We are living in the era of the survey, by my troth. Mary Cunnane received one before Christmas from a student at a publishing course run by one of our leading universities, who was eager to learn more about the romantic and glamorous world of the literary agent.
In the main, the student's questions were straightforward enough: 'What are the most and least satisfying aspects of your line of work?' and 'What skills or qualifications would be ideal for this kind of work?' were two. Buried further down, however, Cunnane discovered an altogether more troubling question: 'How do you educate yourself about the market and all its different fascists?' Sadly, I am not privy to Cunnane's response (although I like to imagine she named a few names). I realise the industry isn't quite the socialist nirvana it used to be back in those heady days of the 1970s, but I had no idea that it had swung so far to the other side.