Paper Literary is a literary agency for storytellers. We champion writers - from the first edits, to the best deal, to finding readers and beyond.
Paper Literary was founded by Catherine Cho in 2021. Katie Greenstreet joined as a literary agent in 2022.
I believe that stories are one of the most powerful things in the world. The feeling of being transported by a story is truly magical. I remember reading The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis in the first grade. I kept borrowing it from the library again and again, feeling like I was stepping into Narnia. And now, I’m still looking for that word spell.
I grew up in Kentucky before moving to New York City for university. I took a detour and went to law school in Hong Kong before working on Capitol Hill for a lobbying firm. I soon realised that lobbying and law was not for me, I wanted to lobby for something I believed in, which is when I turned to publishing. I feel very lucky to be a champion for writers. I've heard that a book is a dream realized - to be a part of that is a privilege.
I started at Folio Literary Management as a literary assistant and contracts manager. I moved to London where I worked at Curtis Brown for several years before being promoted as an associate agent. At Curtis Brown, I was lucky enough to work for some incredible authors including John le Carré, Nigella Lawson, David Nicholls, David Mitchell, Tracy Chevalier, Lisa Jewell. As an associate, I acted as the UK co-agent for numerous projects on behalf of ICM. I moved to Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency as an agent where I built my list of debut authors from submissions, negotiating six and seven figure deals in the US and UK. I sold numerous projects for the non-fiction list and list of digital authors.
As someone who spent years desperate to crack into the publishing industry, I view my job as an agent as an immense privilege. I’m a keen traveller when the world is operating as normal, and I’m always looking to be transported somewhere new when I crack open a novel. I grew up in a conservative small town in the American South and books were my first window into the wider world, so the escapism and alternative worldviews that reading can provide are things I still value immensely.
A corporate lawyer by training, I worked for several large law firms before making the leap into publishing. I started my career in books as an assistant at ICM Partners in New York, where I supported a list of Booker, Pulitzer, and Nobel Prize-winning authors.
I then moved to London and joined C&W, where I began building my own list while also working alongside Sue Armstrong and Sophie Lambert.
A huge focus of my list at Paper will be finding stories that uplift – after the past two years, we could all do with more books that make us smile and help restore our faith in humanity! The first major project I sold was a hilarious, heart-breaking novel about the power of dogs to bring out the best in people. My mischievous little cavapoo (Effie Doodle) is the light of my life, and I love novels that highlight how incredible animals are. Unlikely friendships are another soft spot of mine, and narratives tackling the theme of loneliness have really resonated with me lately.
I wake up every day excited at what might tumble into my inbox, so please do send me your stories!
What Catherine is Looking For
I represent book club and literary fiction and narrative non-fiction. I want to find unforgettable stories, books that you want to share with everyone you know. I am particularly looking to work with debuts.
* Voice-driven and character-driven narratives - I am always captivated by a distinctive voice, and I am looking for stories with unforgettable characters who live and breathe.
* Novels that explore families and relationships - I am fascinated by family secrets and the relationships within a family. I would love to find a multi-generational novel or stories that follow cross-cultural experiences.
* Psychological suspense with a distinctive voice or unusual structure - I am looking for upmarket suspense, something pacey with a compelling premise.
* High-concept and speculative novels - I particularly love anything involving time travel or mythology.
* Narrative non-fiction - memoirs with universality, non-fiction in topics of science or social history.
What I love about reading is how it offers a door into another experience. There is a particular empathy that can only be found through a story; it's a powerful thing.
What Katie is Looking For
I’m building a list of quality commercial and upmarket/book club fiction, with a select number of memoirs and non-fiction projects also in the mix.
Psychological suspense is my first love as both an agent and a reader, and I am desperate for a locked room mystery a la Lucy Foley or The Sanatorium by Sarah Pearse, with bonus points for glamorous or escapist settings. I also love a wicked protagonist you can’t help but root for, as in The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton, White Ivy by Susie Yang, and You by Caroline Kepnes. On the lighter side of crime, I adored The Maid by Nita Prose and would love to find something with a cosy element that offers a fresh take on the genre.
I’m keen to sign more literary suspense as well, and some recent favourites in this space include Girl A by Abigail Dean, Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam, Who is Maud Dixon? by Alexandra Andrews, Saint X by Alexis Schaitkin, and the forthcoming Deep Water by Emma Bamford.
I am also on the hunt for sweeping, weepy love stories – whether truly high concept like In Five Years by Rebecca Searle and The Time Traveller’s Wife, or somewhat more grounded like early Taylor Jenkins Reid. I would also love fresh takes on romance and romantic comedy in the same vein as the Crazy Rich Asians series and Emily Henry’s Beach Read, or a clever retelling of a classic story as in Curtis Sittenfeld’s Eligible.
Please also send me your lighthearted family novels – think Emma Straub, Katherine Heiny, or The Most Fun We Ever Had by Claire Lombardo.
I’m also keen for historical fiction that brings a previously unheard perspective to the table, especially that which focuses on character and relationships and wears its research lightly. I’m a forever fan of all that Paula McClain writes, and would love to see novels that shine a spotlight on women overshadowed by larger than life partners, like The Paris Wife, Love and Ruin, or Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.
On the non-fiction side, my focus is on memoir that pulls back the curtain on a world previously unknown to me, or that sends me somewhere new on a journey alongside the author. If you’ve written a Kitchen Confidential for your industry/passion/hobby, I would love to read it. Some other favourites include Cork Dork by Bianca Bosker, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver, and Mastering the Art of French Eating by Ann Mah.
As an American in London, I am always open to reading stories that take me ‘home.’ I’m partial to Southern settings, campus novels, and will drop everything to read a classic New York story. I’m still looking for the millennial answer to Jay McInerney.