SEBES & BISSELING

Paul
Sebes

literary agent
founder
director

I am the founder of Sebes & Bisseling Literary Agency. In my early twenties I was working as an editorial assistant at publishing house Prometheus, when I had the opportunity to go to the Frankfurt Book Fair. At some point, my then boss asked me to pick up a manuscript in the Literary Agents & Scouts Centre and when I walked in and saw them negotiating at small tables, I knew right away: this is me. I’m not a publisher or an editor, I am a literary agent. Talking with different people from around the world about writers and books, to generate excitement about that book to then make a deal – I still find it one of the most beautiful things there is.

Eight years later, I left Prometheus and started the agency. Every day I still think I have the best job in the world: assessing and selecting manuscripts, working together with authors, submitting new manuscripts to publishers and closing deals. These days I no longer do it alone, but with twenty colleagues in four countries. 

The biggest deal I have ever negotiated (and the largest one ever in the Netherlands) was for Michelle and Barack Obama’s memoirs. I’ve also made deals in The Netherlands and Scandinavia for authors such as Paul Auster, Bill Clinton, Bono, Michael Cunningham, Jonathan Franzen, Rachel Kushner, Prince Harry, the J.D. Salinger estate, the John Steinbeck estate and many more. Globally, I represent dozens of British, Danish, Dutch, Finish,  and Swedish authors. One of my largest deals was for LAST STOP AUSCHWITZ by Holocaust-survivor Eddy de Wind, which has been sold to 30+ countries and has gone on to become a bestseller in many of them. 

I prefer to represent good literary novels, an exceptional thriller and serious non-fiction (with an emphasis on memoir, (auto)biography, history, philosophy, linguistic and social sciences) in Dutch, English or one of the Scandinavian languages, and ideally with a lot of international potential.