Agents Attending Washington Writers Conference 2018
Claire Anderson-Wheeler comes from Ireland and grew up in Dublin as well as in Belgium and Switzerland. She earned a law degree from Trinity College, Dublin, and a Master’s in creative writing from the University of East Anglia, and began her career in agenting in 2008 in London, where her first position was at the Christine Green Authors' Agency. She has been agenting in New York for over six years and has been an associate at Regal Hoffmann and Associates since 2013. She's glad to consider submissions across a range of genres, the common thread throughout being a meaty narrative and a confident voice. She's open to broad-appeal nonfiction (excluding self-help) and practical nonfiction titles, and is by and large not seeking memoir. In fiction, she is open to well-crafted middle-grade and YA fiction, as well as adult fiction.
After working in editorial at W.W. Norton & Company, Sarah Bolling joined the team at the Gernert Company in 2017. She is primarily interested in fiction blending literary ambition with genre sensibility, especially featuring diverse characters, far-flung locales, or inventive narrative structure. She's also seeking a range of nonfiction, including pop culture, psychology, sociology, beauty, and style. Sarah holds a B.A. in East Asian studies from Brown University, and an M.A. in comparative literature from Goldsmiths, University of London. Although she is currently based in New York City, she was born and raised in Washington, DC.
Since establishing Fairbank Literary Representation in 2002, Sorche Elizabeth Fairbank has had the pleasure of working with a dynamic, varied list, representing bestselling authors, Edgar recipients, award-winning journalists, and, of course, one of her favorite kinds of client: the debut author. She is a member of AAR, the Author's Guild, PEN, and the Agents' Roundtable, and is on the Literary Council for Grub Street. Her clients can be found with all the major publishers, as well as in the New York Times, Boston Globe, New Yorker, Tin House, Glimmer Train, Best American Short Stories, Pushcart Prize, Granta, Smithsonian, McSweeney’s, Narrative, One Story, and many other places. Her tastes in novels tend toward literary fiction, international voices, and women’s voices. On the nonfiction side, she prefers books that tackle current or historical events and topical and societal issues with a narrative treatment. She has a strong interest in women’s voices, class and race issues, quality lifestyle books (food, craft, design), memoir that goes beyond the memoir, humor, gift books, and pop culture. Sorche is also looking for illustrator/authors of children’s picture books and middle-grade books.
Diana Finch has helmed her own agency in New York City’s Flatiron District since 2003, after more than 15 years with the Ellen Levine Literary Agency and a start in agenting at Sanford Greenburger Associates. She looks for strong storytelling in fiction — literary, YA, and the occasional genre (or genre-bending) novel, with plots that turn on action (even in domestic stories), and distinctive, surprising, even shocking concepts. Most of her list is nonfiction: science, environment, politics — either progressive or scandalous — social issues, memoir, health, and business. Many of her clients are journalists, and recent sales include books on Russian owls, migrating trees, going grey naturally, and the Zoroastrian creation myth. She chairs the AAR’s International Committee and is always partial to projects with international appeal. She began her publishing career as an editorial assistant, learning the inner workings of a publishing house at St. Martin’s Press. She has a B.A. in English from Harvard and an M.A. in American literature from Leeds University in the U.K. She loves yoga, running, and just about any team sport and, as a New England native and longtime resident of the Bronx, rates the Yankees/Red Sox series as the highlight of every baseball season.
Since 2002, Dawn Michelle Hardy, president of Dream Relations, PR & Literary Consulting Agency, has aided authors by using strategic promotions to expand their readership, win awards, and garner national and local media attention. In a 2013 “Cool Jobs” profile, Ebony magazine described Dawn as a “literary lobbyist” for her successful advocacy of debut and self-published authors. A vibrant and sought-after presenter, Dawn facilitates an assortment of workshops on author platform-building, memoir writing, and the art of landing a book deal at conferences nationwide. Her drive has resulted in clients being featured in Elle, Essence, the Boston Globe, Black Enterprise, on MSNBC, CBS Radio, NPR, Good Morning America Health, and digital platform appearances with Pandora, Twitter, and Cheddar TV. A passionate teacher, Dawn lends her voice to podcasts and often pens articles to assist writers with best publishing practices. In 2016, Upscale magazine featured Dawn in a business profile and referred to her as a powerhouse who shares industry truths. She is a publicist, literary agent, and talent manager who understands that promoting authors and their books is truly about discoverability, access, and an entrepreneurial approach. With a focus on access, in 2017, she created the Speed Mentoring series: Navigating the Book Publishing Experience to give writers a more intimate connection to industry professionals who shed light on what it takes to reap success.
