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Meet the Pitch Wars 2017 Agents! (Part 2)

Monday, 17 July 2017  |  Posted by Heather Cashman


We have an amazing lineup of agents participating in Pitch Wars 2017!

On November 1st , the Pitch Wars Agent Showcase will go live for all the mentees, chosen by mentors on August 24th. We will post three separate posts by age category (MG, YA, NA/A), listing the mentees’ pitch and the first words of their manuscript (pitch words + first page words = 300 words). The agents will search from November 1-7 through the posts, find their favorites, and request them.

November 1 – 7: Agent Showcase

  • November 1: Adult and New Adult entries
  • November 2: MG entries
  • November 3: YA entries
  • November 7: Last day of Agent Showcase

For those of you new to Pitch Wars, check out “Pitch Wars 2017 … all the details!”. And come back July 19th to find your perfect mentor at the Mentor Blog Hop, running July 19-August 2!

PLEASE NOTE: This is the list of agents participating in the Agent Showcase in November. They are not mentors.

So check out the agents below and see what they’re looking for most in a manuscript. They’re listed in alphabetical order by the agency they work for. This post includes  A-J, and Part 2 includes K-Z.

So here they are . . . the second half of our Pitch Wars 2017 agents!


Janklow & Nesbit Associates

brooks shermanBrooks Sherman

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA, A

After graduating from Vassar College with a B.A. in Drama, Brooks Sherman worked for several years in the entertainment industry (in both New York and Los Angeles) before joining the Peace Corps and spending two years stationed in Burkina Faso, West Africa. Upon returning to the United States, he set his sights on the publishing industry, starting in 2011 as an assistant at FinePrint Literary Management and working his way up to literary agent, moving to the Bent Agency in 2014, and joining Janklow & Nesbit in 2017.

Brooks’s clients include #1 New York Times-bestselling and award-winning authors. For children’s books, he is on the lookout for middle-grade fiction of all genres (especially fantasy and contemporary), young adult fiction of all genres except paranormal romance, and character-driven picture books with an emphasis on humor. His interest in adult fiction runs the gamut from literary to speculative (particularly fantasy, horror, and psychological thriller). For nonfiction, he is seeking projects in the areas of humor, pop culture, politics, and narrative nonfiction.

Across all categories, Brooks seeks projects that balance strong voice with gripping plot. Ones that make him laugh earn extra points! He is particularly drawn to stories that elevate marginalized voices and where contemporary social issues are either prominently centered or woven into the worldbuilding; he prefers nuanced narratives over “issue books,” in which characters confront such issues over the course of larger personal journeys.

Brooks is a member of AAR and SCBWI. He lives in Brooklyn, but you can find him sharing publishing perspectives (and horrible puns) on Twitter at @byobrooks.


Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency


marie lambaMarie Lamba

Marie’s Website| Twitter | Facebook | MSWL

Represents: MG, YA, A

Marie Lamba (www.marielamba.com) is author of the young adult novels What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head and Drawn, and of the upcoming picture book Green, Green (Farrar Straus Giroux). Her articles appear in more than 100 publications, and she’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest.  Marie has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, a book publicist, and has taught classes on novel writing and on author promotion.

I’m currently seeking middle grade and young adult fiction and non-fiction, especially with diverse points of view, or a STEM tie-in. I also want general adult fiction and women’s fiction. I’d love to find an original women’s novel that would inspire the next smart and funny chick flick. I want memoirs with strong voices and unique, inspiring stories (especially foodie memoirs, or ones with a celebrity or pop culture connection). I also represent a select number of established illustrators and picture book authors. I’d love a fresh non-gory ghost story for any age. I’m fascinated with hidden treasures, artifacts and with discovering ancient civilizations right beneath our feet. I’m a huge fan of folklore and fairy tales, and, while I wouldn’t want a retelling, I always enjoy those elements woven into a story in a unique way. Overall, books that are original, moving and/or hilarious are especially welcome.

DSCN5454Cari Lamba


Represents: MG, YA, A

Prior to officially joining the team of agents, Cari Lamba interned for The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency for eight years. It wasn’t long into her internship before she knew she wanted to join the publishing world and help writers bring their books to life. Cari graduated from Franklin and Marshall College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature. She also studied literature at The Advanced Studies in England Program. She has experience as a bookseller and in content writing for online publications, such as Spoon University and Her Campus. Cari also handled media and publicity for those online publications, as well as for the Philadelphia Alumni Writers House.

Cari is looking for . . .

 Children’s: I’m interested in middle grade fiction with wacky plots (Roald Dahl is a favorite of mine) and characters that drive the story. I would also like contemporary stories that are both humorous and heartfelt. While I am not interested in stories with high fantasy, I would welcome elements of the fantastic and otherworldly. I want novels that will resonate with children without being didactic.

Adult: I’m looking for commercial fiction with original plots and clever characters. While I’m not interested in romance novels, elements of romance are welcome. I also have particular interest in mystery/detective fiction, and novels with culinary ties.

I’m NOT interested in science fiction, horror, high fantasy, Christian fiction, political novels, or books with extremely violent elements.

KT Literary

hillary harwellHilary Harwell

Website |  Twitter | Blog

Represents:  MG, YA

Hilary Harwell: Hilary joined the KT Literary team to support office operations and assist with queries and manuscripts, and now acts as Associate Agent with clients of her own. She graduated from the University of Colorado, Boulder, with a degree in Anthropology and went on to work in the back office of a major Swiss Investment Bank for eight years before deciding to trade numbers for letters. When not reading or editing or writing stories of her own, Hilary likes to hike the Rockies with her family and dreams of one day owning her own horses.

Hilary is looking for original dark fantasy (think Leigh Bardugo), heartfelt contemporary, psychological thrillers (YA), wilderness adventures, and stories told from diverse points of view. If you’re not sure if I’d like your project, just try me!


