Interview with Vicki Satlow

Vicki Satlow, renowned literary agent, is one of the judges of the Literature section of IMAFestival and we interviewed her to get some insights on her profession

di Silvia Menini

Pubblicato mercoledì, 2 maggio 2012

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Vicki Satlow
One of the judges of the literature section of IMAFestival is Vicki Satlow, famous literary agent present on the italian scene.
Born in Boston, she worked two years in New York before moving to Italy in 1992. She didan internship at Rizzoli, then worked for a literary agency, then within a publishing house.
In 1998 she opened the agency, representing Susanna Tamaro and a select group of Italians and foreigners.
Now she represents over 25 authors, still Susanna Tamaro, but also Paola Calvetti, Luigi Carletti, Silvia Brena, Mattia Signorini, Catena Fiorello, Crepax, and foreign authors like Sergio Bambaren, Cecelia Ahern, Venessa Diffenbaugh.
She is specialized in books that have the potential to be published in other countries.


We interviewed Vicki to get some information about her professional activity and IMAFestival impressions

When did you understand that you wanted to become a literary agent and which was the way that did bring you working in this field? 
I have always felt passionate about books, and my first job was with a scouting agency in New York. The job consisted of covering the entire North American market and it gave me the opportunity to see and read what was coming out at the time and also to understand a bit about European publishing.
 
Which are the characteristics that a manuscript should have to be interesting for you?
It must move me in some way, either emotionally or from a literary point of view. I have stopped second guessing where the market is going and what will sell. The biggest successes are always the most unexpected anyway.
 
What does get your attention: a special story or the way of writing?
Both. My reaction is always emotional on the one hand and on the other I must be compelled to finish the book.
 
What makes a book, a winning book?
Good question! The answer is different for every reader. The most Winning books are the ones that are both ferociously loved and bitterly hated.
 
What do Italian writers miss to be published in US? What are the main differences between the Italian and American way of writing and the way a book is structured?
There are enormous differences in structure and content but the main reason publication is so difficult is because of the language barrier. Few editors read Italian and even more importantly Americans are reluctant to buy non American books.

Who is your favorite writer and why?
Difficult to say. I love all the writing of my own authors but I must say that my favorites are Kafka and F.Scott Fitzgerald. Their stories and language had a huge impact in my love of literature.

Which food you miss from USA and which one you love in Italy?
The only foods I miss from the USA are scallops and reeses!
From Italy I love everything.
 
The theme of IMAFestival is Food & Migration (and Sport). What images, feelings, memories and emotions recalls this association?
I suppose it makes me think of the Fourth of July, the American independence day, when traditionally families go on picnics to see the fireworks. It is a “home grown” food holiday. And I see a lot of that on Sundays in the parks in Italy with Immigrants who meet in big groups and cook or picnic with their own traditional foods. I think it is lovely and often makes me nostalgic. I don’t think my husband would much be into bringing a barbeque to a park in Milan…
 
Food & Migration in Literature: is there any Author that you particularly love or that you have recently read and where these two topics are the pillars of the plot?
Eat Love and Pray
Tag:  IMAFestival, Vicki Satlow, judge, literature, event, Museo della Scienza e della Tecnologia, Milan

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