Writers House is a full-service literary agency that was founded in 1973. I interned in the New York offices before starting in our CA branch in 2013. Since then, as Steven Malk's assistant, I've had the privilege of working closely with a variety of extraordinarily talented bestselling and award-winning authors and illustrators of works ranging from very young picture books to middle grade and young adult, and I'm now a junior agent seeking clients who work in primarily those genres.
Artful, human, and/or humorous picture books that are driven by expressive characters are for me! I seek artwork with something fresh going on (or that pays homage to a classic with its own modern layering). As much as I love spare text and message, I adore detailed art spreads that you can find something new in with each read and whimsical, immersive atmospheres. I'd love to find a unique and/or funny character-based picture book series or early reader. I'm additionally a fan of sweet and gentle picture books that make new parents’ hearts melt. I remember my big sisters reading me Drummer Hoff, The Runaway Bunny, Miss Nelson Is Missing!, and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs until I had every word memorized, and I still have my tattered copies! This kind of repeat adoration is what I would hope picture books by my clients would elicit.
I look for funny and dramatic (or both!) MG novels about friendships (including those with animals), and the complexity of individual families. Brave or whimsical adventure stories starring unlikely characters and underdogs are great, and I look for honest, funny, and unique voice here, full of heart, smarts, and humor—featuring art is even better! Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake’s collaborations are the pinnacle. I’d love to find a historical middle grade that incorporates adventure and/or mystery, like One Came Home by Amy Timberlake, or a child and animal story that’s really for readers of all ages, like Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo or Pax by Sara Pennypacker.
I’m open to low fantasy and magical realism that doesn’t account for too much happenstance, but I especially love realistic YA (that includes drama, romance, comedy, thrillers, mystery—or hybrids of these!); I’m a sucker for unique line-by-line writing and character and relationship driven plots--true-to-life fiction with larger-than-life personalities. I seek narratives where disparate characters converge unexpectedly or those that describe how a teenager fits into the patchwork of their family and the larger framework of their school/world. I like stories that explore the (sometimes awful) realization of the adult world, parents, and what we think is true as children being upended--or stories of self-righteous loners finding a person or group who “gets” them.
Setting is secondary to characters and relationships for me, but I love when it’s almost a character in itself, and I have a special affection for cities and the interactions they bring. Remote places are great too though, such as Alaska, provincial England or Ireland, or more obscure countries I’d like to learn about–or where there’s little going on other than inside of and between characters! I love seamlessly incorporated cultural bytes (music, food, art, language, books, and specific family traditions), and would be excited to find a manuscript that takes place in the 70s, 80s, or 90s!
Other dream projects: A poignant graphic novel like This One Summer or a Fun Home for younger readers. I also love innovative modernizations and re-tellings of Shakespearean and other classics!