Dara Kaye escaped academia in 2012 for the Ross Yoon Agency, a DC-based agency known for its award-winning and bestselling adult nonfiction. There, she works closely with all the agency’s clients to shape their proposals into the sharpest, most commercial works possible. As Ross Yoon’s foreign rights manager, she also brokers clients’ contracts in more than 50 territories. Dara is currently growing her own list of domestic clients in adult nonfiction. Her literary soft spots include books about language, theater, Native issues, women’s history, medical and science history, and all things Victorian and Elizabethan. More broadly, she loves books that shed light on unexpected intersections of topics, styles, and problems, and in work that amplifies underrepresented voices. Before joining Ross Yoon, Dara spent two years in South Korea on a Fulbright fellowship teaching English and researching the history of Shakespeare in Korea. She is a proud Smith College alum and graduated with distinction in Renaissance literature from University College London. She tweets (mostly about books) at @darakaye.
Chris Kepner has been a literary agent for over 10 years. He began his career at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth and later moved to Victoria Sanders & Associates, where he was also the director of international rights. He has negotiated hundreds of book licenses all over the world. Authors he has represented include Daniel Polansky, the Hugo-nominated and Prix Imaginales-winning author of The Builders and the Low Town trilogy; Michael Fiegel, author of Blackbird; Michael Piafsky, author of All the Happiness You Deserve; and Drew Williams, author of the Universe After series forthcoming from Tor Books, beginning with The Stars Now Unclaimed in August 2018. In 2017, Chris founded the Kepner Agency as a home for all authors. He is striving to build a diverse list, one that reflects the rich and varied tapestry of our world. Own Voices books are a priority, as is helping to build a platform for voices from underrepresented communities. He is interested in adult, young adult, and middle-grade fiction and nonfiction. At the moment, he is keen to develop the nonfiction side of the list, with a particular interest in narrative, history, politics, science, technology, business, economics, sports, music, pop culture, anthropology, humor, animals, and nature. On the fiction side, a strong voice is paramount. Chris is interested in all types of fiction, with an emphasis on anything speculative (especially if there is mainstream crossover potential), literary, or upmarket commercial. He’s currently on the lookout for a wildly original thriller, something that can push the genre’s boundaries to new places.
Shaheen Qureshi is a native of the Washington, DC, area and received her B.A. in literature from Bard College in New York. As the former managing editor of Tadween Publishing, a Middle East academic press, she oversaw the publication of a political cartoon book and a collection of interviews with Iraqi activists. She started at Capital Talent Agency as a literary assistant and was promoted to literary agent this year. As a new agent, Shaheen is eager to bring her personal, hands-on approach to editing and work collaboratively with each of her clients. She is seeking literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, memoirs, cookbooks, and graphic novels. She is particularly interested in diverse, character-driven stories that give voice to the underrepresented and marginalized. Books that challenge the status quo and look at race, class, food, gender, or history in a new light will grab her attention. Aside from her agent work, Shaheen writes poetry, has taught writing workshops, and volunteers in public schools as a writing mentor.
BJ Robbins established her Los Angeles-based agency in 1992 after a multifaceted career in book publishing in NY, first in publicity at Simon & Schuster and later as marketing director and then senior editor at Harcourt. Her agency represents quality fiction, both literary and commercial, and general nonfiction, with a particular interest in narrative history, memoir, biography, pop culture, sports, travel/adventure, and medicine and health. Clients include New York Times bestselling authors and award-winning writers such as J. Maarten Troost, James Donovan, John Hough Jr., Max Byrd, Nafisa Haji, Stephen Graham Jones, and Deanne Stillman. A member of AAR, Robbins has led workshops at UCLA Extension, UC Irvine Extension, the Writer’s Pad, and at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers Fiction Workshop. She is looking for fiction and nonfiction projects of literary merit that are fresh and original.
