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David Higham Associates is one of the leading agencies for writers in the world, managing the careers of authors and screenwriters across all genres in all markets. We have nearly fifty staff working in our modern Soho office across the main departments of Books; Film, TV & Stage; Translation Rights and Accounts.

Founded in 1935 and still independent and thriving nearly ninety years later, DHA has some of the most successful literary careers of the twentieth century in our care. We believe it is our ability to foresee the future while safekeeping the past that makes us one of the most successful agencies in the world. Please explore our Agent and Author pages to gain a sense of the range of our work across adult and children’s fiction and non-fiction; poetry; literary estates and scriptwriting.

We promote our clients’ work at the highest level and are known in the industry for negotiating the very best terms available in the marketplace. We are editorially driven, providing personal, hands-on advice and guidance on all aspects of our authors’ careers. In short, DHA clients are at the heart of everything we do. From creative support to focusing on the minutiae of every clause of every contract, we know that our success depends entirely on the writers we represent but also on the level of attention we pay to their careers and the quality of our advice.

DHA agents are at the forefront of understanding and navigating a rapidly evolving digital landscape, monitoring and capitalising upon the new formats and platforms entering the market every year. As a team we collaborate on everything we do, pooling knowledge and experience and supporting each other’s successes.

We are longstanding members of the Association of Authors’ Agents (AAA) of which our colleagues Anthony Goff and Lizzy Kremer have both served as President, and also the Personal Managers’ Association (PMA). We are proud to support the industry-wide commitment to professional behaviour in bookselling and publishing, which can be read below. We recognise that DHA is not fully representational and as a company are working together to change this. Our statement about anti-racism can also be read in the section below.

We run paid, six-month full-time internship programmes in both the Books and Film/TV departments, alumni of which have gone on to many fulfilling permanent jobs in the industry. Please see our Internships page for more information.

Agency History

Our founder, David Higham, was born in 1895. After serving in the First World War he took up a job in the books department at Albert Curtis Brown’s literary agency. Among his colleagues there were Nancy Pearn and Laurence Pollinger, and following Albert’s decision to bring in his son to run things, a new agency was created.

With a loan from Harold Macmillan among other benefactors, Pearn, Pollinger & Higham began trading in 1935. With Nancy’s death in 1950 and Laurence’s departure, the agency was renamed David Higham Associates in 1956. One of David’s colleagues at this time was the writer Paul Scott, who would later find fame as author of the Raj Quartet and the Booker-winning Staying On, but who was also a highly effective literary agent. Among the talents he acted for were Muriel Spark, Arthur C. Clarke and Keith Waterhouse, all of whose estates the agency still represents today.

David himself remained active until his death in 1978, by which time the agency had moved from Dean Street in Soho to Lower John Street (where it would remain until 2013, with the move to Waverley House). Further consolidation came with the formation of the Film, TV & Stage department, representing original drama and screenplays as well as adaptations of our books.

In the late 1990s the agency grew again, embracing the work of authors in the care of Laurence Pollinger’s younger son, Murray. It was at this point that our path to pre-eminence in the field of children’s literature began, with DHA championing the work of writers such as Roald Dahl, Jacqueline Wilson, Clive King, Anne Fine, Jenny Nimmo and Michael Morpurgo, as well as adult authors including Penelope Lively, Alexander McCall Smith and J. M. Coetzee.

After 2015 the agency expanded considerably, absorbing the lists of agents Toby Eady and Jane Gregory before their retirements and appointing new agents across the three main departments.

Now in our ninth decade of business, David Higham Associates is better placed than ever to promote the work of its uniquely talented and varied clients, in all media and all territories around the world.

Anti-Racism Statement

The products of the creative industries, whether books, films or poetry, should reflect the society in which they are made, but in fact proportionately few black writers are published and many children do not find characters with whom they can closely identify in the books they read. As a workforce publishing is overwhelmingly white. DHA believes that it is not enough for those who work in our industry to self-identify as nonracist. In order for our competitive industry with its complex power structures to become more representative, we each need to be anti-racist and for that anti-racism to be demonstrated in decisive positive action in recruitment and in company culture.

We are enacting a clear plan of action for ourselves as a company in the areas of recruitment, staff retention, training, recompense, communications and culture as well as in our author submissions policy in order to accelerate the pace of change in the agency, where many of us benefit from our white privilege and have been afforded opportunity, for example through our socio-economic background or as a result of not living with a disability.

