:03 PM
My neice was lucky enough to be given an internship at Blake Friedmann, several years ago. A three-week stint stretched into three months, and she now works in publishing. She was trained so well during that internship. I am sure that this initiative is going to make a significant difference to many people.