LOSING THE PLOT by DEREK OWUSU

PUBLISHING 03 NOVEMBER 2022

Driven by a deep-seated desire to understand his mother’s life before he was born, Derek Owusu offers a powerful imagining of her journey. As she moves from Ghana to the UK and navigates parenthood in a strange and often lonely environment, the effects of displacement are felt across generations

Told through the eyes of both mother and son, Losing the Plot is at once emotionally raw and playful as Owusu experiments with form to piece together the immigrant experience and explore how the stories we share and tell ourselves are just as vital as the ones we don’t.


DEREK OWUSU

Derek Owusu is an award-winning writer and poet from North London. He discovered his passion for literature late in life while studying exercise science at university. Unable to afford a change of degree, he began reading voraciously and sneaking into English Literature lectures at the University of Manchester.

Owusu has written poetry and short stories for the BBC and ITV and regularly features on literary prize judging panels.

In 2019, Owusu collated, edited and contributed to SAFE: On Black British Men Reclaiming Space, an anthology exploring the experiences of Black men in Britain.

His first novel, ‘That Reminds Me’, and the first work of fiction to be published by Stormzy’s Merky Books imprint, won the Desmond Elliott Prize for debut fiction, the judges praising it as a ‘transcendent work of literature.’ In 2020, Owusu was one of the founding members of the Black Writers Guild, whose formation was due to the lack of representation and inequalities that exist within mainstream publishing in the UK. 

TALENT AGENT

THIS IS A LONDON BASED ROLE.

Job Purpose:

UK Literary, Film/TV Agency seeks Agent

Black and Brown owned and run UK Literary, Film and TV Agency representing high profile authors and artists across books, film and TV is looking for an agent to join the team and help grow the business.

The candidate should have 2-3 years’ experience working in a talent agency, be keen to leverage their network to develop and grow their own client list and have solid knowledge of relevant commercial business terms.

The candidate must have a natural creative flair and the demonstrable ability in identifying talent. The successful candidate will offer vital support to existing agents including assistance with contracts, editorial and development work, and preparing submissions and decks/presentations with a view of contributing to the commercial growth of the business.

Confidence in full talent representation and crisis management is an absolute must as is discretion.

The role will report to co-ceo Crystal Mahey-Morgan.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone to join this fast-growing innovative talent agency and hit the ground running. You will be part of a small close-knit team and must enjoy working collaboratively but at the same time have the freedom and autonomy to make your mark. We are looking for a driven, confident person, who is passionate about books, film/TV and the arts and who has a strong sense of vision.

Experience/Personal Traits

  • Experience in negotiating traditional deal memos and long form contracts
  • Ability and desire to garner new business pro-actively and independently
  • Experience (or at least a keen interest) in carving out deals and monetising non-traditional media and rights
  • Eagle eyed attention to detail
  • Highly organised, impeccable time management skills and ability to work well under pressure and to tight deadlines
  • Strong black book of contacts
  • Ability to think outside the box and adapt to new ways of working and thinking

Qualification

No specific academic qualification is required, however, 2-3 years’ experience within the industry is essential

Salary

£35k – £50K dependent on experience

HOW TO APPLY:

Please send a CV and cover letter. All applications should be emailed to Careers@OWNIT.London

Deadline TO APPLY:

3rd June

About OWN IT!:

OWN IT! was created by founders Crystal Mahey-Morgan and Jason Morgan as a way to address a lack of representation within the arts and creative industries, first starting as a publisher but always with a multi-media and cross-platform approach to storytelling. With a desire to see as many creatively diverse and traditionally under-represented voices and stories out there as possible, OWN IT! quickly expanded to launch a talent agency arm paving a new way of working to house both a publishing and agency arm under one umbrella, albeit operating completely independently.

Whether publishing or representing talent, OWN IT! is never afraid to think outside the box and innovate but always has their artists and talent at the heart of everything they do. The company’s fluid and non-traditional approach comes from the joining of forces of the two co-founders coming from different disciplines, with Crystal’s background in book publishing and Jason’s background in music, having been part of a London 90’s UK hip hop group.

OWN IT! currently represent a host of exciting talent including Courttia Newland, Salena Godden, Derek Owusu, Ify Adenuga, Toni Tone and Sian Anderson to name a few.

EDITORIAL AND LITERARY ASSISTANT

THIS IS A LONDON BASED ROLE.

Job Purpose:

UK Literary, Film/TV Agency and Publisher seeks Editorial and Literary Assistant

Black and Brown owned and run UK agency and publisher, representing high profile authors and artists across books, film and TV are looking to add an enthusiastic and dedicated Editorial and Literary Assistant to the team to work across both the agency and publishing arm of the business.

The candidate does not need to have any previous experience of working at a publisher or agency, but does need to have a keen interest in developing a long term career in these industries. They must love reading and not be daunted by huge volumes of material, have a keen eye for detail, a pro-active can-do attitude and the confidence to work in a fast-paced environment with excellent interpersonal skills.

The role will entail being the first point of contact for the publishing submissions box and agency query letters, managing spreadsheets, organising internal acquisitions/representation meetings, liaising with potential and existing clients and authors, writing copy and proofreading materials. There will also be general ad-hoc admin along with diary management.

The role will report to publisher and agent Crystal Mahey-Morgan.

This is an exciting opportunity for someone looking to break in the industry and be part of a dynamic publisher and Literary, Film and TV Agency who have fast built a reputation for innovation, going against the status quo and breaking boundaries within the arts.

