Black text on a yellow background against an image of books, with a photo of a white person with short hair, glasses, and a dark jacket. Text: Q&A: Non-Fiction Proposals with Caro Clarke, Founder of Portobello Literary. Find out how to pitch your ideas, what makes a proposal stand out, how the publishing process works & more! 22nd July 2023, 11am-12pm. Online.

Q&A: Non-Fiction Proposals with Caro Clarke from Portobello Literary – 22nd July 2023

We’re delighted to offer a free Q&A session on non-fiction book proposals with Caro Clarke, founder of Portobello Literary.


Please be mindful when booking. This is a session for Black writers & writers of colour* based in Scotland (or who, pre-COVID, would normally be resident in Scotland).



Q&A on Non-Fiction Proposals: 22nd July 2023, 11am


Caro Clarke from independent Scottish literary agency Portobello Literary has partnered up with the Scottish BPOC Writers Network to host a Q&A session for prospective and current writers of non-fiction books. Potential topics include:

  • What topics are popular with publishers? – including some you might not have thought of!
  • What to include in your proposal
  • What happens during the pitching stages
  • What working with an editor looks like
  • What you can expect from an independent literary agency
  • Any other questions you have about the journey of your book…


When registering for this event, please include a brief description of what kind of non-fiction you write so that Caro can tailor the session to best meet attendees’ needs. For example:

  • Memoir / narrative non-fiction / travel / food writing (no images)
  • Serious non-fiction (science, psychology, history, philosophy)
  • Cookbooks / art books (heavily illustrated)
  • Self help, practical books, craft etc.


About Caro

Caro Clarke is a literary agent with over twelve years’ experience in publishing – at Transworld (PRH) and at Canongate Books as a Senior Rights Manager. They were named Rights Professional of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2021.

In 2019, they co-founded the Nan Shepherd Prize for underrepresented nature writers, which kickstarted a passion to demystify the publishing industry and help emerging writers to develop their craft and build their writing careers. Portobello Literary was established in 2022 to build on that work.

Writers they have worked with have won or been nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award, Saltire National Book Awards, Fitzcarraldo Essay Prize, Edwin Morgan Poetry Award, Forward Prize, Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour, Mo Siewcharran Prize, Scottish Book Trust New Writers Award, Northern Writers Award, Nan Shepherd Prize, Laurel Prize, Nature Chronicles Prize, Wasafiri New Writing Prize, Eric Gregory Award, Women in Journalism Georgina Henry award, SI Leeds Literary Award and the Frank Allen Bullock Creative Writing Prize. Explore the Portobello Literary website.

The Event

  • This session is free and will be approximately 1 hour long, beginning promptly at 11am.
  • There are a maximum of 30 spaces, open to Black writers and writers of colour.
  • This event is for people interested in writing or currently working on non-fiction books.
  • Questions will mostly be submitted beforehand by 5pm on 17th July, with some time for additional Q&As at the end.
  • Questions can be added during registration or sent via email to with the subject line ‘Portobello Literary Q&A‘ by 5pm, 17th July.
  • Q&A will be recorded for SBWN members who cannot make the event live – you can register for the recording on Eventbrite, or please email to request access
  • This session will be hosted online using Zoom (instructions will be sent to participants closer to the workshop date).

Tickets are free, but there is also an option to make a donation to SBWN.



Before participating in this online event, please note the following:

  • Tickets are free or Pay What You Can.
  • All events are suitable for people 18+ years.
  • Events are hosted online using Zoom (instructions will be sent 2 days before each event or can be accessed via the Eventbrite Online Event page).
  • To participate you will need an internet/wi-fi connection, a desktop or mobile device to join by audio and/or video and writing materials/device.
  • You may mute your mic/switch off video or take a break at any time.
  • All SBWN events will adhere to our Safer Spaces Policy.
  • Automatic live captions and transcripts are provided via Please add your access requirements during registration (for example BSL/in-person captioner) and we’ll do our best to provide.
  • For participants on low incomes, we have some bursaries for data (£7) and caregiver/childcare (£30) for online events; plus travel (within Scotland) for in-person events.

BPOC stands for ‘Black people, People of Colour’ and is a self-identifying term. While we use the term BPOC, we acknowledge the limitations of this terminology. Please refer to our Mission and Values page for more detail.

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