Kneerim & Williams Literary Agency

lucy clelandLucy Cleland

Website |  Twitter

Represents:  YA, A

LUCY CLELAND joined the agency in 2013 and serves as its Editorial & Dramatic Rights Manager, along with building her own list. She provides editorial support for the agents in the Boston office and administrative and creative support for Jill Kneerim, collaborating on clients’ proposals, editorial letters, and submission lists. Lucy graduated magna cum laude from Wellesley College, where she studied English and studio art. Previously she interned at Yale University Press and worked as a research assistant at the Emory Goizuetta Business School. Lucy enjoys reading and working on a variety of fiction and nonfiction, including unconventional cultural history, contemporary narrative nonfiction, literary-leaning vivid fiction, and YA with magnetic characters. She’s drawn to the lives of creatives and rebels, questions about identity and inheritance, Southern voices, and anything about food.

Lucy also coordinates the internship program; please email her directly with any inquiries.


Laura Dail Literary Agency

elana roth parkerElana Roth Parker

Website | Twitter | MSWL

Represents:  MG, YA

Elana has specialized in children’s publishing from the beginning of her career, from her very first internship at Nickelodeon Magazine followed by 5 years as an editor at Parachute Publishing. She’s been an agent since 2008, most recently at Red Tree Literary, which she founded in 2012.

Elana is a graduate of Barnard College and the Jewish Theological Seminary, with degrees in English literature and Bible. It’s the second degree which makes for more interesting conversation at cocktail parties.


Liza Dawson Associates Literary Agency

Jennifer-Johnson-Blalock-1Jennifer Johnson-Blalock

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA, A

Jennifer is seeking commercial and upmarket fiction, especially thrillers/mysteries/suspense, women’s fiction, contemporary romance, young adult, and middle grade.

She’s is especially interested in the following:

  • Smart, upmarket women’s fiction in the vein of J. Courtney Sullivan or commercial women’s fiction like Emily Giffin’s that subverts common tropes
  • Contemporary, realistic young adult with a strong voice and compelling characters (Nina LaCour; Stephanie Perkins; Leila Sales)
  • Literary realistic upper middle grade (COUNTING BY 7s)
  • Thrillers with a literary bent à la Tana French, Megan Abbott, and Robin Wasserman’s GIRLS ON FIRE, with a psychological focus and an unreliable protagonist (SISTER; GONE GIRL), or featuring an antihero/antiheroine (YOU)
  • Contemporary romance that feels fresh, young, and very current
  • Highly readable but deeply reported books rooted in psychology or sociology that use memorable research to explain why we act and think the way we do (ALL THE SINGLE LADIES; MODERN ROMANCE)
  • Politically minded issue books that put hot-button items like education into a realistic, holistic context or Washington insider narratives
  • History that’s quirky (THE SECRET HISTORY OF WONDER WOMAN) or has particular relevance to today’s issues (ON IMMUNITY)
  • Narratives of young, contemporary entrepreneurship (#GIRLBOSS)
  • Books that help you figure out how to do life better (THE HAPPINESS PROJECT; THE LIFE-CHANGING MAGIC OF TIDYING UP)
  • Chronicles of unique communities like competitive Scrabble players
  • Middle grade or young adult nonfiction that reads like a novel, particularly narrative history books about lesser known women or people of color
  • Cookbooks that tell a story about the person writing the book or the food itself, research-based health/diet books with programs that sane people would actually follow, or accessible books about wine or cocktails that strive to make reading about it as fun as drinking it
  • Food memoirs or novels that take the reader behind the scenes in a fresh way like SOUS CHEF–being VIPed at French Laundry is a recurring fantasy of Jennifer’s
  • All things football and basketball–Jennifer graduated from UT the year Vince Young brought home the National Championship, and her family in Oklahoma City never misses a Thunder game
  • Works situated in the classical dance world, indie/alternative music world, contemporary art world, or Hollywood at any point in history–working in the entertainment industry didn’t manage to squelch Jennifer’s enthusiasm for it
  • Anything related to her quirky list of loves: antiques, travel, speech & debate, adaptations, theater, Austin, bridge…
  • Absolutely any sort of book with a strong feminist slant
  • Diverse books and own voices across genres

When she’s not reading, Jennifer enjoys film, food, and travel.


McIntosh & Otis

Christa Heschke


Website | Twitter | Neverending Stories

Represents:  MG, YA

CHRISTA HESCHKE graduated from Binghamton University with a major in English and a minor in Anthropology. She started in publishing as an intern at both Writers House and Sterling Lord Literistic, where she fell in love with the agency side of publishing. Christa has been at McIntosh and Otis, Inc. in the Children’s Literature Department since 2009 where she is actively acquiring for all age groups in children’s.

For YA, she is especially interested in contemporary, thriller/mystery, fantasy and horror. She looks for a compelling voice and a strong hook that will set a YA novel apart in the flooded market. She is open to all types of middle grade and especially enjoys adventure, mystery, and magical realism. For both YA and MG, she is interested in unique settings and cultural influences, interesting structure, complicated romances, diverse characters, sister or friendship-centric stories, and stories that feature artists of any kind. In picture books she is drawn to cute, funny stories (as opposed to sweet and quiet) that will grab kids as well as the occasional nonfiction biography on a subject whose story has yet to be told.

Christa is not looking for any Adult fiction or non-fiction, paranormal or dystopian at this time.


Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Patrica Nelson


Website | Twitter | MSWL

Represents: MG, YA, A

Patricia Nelson has been a literary agent with Marsal Lyon Literary Agency since 2014, representing all genres of young adult and middle grade fiction, as well as women’s fiction, romance, and select literary fiction. She holds master’s degrees from the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Southern California and, prior to joining the world of publishing, spent several years teaching literature and writing at the college level. Patricia is actively building her list and is currently seeking new talent in all genres she represents.


Nelson Literary Agency


kristin nelsonKristin Nelson, Founder and President

Twitter | Publishers Marketplace | Facebook | Pub Rants

Represents: MG, YA, A

Kristin established Nelson Literary Agency, LLC, in 2002 and over the last decade+ of her career has represented over thirty-five New York Times bestselling titles and many USA Today bestsellers.  Clients include Jamie Ford, Hugh Howey, Gail Carriger, Josh Malerman, J.D. Barker, Marie Lu, Ally Carter, Stacey Lee, Simone Elkeles, Jasinda Wilder, Jana DeLeon, Courtney Milan, and RITA-award winners Kristen Callihan, Sherry Thomas, and Linnea Sinclair.