We are committed to talking openly and frequently about our anti-racist and inclusive stance as a company and we welcome communication with us about this policy.  We will be good allies to colleagues from under-represented and marginalised backgrounds across the industry and demonstrate and enact our anti-racism and inclusive stance in public arenas.

We recognise that our industry’s lack of diversity to date has not been without huge cost to many and we are willingly investing money and time towards realising the ideals and objectives we are setting ourselves.

Commitment to Professional Behaviour

Endorsed by the Association of Authors’ Agents, Booksellers’ Association, the Publishers’ Association and the Society of Authors

Created and written by the Book & Publishing Industry EDI Forum, this document lays out in unambiguous terms the values and behaviours we share and seek to encourage in our professional interactions across our industry. This document is limited to professional behaviour in work environments (online and offline) though it does not cover authorship itself.

Through the ten points below, we aim to hold ourselves and our colleagues in the industry to high standards of professional behaviour, based on mutual respect, compassion, humanity, an openness to difference and an unwavering commitment to the free exchange of ideas.

This document is intended to be top-level, aspirational, and collegiate. It is a clear statement of what we expect from ourselves and others in our professional communications, regardless of whether those behaviours take place online or in the workplace.

We are not standards bodies, but we believe that an industry commitment of this kind can support an industry-wide culture we can be proud of – one which is welcoming to all, respectful of all, and supportive of all.

  1. We in the sector (booksellers, agents, authors, and publishing professionals) support and are champions of creative expression and freedom of speech. We understand the power of what is printed and published and will endeavour to protect the passion, imagination and creativity of everyone in our industry.
  2. Authors, publishing professionals, agents and booksellers are colleagues and collaborators in business and we expect a high standard of professional behaviour from one another.
  3. Our professional communication will be respectful to all parties. We understand that at times we may not agree with one another but understand how and what we communicate might impact others positively but also negatively.We will protect the passion, imagination and creativity of everyone in the books industry.
  4. We celebrate and actively promote and cultivate diversity and inclusion in all its forms, including but not limited to the nine protected characteristics cited in The Equality Act 2010 as well as socio economic status, educational background, caring responsibilities, and geographical location and we condemn abuse and the incitement of hatred of any kind.
  5. We will endeavour to ensure that everyone in our industry is treated with dignity and respect so that individuals are supported and are able to speak out. We recognise that power is situational and that we can all be in a position of greater relative power over others.
  6. We support and are sensitive to the mental health of our colleagues and other industry professionals as well as those experiencing chronic illness, neurodiversity, disability and other physical challenges. We recognise that not all disabilities are visible.
  7. We are working towards improving inclusion and access for everyone to our industry across all the areas mentioned in point 4 above.
  8. Our professional behaviour is thoughtful and anticipates consequences – and is required in every environment where people interact for work reasons, including but not limited to: offices, bookshops, parties, committees, lunch meetings, awards ceremonies, rights fairs, festivals and any other venue, formal or informal; as well as online and in all communications.
  9. We have a right to personal privacy, and to feel safe and valued in the working environment.
  10. We will support one another and take action by:
    i) Listening:  If someone tells us that they find something racist, sexist, bullying, threatening, or uncomfortable, they have a right to that feeling. We will behave with empathy, respect and understanding.
    ii) Being Allies:  We will not remain silent in the face of unacceptable behaviour. We will listen to, speak up for and empower those who have experienced such behaviour. We will bear witness and support appropriate action being taken, regardless of the status or the relative status of the individuals involved.
    iii) Being Aware of Company Policies:  If you do not think there is one, ask. As industry associations, we encourage our members to promote and implement the standards of professional behaviour set out in this document and to create and endorse company policies which reflect these principles.

Useful definitions

Harassment is defined by the Equality Act as ‘unwanted conduct . . . which has the purpose or effect of violating an individual’s dignity or creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive environment for that individual’.

Bullying is defined by ACAS as ‘as unwanted behaviour from a person or group that is either offensive, intimidating, malicious or insulting or an abuse or misuse of power that undermines, humiliates, or causes physical or emotional harm to someone.’

The Equality Act 2010 is the UK’s discrimination law which protects individuals from unfair treatment and promotes a fair and more equal society. The protected characteristics covered by the legislation are age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, and sexual orientation.