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Andrew Nurnberg Associates
Andrew Nurnberg Associates’ Kyiv – Warsaw opening: what does it mean?04.08.2023
Andrew Nurnberg Associates, a world-renowned British literary agency, is opening a Kyiv office. Since August, Dominika Bojanowska, a literary agent who previously represented the Polish Anna Jarota Agency, has been officially appointed as the agency’s managing director.
This reorganization of ANA offices signifies the increasing significance of the Ukrainian market, primarily in terms of rights sales.
The decision was made in early July and will be implemented in several steps:
- ANA is expanding its Warsaw office, which will now become Andrew Nurnberg Associates Kyiv-Warsaw. The office will be represented by eight agents – Marcin Biegaj, Dominika Bojanowska, Beata Glinska, Anna Jędrzejczyk, Anna Rucińska, Ania Walczak, Ewelina Węgrzyn and Marta Ziółkowska.
- The expansion of the Polish office team marks the first step towards the opening of the Kyiv office, which will be headed by Dominika Boyanovska. Starting Sept. 4, the agency will represent six countries: Poland, Ukraine, the Baltic States and Georgia.
- Biegaj and Bojanowska plan to launch an office in Kyiv as soon as security conditions allow. Once the Kyiv office shifts from Poland to Kyiv, it will remain a “satellite office,” meaning it will maintain a close collaboration with the Warsaw office.
Ukrainian market outlook amid the war
“We definitely see Ukraine as a major market in the region, one which is expanding and growing – something you can’t say about many other markets in Central and Eastern Europe at the moment,” says Dominika Bojanowska. “It is really quite incredible to see the resilience and determination of so many Ukrainian publishers who, despite the extremely difficult circumstances, want to share the latest foreign titles with Ukrainian readers […] We are seeing a revival for sure, across many different segments of the market, and I’m sure this is just the beginning.”
The agency promises to “pool and share” resources to “support Ukrainian publishers in their efforts to reach as wide an audience as possible, with the most interesting new foreign books.” In addition, ANA plans to re-evaluate classical literature and focus on the children’s and young adult book market as a growing segment in Ukraine.
The agency’s primary focus, as in other countries, is primarily on rights sales. In the past, however, the Warsaw office has also represented the rights of Polish authors.
Do the changes in ANA also mean a change in the work format? In short, no, not at the moment, and it probably won’t change in the near future. Moreover, even if the situation changes, the decision to introduce new rights to both domestic and foreign markets is made solely by ANA London.
The agency, however, does not rule out the possibility of representing Ukrainian authors in the future:
“Once we open our Kyiv office, we’ll see how things develop. We hope to hire and train Ukrainian agents which would certainly open up new possibilities when it comes to local authors,” says Dominika Bojanowska, the executive director of the future Kyiv office. The agency also confirmed its cooperation with Ovo Literary Agency.
The company’s global plans are ambitious, and the announcement of the Warsaw-Kyiv office was preceded by the opening of ANA Bangkok and ANA Hanoi in June. According to an announcement on ANA’s official website, the Baltic office, which included Ukraine, is closing.
“It’s not that simple”
Tatjana Zoldnere, the head of ANA Baltic, believes that discussing the closure of the agency in Latvia is tantamount to spreading fake news. “Our ANA Baltic office is not closed and we continue to operate fully independently. Our clients are aware of this change and we are continuing to work with them,” she said.
Read more about the work of the Baltic office in the interview.
Thus, one of the largest Ukrainian clients of the Latvian representative office, Family Leisure Club, confirms its continuing cooperation with Tatjana Zoldnere. It expresses deep concern about the decision of the London agency Andrew Nurnberg Associates and hopes “that this misunderstanding will be resolved in the near future.”
Pavlo Golubnychyi, Commercial Director of Family Leisure Club, said: “For more than 15 years, Tatjana Zoldnere and her agency have been reliable and constant partners of Family Leisure Club. And it is thanks to the tireless work of the Latvian office that the Ukrainian book market is developing so much. It was Tatjana Zoldnere who treated the small Ukrainian market with respect and gave it an impetus and opportunity for development. The speed of bestsellers on the Ukrainian market depends solely on the publisher’s skills, not on the agency. In the long run, we see only a threat to the market due to the change of a key partner.”
The Baltic office also believes that it has helped shape the Ukrainian market – and not through Moscow:
“When the ANA Baltic office was opened 27 years ago, one of the reasons was to create an office that would work in smaller markets, thus fully engaging in the business activities of local publishers. Prior to that time, rights to our current territories were sold via the Moscow office, but it wasn’t efficient, as for the co-agent of big territory, deals of less lucrative markets were never a priority. Besides, as many publishers remember, Russian publishers were often acquiring deals for Ukrainian rights, too,” comments Tatjana Zoldnere.
Opinions among publishers are split, and not all are certain of the consequences. For instance, Ivan Fedechko from the Old Lion Publishing House declined to comment on the situation when asked by Chytomo.
At the same time, smaller publishers do not share the concerns of the Family Leisure Club: “Ukrainian publishers will benefit from it,” says publisher Anetta Antonenko. it was difficult for her publishing house to work through the Baltic branch. In particular, the amounts of money for the rights that large Ukrainian publishing houses cooperating with ANA Baltic could offer, according to the publisher, “did not allow establishing market prices.” It was leaving small and medium-sized publishers without the opportunity to own the rights to the biggest English-language hits. “That’s why I don’t deal with the American market much,” says Anetta Antonenko. Other obstacles include delays in communication and terms of cooperation.
Competition between Poland and Ukraine or a mutually beneficial situation?
Tatjana Zoldnere does not share this positive view and emphasizes the negative consequences for the Ukrainian market. Moreover, according to her, the main reason to stop cooperation with London was the company’s relations with Russia: “As a Latvian company we can’t collaborate with a company that has ties with Russia.”
Among the negative consequences, Zoldner sees competition between the two markets – the newly created office in Warsaw may try to negotiate with Polish publishers to sign deals for both languages and markets. Potentially, this could mean paving the way for Polish publishers to enter the Ukrainian market. “This will of course affect all local publishers and completely distort the market,” she warns.
However, Dominika Bojanowska believes that it is better to distinguish between these markets. “Both markets have their own unique challenges, and we want to make sure that both Ukrainian language and Polish language titles published in cooperation with ANA reach the widest possible audience. But we are observing the situation closely and are certainly not opposed to this idea in principle. The Ukrainian diaspora in Poland is significant, and both markets are getting increasingly interconnected.”
The ANA managing director promises to discuss this issue with Ukrainian publishers in the coming weeks, as well as the reverse situation of expanding their presence on the Polish market, particularly in the context of e-formats. Also, according to Ukrainian publishers, the agency has already started offering to discuss clients’ dissatisfaction with the Baltic office in order to avoid past mistakes.
Whether Ukrainian publishers will point out these mistakes and whether they will pose a barrier to cooperation is, of course, up to the market to decide.
Andrew Nurnberg Associates is an international literary agency representing authors from around the world, headquartered in London. Founded in 1977, it has offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Budapest, Ghana, Istanbul, Moscow, Prague, Taipei, Warsaw, and Kyiv.
Dominika Bojanowska, a Warsaw University alumna (English literature and linguistics, MA), has seventeen years’ agenting experience, first at Graal and most recently at AJA Warsaw before becoming a director at ANA Warsaw and Managing Director of ANA Kyiv.
Marcin Biegaj, a Warsaw University alumnus (Polish and English studies) has seventeen years’ agenting experience. He spent several years at Graal before becoming Managing Director of ANA Warsaw.
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