She is currently looking for literary commercial novels, big crossover novels with one foot squarely in genre, upmarket women’s fiction, lead title or hardcover science fiction and fantasy, single-title romance (with a special passion for historicals), and young adult and upper-level middle grade novels in all genres.

When she is not busy selling books, Kristin attempts to play golf & tennis. She also enjoys playing Bridge (where she is the youngest person in her club), and can be found hiking in the mountains with her husband and their dog Chutney.


Joanna-MacKenzie-Cropped-160x240Joanna MacKenzie

Twitter | Publishers Marketplace | MSWL

Represents: MG, YA, A

From Joanna MacKenzie: I owe my love of books to the librarian of my childhood bookmobile, who, after I had worked my way through The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High, lifted the velvet rope and let me in to the grown-up section, where I discovered V.C. Andrews. And to my father, who gifted me Cat’s CradleWuthering Heights, and One Hundred Years of Solitude for my 15th birthday.  In 2002, I got my start in publishing at a Chicago-based literary agency and while there, I successfully placed numerous manuscripts that have gone on to become critically acclaimed, award-winning, and bestselling novels.  I love working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revisions) and am committed to the stories my clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers the build.

As a Chicago-based agent, I am excited to join the Nelson Literary Agency team and to expand my list in both adult and YA. I’m looking for the epic read that, at its center, beats with a universal heart.  In particular, I’m drawn to smart and timely women’s fiction, as well as absorbing, character-driven mysteries and thrillers – both, ideally, with a little edge.  I have a weird obsession with, what I call, “child in jeopardy lit” and can’t get enough kick-ass mom heroines.  On the YA side, I’m interested in coming of age stories that possess a confident voice and characters I can’t stop thinking about.

Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, I’m all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are – parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.

Danielle-Burby-Cropped-160x240Danielle Burby

Twitter | Publishers Marketplace

Represents: MG, YA, A

Based in New York City, Danielle became an agent at Nelson Literary Agency (NLA) in January 2017. Previously, she was an agent at a NYC-based firm where she managed foreign rights in addition to building her client roster. She also interned at several top agencies and publishers before graduating from Hamilton College with a dual degree in creative writing and women’s studies.

Danielle represents all genres of YA and MG along with select passion projects on the adult side in women’s fiction, sci-fi/fantasy, and mystery. She particularly enjoys complex female characters, quirky adventures, narratives that ask readers to think deeply, girls with swords, and seaside novels. Danielle also looks for a strong narrative voice and characters she wants to spend time with. For more information about her wishlist, check out NLA’s Submission Guidelines page. You can find details about her recent sales on Publishers Marketplace.


New Leaf Literary Agency


suzie townsendSuzie Townsend


Represents: MG, YA, NA, A

Prior to joining New Leaf, Suzie graduated film school, earned her Masters of Education, taught high school English, and coached a swim team. In her spare time, she read everything she could, which prompted her move to publishing. She got her start as an intern at FinePrint Literary Management where she was hired as an assistant before making the move to literary agent. She’s been part of the team at New Leaf Literary & Media since its inception in 2012.

Suzie represents all brands of children’s and adult fiction. She loves women’s fiction, all subgenres of romance, fantasy, and crime fiction. On the children’s side, she particularly loves YA and MG. Suzie loves strong characters and voice-driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres, and she’s always looking for unique new voices in stories.

For more info on her clients, recent sales and forthcoming projects, please go here.

JaidaJaida Temperly


Represents: MG, YA, NA, A

Jaida’s primary focus is adult fiction, with a special affinity for literary fiction, magical realism, historical fiction, upmarket fiction, horror, and speculative. She also loves stories that shed light on marginalized experiences and question the “status-quo”, as well as titles that include #OwnVoices themes, international settings, political commentary, conspiracy theories, and alternate histories. Some of her all-time favorite adult fiction titles include: THE VEGETARIAN by Han Kang, THE SELLOUT by Paul Beatty, THE DINNER by Herman Koch, JONATHAN STRANGE & MR. NORRELL by Susanna Clarke, and A THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF THE DOG IN THE NIGHT-TIME by Mark Haddon.

Jaida is also interested in select prescriptive nonfiction with a commercial edge, such as YOU ARE A BADASS by Jen Sincero and THE POWER OF HABIT by Charles Duhigg, and forgotten/untold stories like HIDDEN FIGURES by Margot Lee Shetterly and the film LAND OF MINE. She enjoys narrative nonfiction titles that explore the darker corners of the human experience, such as STIFF by Mary Roach and SMOKE GETS IN YOUR EYES by Caitlin Doughty.

Finally, Jaida is on the lookout for outstanding YA and MG titles. Similar to her adult taste, she loves magical realism, literary fiction, fantasy, historical, and speculative titles, as well as those that push the boundaries between YA/adult. Some of her all-time favorite children’s titles include: CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber, THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, THE GREENGLASS HOUSE by Kate Milford, THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY by Trenton Lee Stewart, and NIGHTBIRD by Alice Hoffman.

Prior to joining New Leaf Literary, Jaida studied biology at The University of Wisconsin-Madison, and briefly attended medical school before moving to NYC to intern at Writers House. She loves art history, traveling, logic puzzles, secret societies, antiques, and numerous other topics that come in handy for Trivia Night and crossword puzzles.

PS Literary

maria vicenteMaria Vicente

PS Literary | Maria’s Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA, A

Maria Vicente is an associate agent at P.S. Literary Agency, specializing in children’s fiction and nonfiction projects for readers of all ages. As an editorial agent, she provides support to her clients through all stages of the writing and publication process. Her publishing career began as an intern with Bree Ogden at D4EO Literary Agency, and she also interned at P.S. Literary before joining the agency as an associate agent. Maria holds a B.A. in English Literature from Carleton University and a B.Ed. from the University of Western Ontario. She has affinities for literary prose, diverse characters, original storytelling formats, and anything geeky.