A well-established agent who began her career as an editor at major publishing houses, Rita Rosenkranz represents almost exclusively adult nonfiction titles. Her wide-ranging list includes health, history, parenting, music, how-to, popular science, business, biography, sports, popular reference, cooking, writing, humor, spirituality, illustrated books, and general interest titles. She represents first-time as well as seasoned authors and looks for projects that present familiar subjects freshly or lesser-known subjects commercially. Rita works both with major publishing houses and regional publishers that handle niche markets. Representative titles include Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad by Betty DeRamus (Atria Books; an essence.com bestseller), Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World (Wiley; James Beard Award winner) by Gil Marks; 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker (Da Capo Press; New York Times bestseller, MS Awareness Award Winner, Books for a Better Life); and A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley, Ph.D. (Tarcher). She is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), the Authors Guild, and Women's Media Group.
Regina Ryan, of Regina Ryan Publishing Enterprises, Inc., has been the head of her own independent literary agency company for over 35 years, handling adult and juvenile nonfiction. Her areas of interest are wide-ranging and eclectic and include narrative nonfiction, natural history (particularly birds), popular science (particularly the brain), the outdoors, gardening, women’s issues, parenting, psychology, business, health, wellness, self-improvement, lifestyle, history, food, travel, popular reference, and a limited amount of memoir. Among the authors she represents are Andrea Warren, Donald Kroodsma, Nathan Pieplow, Randi Minetor, Peter Meltzer, Kurt Stenn, Andrea Lyon, and David and Kathryn Deardorff. She loves good stories and good writing.
One of the top agents of commercial fiction, Paige Wheeler has worked in the publishing industry for over 20 years. After stints in publishing in London, Paige started out as an editor for Harlequin Books in NY and then quickly moved to the agency side of the business. At Artists Agency, Paige learned the film and television business and repped award-winning writers, producers, and celebrities. In 1997, she formed Creative Media Agency (CMA), where she applied her knowledge of books and entertainment and her business became very successful very quickly. With a large client list, Paige decided to diversify and, in 2006, she co-created Folio Literary Management. Paige ran that company for eight years, and the business grew into a successful mid-sized agency with a large number of New York Times and award-winning authors. In 2014, she decided to once again pursue a boutique approach to agenting and relaunched CMA. Paige’s unique knowledge gives her the perspective required to fully manage the intellectual property rights of her clients, including domestic print, as well as foreign, film, and audio rights. Her wealth of experience demonstrates her dedication to maximizing her clients’ potential and grow their careers. Paige is proud to represent both bestselling and award-winning authors, and she has launched the career and built the brand for many New York Times, USA Today, Agatha, Rita, Shamus, and other notable award-winning and top-selling clients. She has worked with hundreds of authors over the course of her career, including Heather Graham, Nora Roberts, Robin Leach, Gordon Elliott, Candace Camp, Bob Vila, Karen Salmansohn, Kate Kingsbury, AJ Banner, Sheila Roberts, and the James Beard Foundation, to name a few. Paige loves to represent commercial and upscale fiction, as well as the mystery, thriller, psychological suspense, and romance genres. She also represents narrative and prescriptive nonfiction by authors with a significant platform and new ideas. Paige is ultimately looking for unique stories, fresh voices, and unexpected twists. Paige is a member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives, the Women’s Media Group, and the Authors Guild, as well as Romance Writers of America and Mystery Writers of America.
Roger S. Williams has worked in publishing for over 38 years. He has been a sales rep and sales manager at Bantam Doubleday Dell, co-owner of a bookstore, developer of one of the industry’s first websites, and V.P. of Field Sales at Simon & Schuster. In 2009, he hung out his shingle as an agent and, in August 2010, bought New England Publishing Associates, a literary agency founded in 1981. In 2015, NEPA became Roger Williams Agency. Roger Williams Agency manages rights and marketing for nonfiction, specifically history and military history, with an emphasis on American history, biography, or autobiography; "big think" business concepts; marketing; communications and consumerism; current events; politics, popular culture, and social policy; medicine and health; body, mind, and spirit; psychology and family relationships; the sciences; religion; nature and the environment; and language and reference. Roger is also a partner in the Pike and Powder Publishing Group LLP, which publishes mostly military history titles and is sold and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
Helen Zimmerman (bio coming).
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