Neil McKenna Biography

Neil McKenna

Neil McKenna is an award-winning writer and journalist who has written for the Independent, the Independent on Sunday, the Observer, the Guardian, the New Statesman and Channel 4 Television.

Neil's bestselling biography The Secret Life of Oscar Wilde was published by Century in 2003 and by Basic Books in the United State, won widespread and glowing reviews on both sides of the Atlantic and was nominated for several awards. Previously, Neil wrote two ground-breaking books – On the Margins and The Silent Epidemic – about men who have sex with men and the Aids epidemic in the developing world.

Neil was born in Manchester and grew up in Norfolk. He was educated at the Universities of Stirling and Essex where he studied art history. He lives with his partner, Robert Jones, in North London.

How I Found the Agency

I'd been going through the depressing and unrewarding task of trying to find an agent when my eye was caught by a small news item in the excellent 'Writer's News'. The literary agent in question was Andrew Lownie, specialising in biography and non-fiction, and who was 'looking for interesting non-fiction ideas'. Authors - or potential authors were invited to write to Andrew directly outlining their ideas. I didn't hold out much hope after all, I'd already been summarily turned down by three or four agents before I had even managed to stammer out my idea. But write I did, and within three or four days Andrew called me, told me to flesh out my proposal in writing and then we would meet up and take things from there. We did meet, Andrew took me on, persevered in trying to find a publisher and eventually succeeded. My book was and is a great success and this is, in large measure, down to Andrew. One happy and rather unexpected outcome was that Andrew cheerfully took on the task of selling a business book written by my partner, Robert Jones. Andrew sold this in double quick time and now Andrew represents us both!

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