The Park Literary Group

PetePeter Knapp

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA

Fueled by the thrill of reading a new story for the first time, Peter works creatively with clients and the PLM team on marketing, branding initiatives and promotions to get great books into the hands of readers. Before joining PLM, he was a story editor at a book-scouting agency working with film clients, and he continues to look for new ways to partner with Hollywood on adaptations and multimedia properties. Find him re-watching Studio Ghibli movies, playing board games with friends, or right here to submit a new fiction query—he’s ready to add more authors to his growing client list!

blair wilsonBlair Wilson

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA

A contract master, Blair works alongside our co-agents to negotiate publishing agreements outside of the United States with a focus on Eastern Europe, South Korea and the Baltic states. After a day of executing foreign taxes for authors or assisting with submissions, you might just find this North Carolina native teaching textile arts classes at the American Folk Art Museum and Textile Arts Center in New York City. This creative studied Victorian Literature but has truly fallen in love with the voices of new and emerging authors, making PLM a perfect fit for her. She is actively building her own list of clients in the areas of middle grade and young adult fiction and adult non-fiction with a focus on D.I.Y., lifestyle, pop culture, pets, and books dealing with issues of sexuality, identity and culture.


Prospect Agency

Website | Twitter

carrie-pestrittoCarrie Prestritto


Represents: Upper MG, YA, A

From Carrie Prestritto: I have been passionate about books for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I drew out illustrations for Cinderella, my favorite bedtime story, and made my mother write the text, editing it to give Cinderella a fairy tale life right from the get-go. My editorial style has changed a lot since then, although I continue to be a very collaborative who enjoys brainstorming with authors and working closely with them to shape their careers!

For non-fiction projects, I look for authors that have a strong platform, such as a popular blog, published articles, or related professional experience. I love quirky memoirs that bring me into an atypical life situation, and non-fiction that reveals little-known aspects of history. Cutting edge relationship or dieting books, pop psychology, and pop science are also interesting to me.

In the fiction arena, I’m drawn in by complex, female characters, fantastic voices, steamy love triangles, unusual premises, or re-imaginings of classical books. I love feeling connected with characters and immersed in the world I am reading about, whether that be 19th century Holland or a land ruled by elemental magic. I am on the lookout for description and detail that will make me feel like I am inside the story and interest me in a subject I never thought I would want to read about—or, conversely, introduce me to startling facts about something or someone that I believed I already knew everything about.


Red Fox Literary

abigail samounAbigail Samoun

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA

Before co-founding Red Fox Literary, LLC with Karen Grencik in 2011, ABIGAIL SAMOUN was an in-house children’s book editor for over ten years. Her books received such honors as the CCBC Charlotte Zolotow award, the New York Public Library Ezra Jack Keats award, the SCBWI Golden Kite, and the Pura Belpre Honor. As an agent, Abigail now represents authors and illustrators working in a range of genres, from board books to young adult novels. Her clients include author/illustrator Hannah Harrison whose debut, Extraordinary Jane, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, Kirkus, and School Library Journal. Harrison’s picture book was Red Fox’s first project to go to auction. Fellow clients Chris Pallace and Kevin Serwacki wrote and illustrated Joey and Johnny, the Ninjas, an illustrated middle-grade series that received four offers before being bought by Donna Bray at HarperCollins/Balzer&Bray.

In addition to agenting, Abigail is the author of several children’s books, including Sterling Publishing’s Little Traveler board book series illustrated by Red Fox’s own Sarah Watts.

Abigail likes to organize her library according to which authors would get along well together (the Brontes next to George Elliot, Lois Lowry next to Margaret Atwood). She lives in Sonoma, California with her entomologist husband, two dogs, a gaggle of chickens, and a curious little boy named Tristan.


Ruben Pfeffer Content

Melissa Nasson headshotMelissa Nasson

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA
Melissa Nasson has spent her life living in and around Boston, attending college at Boston University (Go Terriers!). While studying at Boston University School of Law, she realized that becoming a literary agent would combine her passion for books with her legal background, and she began interning at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, and later at East-West Literary Agency and Rubin Pfeffer Content. After taking the bar exam in 2012, Melissa worked as a foreign rights intern at Perseus Books Group before starting as contracts director at Beacon Press. Now, she continues her work at Beacon Press while actively building her list as an associate agent at Rubin Pfeffer Content. Melissa loves dogs, craft beer, making pickles, tending to her tiny vegetable garden, and her pet tortoise, Norton.

Melissa is seeking middle-grade and young adult fiction. She is open to all genres, but has a special love for fantasy and science fiction. She enjoys unexpected settings and loves a good romantic angle. Above all, she wants to see strong, polished writing, fully developed and multifaceted characters, and fresh concepts.

Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency


literary-agent-jessica-wattersonJessica Watterson


Represents: YA , A

Jessica is actively building her list and is most interested in all genres of romance, especially historical, contemporary, romantic suspense, and paranormal. She greatly enjoys romance novels with strong characters that jump right off the page and a plot that stays with the reader long after the book has finished. She is also interested in young adult fiction that takes the reader on an emotionally satisfying journey, whether that be in far off places or at home. Jessica also loves select Women’s Fiction that concerns elements of life that greatly change one’s perspective and outlook on culture and events one experiences.

She is also interested in author illustrated picture books that capture the joy and fun of reading between adults and children.

jennifer kimJennifer Kim

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA , A

Jennifer Kim is a junior agent at the Dijkstra Agency. In addition to actively building her own list, she provides support to the team at SDLA.

A graduate from the University of California Irvine, Jennifer holds a B.A. in English Literature and Spanish Literature, and spent a year studying Spanish literature and culture at the University of Barcelona. She also works as a bookseller, having done so since 2012.

In YA Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Jennifer is looking for multicultural projects featuring multi-dimensional, even flawed protagonists from diverse backgrounds. She enjoys unique, high concept stories, rooted in mythology or legend, with strong world building and character development. She especially appreciates atmospheric settings.

In contemporary YA, Jennifer is looking for unique, uncommon teen stories with an authentic voice. She enjoys stories that tackle themes of being an outsider, displacement, race, sexuality, and self-discovery, and is particularly drawn to bicultural characters and stories centered around subcultures, countercultures, and found families.

