Selwa Anthony was born in the Australian country town of Cowra, NSW. Her passion for books was ignited by her father when he gave Selwa her first library card when she was just eight. Having migrated from Lebanon in the 1920s, her father loved writers like Lawson, Paterson and Marcus Clarke, and they helped him love Australia. He also passed this love for Australian literature onto Selwa.
Not only does Selwa have her own very successful author management agency, but she has written three books – The Lebanese Cookbook, co-authored with her two sisters, and two “little positive thinking books”, Succeed With Me and Wake Up, Shake Up, Stand Up, with Jimmy Thomson.
Selwa is married with two daughters and a stepson and stepdaughter.
Selwa’s career began in the book section of a large department store in the 1960’s. A decade later she was the retail and marketing manager in Sydney for a major book company, where she was the first manager to feature Australian books at the front of the store. During this time she also had her own radio book chat program, syndicated throughout Australia, and reviewed books on the Midday Movie Show with Bill Collins.
In 1984, the Selwa Anthony Author Management Agency was born. Selwa credits best-selling Australian author Colleen McCollough with her becoming an authors agent, after Colleen said this of her:
“Selwa has the best eye for a manuscript of anyone I have known and should become a literary agent.”
Since signing up her first popular fiction author – the late Evan Green, Selwa pioneered the first breed of popular Australian fiction writers. Twenty six years later successful authors on her list are plentiful with the likes of Tara Moss, Traci Harding, Ian Irvine, J.H. Fletcher, Diane Armstrong, Kim Wilkins (aka Kimberley Freeman) and the list goes on.
Selwa is a passionate Australian, and owes much of this to her parents – Lebanese emigrants who were proud of their adopted homeland. Her father had a deep appreciation for Australian literature, and regularly read Banjo Paterson and Henry Lawson to the family. This, along with her first library card – given to her by her father at the age of eight – were the catalysts to Selwa’s life-long love affair with books.
Selwa has said “as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz had a yellow road paved with bricks, mine seemed to be paved with books.” The yellow road of books lead Selwa from her first job in a newsagency working with books, to a long career as a bookstore manager, a radio book chat program, and finally to becoming an author representative.
Selwa’s Author Management Agency combines her passion for books and all things Australian. Her agency champions the cause of Australian authors, who are often underappreciated in their own country. As a bookseller, she was one of the first people to place Australian books at the front of the store. She now focuses on discovering and promoting home-grown authors who have wonderful Australian stories to tell.
Selwa’s agency has grown from just a couple of authors in 1988 to become one of Australia’s leading author management agencies, with over 50 authors today – many of them best-sellers and award-winners.
Selwa has shared her formula for success and positive outlook on life in the book “Succeed With Me”, written with Jimmy Thomson. Her little pearls of wisdom include:
- It takes just as much energy to think negatively as it does to think positively. But thinking positively gives you strength rather than draining you.
- Even when you are down, make yourself look your best and people will respond to your positive image.
- When things go wrong, be creative and find a way to turn them round. Treat it as a game and enjoy the challenge of turning negative into positive.
- Fear is a reminder that things can go wrong, not a premonition that things will go wrong.
- If you’re going to succeed, succeed at your own plans and you can take full credit. If you’re going to fail, at least fail trying your own ideas.
- A problem shared is a problem halved – a success shared is a success doubled.
- If you make all your little dreams come true, then the big ones will come true too.
Selwa’s slogan is “Don’t get mad, get on with it”. She also subscribes to the theory “Never give in”.