Personal Traits

  • Ability to work well under pressure
  • Excellent communication skills
  • Highly organised with a meticulous eye for detail
  • Works well within a team, motivated and able to adapt and be flexible
  • Good time management, ability to prioritise and meet deadlines
  • Competent with Microsoft Word, Excel and Powerpoint
  • Ability to multi-task

Qualification

No formal qualifications necessary but a love of books and reading essential

Salary

£22K

How to Apply:

Please send a CV and cover letter and answer the following 2 questions. The questions can be answered either through written answers (no more than 300 words each) OR a 3 minute video. All applications should be emailed to Careers@OWNIT.London

  1. What do you think you could bring to OWN IT! ?
  2. What does the future of publishing and/or agenting look like to you?

Deadline to Apply:

3rd June

About OWN IT!:

OWN IT! was created by founders Crystal Mahey-Morgan and Jason Morgan as a way to address a lack of representation within the arts and creative industries, first starting as a publisher but always with a multi-media and cross-platform approach to storytelling. With a desire to see as many creatively diverse and traditionally under-represented voices and stories out there as possible, OWN IT! quickly expanded to launch a talent agency arm paving a new way of working to house both a publishing and agency arm under one umbrella, albeit operating completely independently.

Whether publishing or representing talent, OWN IT! is never afraid to think outside the box and innovate but always has their artists and talent at the heart of everything they do. The company’s fluid and non-traditional approach comes from the joining of forces of the two co-founders coming from different disciplines, with Crystal’s background in book publishing and Jason’s background in music, having been part of a London 90’s UK hip hop group.

OWN IT! currently represents a host of exciting talent including Courttia Newland, Salena Godden, Derek Owusu, Ify Adenuga, Toni Tone and Sian Anderson to name a few.

ANNOUNCEMENT: OWN IT! welcomes actor, author, director and producer, Ray Shell, to the OWN IT! Agency

AYRIES “RAY” SHELL is a film, TV and stage actor, as well as an author, director and producer. He has been a fixture in London’s West End since he arrived in the UK in 1978.

Ray is known for creating the roles of Nomax in Five Guys Named Moe and Rusty in Starlight Express. 

In 2018 Ray toured the UK as Emil Foley, the drill sergeant in the acclaimed Curve production of An Officer and a Gentlemen directed by Nikolai Foster. In 2017, he performed in the Kennedy Center commission for actors and jazz ensemble Bud, Not Buddy, directed by Clarke Peters (The Wire; Da 5 Bloods).

His performance theatre credits include Ain’t Misbehavin’, Jesus Christ Superstar, The Music of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Gone with the Wind, Disney’s The Lion King, The Dirtiest Musical and Sweeney Todd (Holland Park), among others.

Ray’s acclaimed debut novel “Iced” was published by Random House/Penguin Books and toured internationally.

He has also published articles and short stories for, among others, the New York Times, The Guardian, as well as Serpent’s Tail and Penguin publishing houses. His online publishing company, Street Angels Books, has published “Spike Lee: The Eternal Maverick” The 30th-anniversary edition of “Iced” will be published, March 14, 2023 on Street Angels Books. Producer and director Lee Daniels (The Butler, Precious) has bought the film rights to “Iced.” The screenplay was written by Oscar® nominated Menno Meyjes (Indiana Jones, The Color Purple). Ray sold the film rights to his current novel “Carolina Red”, also published by Street Angels Books, to UK production company Sugar Films.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE ABOUT RAY.

BIG ANNOUNCEMENT: We are launching OWN IT! Productions and OWN IT! Agency is joining forces with The Partnership Group!

As well as the news that we are launching OWN IT! Productions, a Film/TV company, we are so excited to announce that OWN IT! will be joining forces with The Partnership Group, which was launched last June 2021.

We are still fiercely independent and uncompromisingly ourselves but now with the backing of The Artist Partnership, Sayle Screen, Sara Putt Associates, the production arm The Development Partnership, and voice agency, Be Heard Voices.

OWN IT! Publishing will remain separate to this relationship and continue to run autonomously.

The Partnership Group was formed as a coming together of like-minded companies representing talent on and off-screen. The Partnership Group operates with the objective of allowing group affiliates to work closely with each other to create opportunities for clients. By pooling knowledge and expertise, the companies gain an encompassing vision of the literary, film, TV and theatre landscape and can act as a unified force in a growing global industry.

Roger Charteris, CEO said: “Our desire in forming The Partnership Group was to grow by identifying hugely exciting businesses, run by brilliant people, who wanted to be part of something larger but without loosing what makes them special. In Crystal and Jason, we are going into business with two fantastic entrepreneurs and I am so excited to see the relationship flourish and their business grow.”. 

Robert Taylor, Managing Director said: “We have long admired Crystal and Jason and the business they have built. We saw in them a similar ethos to the one we continue to build our business with. Namely, an energy and a passion to represent creatives in all they want to do and a willingness to think about how to achieve that in a new and unique way. We identified with Crystal and Jason that there were parts of OWN IT! that might benefit form us coming together in this way, such as the agency business and the desire to launch a production arm. Equally, there were other parts of the company that were going to flourish by being left as they were, such as the publishing side. Typically, Crystal and Jason were keen to look at a bespoke and unique arrangement, and one that allows us all to retain what is brilliant about our companies and to benefit from coming together”.

Crystal Mahey-Morgan and Jason Morgan of OWN IT! said: “We’re so excited to be joining The Partnership Group. Our clients are powerful and important sorytellers and thinkers who are changing the creative landscape and knowing that we will now be able to offer them so much more through the pooled experience, resource and a shared ethos with the other companies in The Partnership Group  is hugely exciting and we can’t wait for this next phase in OWN IT’S journey.”

Ths is a major step in our journey. Thank you for supporting us so far.