In the Middle Grade realm, Jennifer is drawn to stories that don’t shy away from scary or tough subjects. She enjoys witty, whimsy stories, and values tales of friendship, families and found-families, and discovery. She is particularly drawn to stories that feature characters with unique and interesting hobbies or skills.

In the adult market, Jennifer is particularly drawn to eccentric, unusual stories. She values a distinct narrative voice and memorable characters and settings, and is drawn to travel narratives, historical fiction, coming of age stories, family sagas, stories of displacement, and magical realism.

In general, Jennifer loves literary writing, with challenging themes and characters. She is excited to add writers of diversity (including, but not limited to, all ethnicity, sexual orientation, mental and physical health, and socioeconomic status) to her client list.


Sarah Jane Freyman Literary Agency

JBKWallpaper3essica Sinsheimer


Website Twitter | ManuscriptWishList.com

Represents: MG, YA, NA, A

Jessica Sinsheimer is officially open to all genres but is particularly interested right now in the following:

Whatever the age group, she tends to love contrast–highbrow sentences and lowbrow content, beautiful settings and ugly motives–the books that are beautiful and scary, heartbreaking and hilarious. She loves secrets, scheming, revenge, plotting–and stories that have to be written forward and backward to make sense (SHE LOVES discovering a very cleverly planted clue that makes sense in retrospect). She loves watching powerful people navigate their public and private lives. As you can probably imagine, she’s totally addicted to House of Cards (she loves that Frank is both warm AND evil), Scandal, Revenge, and Pretty Little Liars. And also The Avengers from 1965 onward. Everyone should watch that show.

More diverse characters, please–especially those with power, agency, and happy endings. Wish fulfillment, romance, specialized skills (especially tech), taking over the world. We need to see more of that.

Upmarket genre fiction (whether for YA or adult).

For YA: Any subgenre. She’s serious.

She’s into the books that are mostly in our world–but then that veer slightly into surrealism (like Aimee Bender) or genre fiction. But if the voice is wonderful, she can love just about anything. She has a particular interest in retellings (of classic movies–she’d LOVE a book version of, say, Arsenic and Old Lace or, better yet, Gaslight–or fairytales), and characters who are genuinely flawed but (usually) well-meaning.

Also welcome: fictionalizations of historical events. She’d love to read about, say, John Snow and The Broad Street Pump.

And new twists on familiar stories. A female James Bond, for example.

She also loves characters in love–who try to deal with it intellectually (like The Rosie Project, Kurt in The Truth About Alice–and one of her books, Love And Other Unknown Variables). She really hopes someone writes a book version of the movie Her. Similarly, she loved The Love Affairs of Nathaniel P. And she’s really fond of Gus on the new Netflix show, Love.

Let’s just assume that if you have a book with dapper men/cooking/bow ties/mischief/sassy protagonists, she’ll love it.

For romance, she loves voices like Sarah MacLean (that snappy dialogue!) and Julia Quinn (that mischief!).

She loves the sort of mischief that appears in Paper Towns, too. (That poor smashed fish!) Also good: I Love You Beth Cooper. She admits to having a soft spot for boy humor, if it ultimately comes from a good place.

She’d love a lot more humor in general in her inbox. Think My Drunk Kitchen, Broad City–someone should write a NA version!, Mindy Kaling, 30 Rock, and Garfunkel and Oates (particularly the 29/31 video–also a great plot bunny) are hilarious. Also check out the Bad Query Contest entry about the toaster in love with a bath. For some reason, bad things happening with appliances and/or fire usually amuse her. As long as everyone ends up okay.


Sterling Lord Literistic

sarah landisSarah Landis

Website Twitter

Represents: MG, YA

Before joining Sterling Lord Literistic in 2017, Sarah worked as an editor for fifteen years, holding roles at G.P. Putnam Son’s, Hyperion Books, HarperCollins Children’s Books, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers. Over the course of her career, Sarah has had the pleasure of editing many talented authors including the likes of: Jodi Lynn Anderson, Kasie West, Claudia Gray, Michael Buckley, Eileen Cook, Erin Summerill, and Megan Shepherd.

Sarah is actively looking for middle grade and young adult fiction and nonfiction across all genres. She is particularly drawn to middle grade fantasy and contemporary with heart, humor, and magic. In the young adult space, she has an affinity for southern voices, high-concept plots, sci-fi/fantasy, historical, mysteries & thrillers, and emotionally compelling contemporary. Sarah graduated with a BA in English from the University of Virginia. Sarah accepts email queries at slandis@sll.com.


Stonesong Literary Agency

Melissa Edwards PhotoMelissa Edwards

Website | Twitter

Represents:  MG, YA, A

Melissa Edwards joined Stonesong as a literary agent in August 2016. Previously, she was a literary agent at the Aaron Priest Literary Agency, where she managed the foreign rights for a 40-year backlist. After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis and Vanderbilt Law School, Melissa began her career as a litigation attorney before transitioning into publishing. She is a tireless advocate for her clients and a constant partner during the publication process and beyond.

Melissa represents authors of children’s fiction, adult commercial fiction, and select pop-culture nonfiction. She is looking for warm and timeless middle grade fiction and accessible young adult fiction. For adults, she is looking for fast-paced thrillers and smart women’s fiction. She can be found on Twitter @MelissaLaurenE, where she often tweets her active Manuscript Wishlist requests under #MSWL.

emmanuelleEmmanuelle Morgen

MSWL | Twitter

Emmanuelle Morgen joined Stonesong as an agent in January 2012. Previously she was an agent at Judith Ehrlich Literary and Wendy Sherman Associates, and an editor at Fodor’s/Random House. She enjoys developing long-term relationships with her clients, working closely with them to build their literary careers.

Emmanuelle represents adult and children’s fiction, as well as narrative nonfiction in the areas of memoir, psychology, sociology, and popular science and culture. In children’s books, she reads and represents every genre. In adult books, she is looking for women’s fiction, historical fiction, romance, dark literary fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and memoir.


Talcott Notch Literary Agency

TN Website

saba-picSaba Sulaiman

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA, A

From Saba Sulaiman: I was drawn into the world of literature by default when my sister’s growing collection of books in our tiny room began to overflow onto my bed. Bewildered by her fascination with these musty, decaying volumes, I decided to experience them for myself—and instantly fell in love. Born to Pakistani expatriates in Sri Lanka, and knowing how to express myself only in English for the first fifteen years of my life, I found comfort in reading about other culturally displaced people, unable to communicate in their native tongues, and hesitant to assert themselves in environments where there were few examples of people like them. Moving to Pakistan and absorbing what it meant to be an educated woman in a traditional Islamic society contributed greatly to my desire to learn more about similar narratives, especially from other women. In an effort to understand how it felt to be surrounded by other ambitious women with the desire to shatter patriarchal restrictions, I enrolled as an undergraduate at Wellesley College. And the rest, as they say, is history

After double majoring in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies at Wellesley, I studied modern Persian Literature at the University of Chicago, where I got involved with editing our department’s academic journal. And it finally hit me—working closely with writers to hone their craft; seeing a piece of writing from its inception through to its eventual publication; and advocating for what I believed was stellar prose worthy of recognition—this was my calling. So I interned at various newspaper and magazine publications, worked as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, and then wound up at Talcott Notch, where I’m excited to begin my career as a literary agent.

I’m currently open to the following genres:

Adult: up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir.

Young Adult: all subgenres except paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. I’m particularly interested in contemporary realistic YA — anything with heart, humor, and personality. But if you’ve got a fast-paced, chilling mystery, I’m all ears.

Middle Grade: anything that’s smart, accessible and written with flair. Whether it’s quirky and funny, or just plain sweet and heartwarming — it’s no big secret that this is my favorite category. Also, I’d love anything Roald Dahl-esque.

Non-fiction: humor.

I’m looking for strong voices and unconventional narratives that really make me sit up, pay attention, and move me. Introduce me to unforgettable characters with complex, deep relationships, and show me worlds where things aren’t necessarily as they seem. Intelligent, sharp writing with soul is my biggest weakness, and if you can offer a fresh perspective on top of that, I’ll probably be sold.

Also — and this deserves its own paragraph — I’m all about diversity, in all its various forms. Bonus points if your book contains multicultural perspectives, and themes of immigration, displacement, and cultural adjustment.

When I’m not reading, you’ll probably find me learning another foreign language, playing Scrabble, watching a Bollywood movie, or singing in the bathroom (the acoustics, am I right?)


The Bent Agency


jenny_bentJenny Bent


Represents: MG, YA, A

Jenny Bent represents literary and commercial adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction. She also represents nonfiction in the areas of memoir, humor and select narrative nonfiction.

From Jenny: I was born in New York City but grew up in Harrisonburg, Virginia in a house full of books where I spent many lazy afternoons reading in a sunny window seat. I went on to England to get a BA/MA with first class honors from Cambridge University, and then worked at several boutique agencies before joining Trident Media Group in 2003. In 2009 I left to found The Bent Agency. In the course of my career, I have represented a great many New York Times bestselling authors, a list which currently includes Stephanie Garber, AG Howard, Governor John Kasich, Lori Nelson Spielman, Goldy Moldavsky, Yangsze Choo, Lynn Weingarten, Lynsay Sands, Lori Wilde and Julia London.

I’m currently looking for commercial and literary fiction for adults and children as well as select nonfiction including memoir and humor. In adult fiction, I particularly enjoy women’s fiction and crime/suspense. I also love novels—for grown-ups or children—that have an element of magic or fantasy to them or that take me into a strange and new world, whether real or imaginary. All of the books that I represent speak to the heart in some way: they are linked by genuine emotion, inspiration and great writing and story telling. I love books that make me laugh, make me cry, or ideally do both.

Heather Flaherty

Twitter | Heather’s Website

Represents: MG, YA, A

Heather Flaherty represents Adult, YA, and Middle-Grade Fiction and Nonfiction.

From Heather: I grew up in Massachusetts, and worked in New York City as a playwright during college. After a lot of country-hopping in my early twenties, I began my publishing career in the editorial department at Random House UK. I then became a literary scout, advising foreign publishers and Hollywood on the next big books. Now, as an agent, I’m thrilled to focus on helping authors find that same success.

For YA fiction, I’m looking across the board in all genres. I especially love my YA Fantasy – whether epic and sweeping, or dark and gritty. I also adore good issue-related YA with humor and heart, and punchy contemporary YA that doesn’t hesitate when it comes to crazy. I’m a sucker for clever retellings of classic fairytales, myths, and folklore, as well as really good horror—not gory for gory’s sake, but dark, twisted, complicated, and even lovely.

As for Middle-Grade, I want it stark, honest, and even dark; contemporary or historical, as long as it’s accessible. Coming-of-age stories, dealing-with-difficulty stories, witness stories about adult issues seen through a child’s eyes, anything that makes you want to hold the narrator’s hand. These stories can have magical or fantasy elements as well.

On the Adult side, I’m looking for complex female-centric Thrillers and Commercial Women’s Fiction with solid storytelling and strong voices, both contemporary and historical. I’m also always on the lookout for fantastic Upmarket projects that bridge the gap between commercial and literary lists. And, I have a sweet-spot for good Horror; stories that are deep, dark, and disturbingly intricate.

Beth_PhelanBeth Phelan

Website | Twitter 

Represents: MG, YA, A

As an agent, Beth is drawn to voice and emotional resonance in young adult contemporary, surprising new worlds in YA and MG fantasy, and strong literary voices in middle grade, plus savvy and evocative writing in adult fiction. She is particularly fond of stories with smart humor and a touch of the bittersweet. Beth is a graduate of New York University, and joined the Bent Agency in 2013 after holding positions at Waxman Leavell Literary and Howard Morhaim Literary. Beth is the creator of #EATTHEBOOK (an Instagram series that pairs book covers with food) and #DVpit (a Twitter event for marginalized creators). She can be found at bethphelan.comthebentagency.com, and on Twitter/Instagram at @beth_phelan. 


The Deborah Harris Agency

PictureRena Bunder Rossner

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA, NA, A

Rena is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University’s Writing Seminars Program, where she double-majored in poetry and non-fiction writing. She studied at Trinity College, Dublin and holds an MA in History from McGill University in Montreal, Canada. She worked at bookstores in four countries, has written extensively for The Jerusalem Report and The Jerusalem Post, and worked in PR, grant-writing, and website development at The Jerusalem Foundation. She is a writer of both fiction and poetry as well as the author of the cookbook EATING THE BIBLE, which has been translated into five languages.

Rena is interested in representing Science Fiction, Fantasy and Speculative Fiction in all genres, Adult Literary and Contemporary Fiction especially Upmarket Women’s Fiction, Historical Fiction and Thrillers. She is also actively seeking Young Adult, Middle Grade and Picture Books.


TriadaUS Literary Agency

Website | Twitter

UweDr. Uwe Stender, President


Represents: MG, YA, A

Literary Agent Dr. Uwe Stender is a Full Member of the AAR (Association of Authors’ Representatives). He is interested in all kinds of non-fiction and fiction. In non-fiction, he is completely open to any project, from Memoir, Pop Culture, and Health to How-to, Gardening, History and everything in between, including non-fiction for children. In Children’s fiction, he is looking for YA, MG and PBs. In adult fiction, his tastes trend towards Women’s Fiction, Psychological Suspense, and Mysteries.  As an immigrant to the USA himself, he is always eager to bring projects from underrepresented voices into the world. So surprise him, his tastes are eclectic, and he may just love what you wrote!

His favorite five novels right now are: Six FourCaraval, Eleanor And ParkHigh Fidelity, and Wonder.

BrentBrent Taylor

Twitter | MSWL | Publisher’s Marketplace

Represents: MG, YA, A

Literary Agent Brent Taylor’s tastes can best be described as upmarket: stories that are extremely well-written, robust with emotion, and appeal to a wide, commercial audience

He is seeking smart, fun, and heartfelt books in the following categories: picture books, chapter books, middle grade, young adult, and graphic novels for kids and teens. His favorite books include: Charlotte’s WebThe Thing About JellyfishThe Vast Fields of Ordinary, Please Ignore Vera Dietz, and The Westing Game.

fall2016colorLaura Crockett


Represents: YA, A

Associate Literary Agent Laura Crockett is interested in a variety of YA and adult fiction.

In YA, she is interested in contemporary realistic fiction (such as study abroad experiences, strong female friendships, falling in love, mental health, diversity, LGBTQ) and fantasy (particularly with excellent world-building, authentic characterization, fantasy inspired by fairytales and other cultures’ mythology, and historical fantasy). Some favorite titles include FangirlThe Lie Tree, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, All the Bright Places, Shadowfell, When We Collided, Anna and the French Kiss, A Shadow Bright and Burning,The Star-Touched Queenand The Winner’s Curse.

In adult fiction, she is interested in contemporary women’s fiction (heartfelt, juicy moral dilemmas, historical bends with parallel narratives), humorous chick-lit (especially if it’s millennial-driven), and fantasy (excellent world-building, authentic characterization, fantasy inspired by fairytales and other cultures’ mythology, and historical fantasy). Some favorite titles include The Night Circus, Outlander, The Queen of Blood, Daughter of the Forest, The Winter Witch, The Hating Game, and authors like Jodi Picoult, Kate Morton, Gayle Forman, and Sophie Kinsella.

mallory brownMallory Brown


Represents: YA, A

Literary Agent Assistant Mallory C. Brown is seeking young adult, women’s fiction, adult, and non-fiction. She is especially drawn to pieces with strong character-driven plots and witty humor. She loves contemporary fiction, fantasy, magical realism, and romance. Mallory also appreciates a well-placed comma and hopes you do, too.

Some of Mallory’s favorites at the moment are: The Presidents ClubBringing up Bébé, The Charlotte Holmes trilogy, Alex and Eliza, and Leave Me.

headshotLauren Spieller


Represents: MG, YA, A

Assistant Literary Agent Lauren Spieller is seeking Middle Grade and Young Adult fiction, as well as select Adult fiction and non-fiction. Whatever the age category or genre, Lauren is passionate about representing #ownvoices.

In MG, she’s drawn to heartfelt contemporaries, contemporary fantasy and magical realism, and STEM-friendly stories. Some of her recent favorites are Rules for Stealing Stars, George, Savvy, Wonder, Hour of the Bees, and Rooftoppers. She’s also dying for a NASA book!

In YA, she’d love to find authentic teen voices in any and all genres. She is especially fond of high concept fantasy, magical realism, and space operas; contemporary stories with a hook; and anything with a feminist bent. A few favorites include Dumplin’, The Raven Cycle, Female of the Species, An Ember in the Ashes, Six of Crows, When Dimple Met Rishi, and Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda. 

In Adult, Lauren is seeking twisted, female-driven psychological thrillers in the vein of Lauren Beukes and Gillian Flynn, immersive literary fantasies like The Night Circus, voicey Space Operas or unique spec-fic, and female-driven Upmarket Fiction (especially if it’s funny or involves a touch of magical realism!). She is also open to unique non-fiction with an existing platform. In particular, she’d love to see counter culture books, cocktail/coffee books with a twist/theme, and fun pop-culture projects. An existing platform is a MUST.

amelia-appel-headshotAmelia Appel 


Represents: MG, YA, A

Literary Agent Assistant Amelia Appel joined Triada after previously assisting at McIntosh & Otis, Inc. and Writers House. She is seeking adult fiction, non-fiction, and occasional YA.

For adult fiction, she is most interested in literary fiction, mystery, thriller, upmarket women’s fiction, science fiction and fantasy, and horror. Projects with a smart, distinct voice, a fantastic setting to jump into, and/or a witty protagonist are all up her alley. She is not looking for romance novels.

For adult non-fiction, she is primarily looking for creative non-fiction, humor, sports, how-to, pop culture, and true crime. She is not looking to represent memoir.

For YA, she is particularly interested in stories with a savvy protagonist and a slightly dark tone that deal with serious coming-of-age issues well.


Trident Media Group

alyssa eisner henkinAlyssa Eisner Henkin

Website | Twitter

Represents: MG, YA


When Alyssa Eisner Henkin became an editorial assistant in 1999 she was just happy to have coworkers who loved Anne of Green Gables as much as she did. Little did she know, over the next decade children’s publishing would become the fastest-growing genre in reading and entertainment.

Alyssa candidly admits that she did not foresee the magnitude of this when she became an agent. “I joined Trident because I wanted to be an entrepreneur, to have a more direct impact on authors’ careers, and to use both my creative and business acumen”. While at Trident, Alyssa has been able to take advantage of changing formats and venues for her clients. “Most companies consider the international market to be secondary,” says Alyssa, “but at Trident, we view foreign as a ‘must’ market, and my clients are pleased to find their books selling around the world.”

“Through all of the growth and change”, Alyssa emphasizes, “there is no doubt that the key elements of storytelling have remained the same. The book that cannot be put down will continue to hold value, whether as a groundbreaking app, or as a beloved and tattered paperback that still reigns your bookshelf.” Alyssa considers it a great privilege to represent books that readers cannot put down.

In middle grade and young adult fiction and memoir, Alyssa craves tight plotting, lyrical prose, rich regional flavors, and unexpected conclusions. She especially enjoys mysteries, period pieces, contemporary school-settings, issues of social justice, family sagas, eerie magical realism, and retellings of classics.

Above all, Alyssa digs deep when she sees potential, from editing, to title brainstorming, to securing the best publisher, to devising new marketing ideas and making ancillary sales across all forms of media. “There’s no greater professional joy than championing a book that you believe in and watching the world delight in it.”

Writers House, A Literary Agency


brianne johnsonBrianne Johnson


Publisher’s Marketplace | Twitter

Represents:  MG, YA, A

From Brianne: I started at Writers House as starry-eyed intern in 2007 and worked my way up to Senior Agent over several years. I LOVE what I do, and am cultivating a pretty omnivorous list. My main focus is children’s books, but I also love some select adult fiction and offbeat nonfiction-—see below for a more precise breakdown.


I’m extra-crazy-picky with taking on picture books, but I do love them and rep them. I would love a great picture book series, like a Fancy Nancy or a Knuffle Bunny—something where we could see fabulous, memorable characters encounter a variety of new circumstances. My tastes tend to run toward the funny, here—very sweet, gentle picture books are just not for me. The same goes for chapter books. I’m particularly on the lookout for humorous, entertaining, illustrated chapter books that also have some kind of educational angle to them, something that could be brought into a classroom to supplement the new Common Core Standards, and ALSO something a kid would gleefully reach for, themselves.

I’m also very interested in seeing illustration work for cover design and picture books, and love author/illustrators.

I have a great love for middle grade—bring on the whimsical, the imaginative, the dark/crass/wacky/hilarious. Roald Dahl’s bizarre flights of fancy comprise some of the most pleasurable reading time of my life, and I love lower-fantasy in general—-I would go live at Hogwarts if I could..! It’s a career goal of mine to rep a Newbery winner. I grew up reading Karen Cushman, Sharon Creech, and Scott O’Dell’s books until they fell apart in my hands. I’d love to find a historical MG that is also fun and exciting–a lot of submissions I see for this genre are a little too serious/earnest for my taste. Really, I’d just love to find a fresh, beautiful, fun, thoughtful story that makes that first real step into adulthood seem brand-new, all over again. I’d love to find a great middle grade series!

I’m also looking for exciting, high-concept, gobble-down-in-one-sitting YA novels that keep me up way past my bedtime (I love creepy/horror/suspense, historical, historical fantasy, and creative fantasy in general) as well as beautiful, literary works that explore the coming-of-age theme from a truly original angle and beg for multiple re-readings. I’m a huge Francesca Lia Block fan, and tend to gravitate toward stories featuring offbeat, alternate-lifestyle protagonists who trailblaze their own weird and wonderful paths through life–I want unforgettable characters that I’d follow anywhere, who burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars.


What I’m really on the hunt for are juicy, well-researched historical novels—I adore Geraldine Brooks, and one of my favorite reads of all time is Clan of the Cave Bear by Jean Auel (the first few books, before they devolve into cave porn).

That said, I’m open to other genres. I want something different, and I adore psychologically complex genre-benders. I’m a huge fan of Stephen King and Gillian Flynn, and I love being scared out of my wits in creepy, atmospheric, unexpected ways. I am in love with Liane Moriarty right now, and would love to find an upmarket, darkly-funny “domestic suspense” novel.

My ultimate adult project wish list would include a romantic historical with some unique fantasy elements, a horror novel with fantasy elements, a literary, Beat-like coming-of-age, a thrilling survival tale with well-researched, back-to-the-land details, and a dark, witchy, semi-realistic novel (think a modern-day Practical Magic or Garden Spells). I love a good cabal, coven, karass–secret histories of all stripes.

I’m pretty excited about the crossover category. In general, I’m interested in reading about younger adults and this rich, peculiar, “second coming-of-age”, where one is really exploring what it means to be an adult in the 21st century. I read FANGIRL by Rainbow Rowell this year and absolutely loved it. Like my YA interests, I love stories set in the counter-culture, quirky love stories with a stand-out hook, and subtle twists of fantasy or magical realism.

The one link I have throughout the many genres I’m interested in is humor. It doesn’t necessarily have to be silly humor—sometimes it’s more interesting to find humor in darker settings—but I do love a story can illuminate something about humanity AND make me laugh. Life is serious enough. Reading should be a joy.

*** I am now twittering on The Tweeter. Still pretty new at it. Come watch me put my virtual foot in my virtual mouth @SecretAgentBri


The first half of our Pitch Wars Agents are here in Part 1!

We appreciate our Pitch Wars 2017 agents for taking the time to come to the agent round and support the Pitch Wars community. Please use this opportunity to get to know them and thank them on twitter.

And come back July 19th for the Pitch Wars Blog Hop! There’s going to be a fun surprise!


We're thrilled at the different ways those in our Pitch Wars community are giving back—and we encourage them to do so. However, please keep in mind that Pitch Wars is not affiliated with any of these various contests, promotions, etc., including those of our mentors and mentees. Promoting any such opportunities via our social media channels doesn't imply endorsement or affiliation. We encourage you to do your research before participating.

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