2022 Washington Writers Conference Literary Agents
(Note: Agents are subject to change; pitch sessions run six minutes apiece. Check back often for updates.)
Diana Finch, of the Diana Finch Literary Agency, opened her own agency in New York City’s Flatiron District in 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 novel — while most of her list is nonfiction: science, environment, progressive politics, memoir, health, and business. Many of her clients are journalists, foreign correspondents, and memoirists, and she’s proud that three clients were at the 2015 COP21 Climate Summit in Paris. She chairs the AAR’s International Committee and loves selling to foreign publishers. 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 BA in English from Harvard and an MA in American literature from Leeds University, UK. Diana loves sports — both watching and playing — and lives in the Bronx. @DianaFinch
Tara Gilbert of the Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency represents adult, YA, and children’s fiction: fantasy, contemporary, romance, upmarket, horror, and historical.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Romance and contemporary.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: I love it when pitches are short and concise. I would advise that authors focus on their characters’ goals and stakes. I am eager to represent authors from underrepresented communities.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Thrillers or anything to do with cops or military men.
I hope to be pitched the next: Red, White & Royal Blue or V.E. Schwab, Maggie Stiefvater, Rick Riordan, or TJ Klune.
Susan Hawk has worked in children’s books for over 25 years and represent books for children and teens. She’s looking for diverse stories, elegant writing, and books that make the reader feel. Her clients include Alison Oliver, illustrator of the bestselling Baby Lit board books and the picture book Moon; Ruth Spiro, author of the Baby Loves Science board book series; Marcie Colleen, author of the Super Happy Party Bears chapter book series and the picture books Love, Triangle and Penguinaut!; Lisa Tyre, whose second middle-grade novel, Hope in the Holler, was an Amazon Best Book for 2018; and Rachael Allen, author of the YA novels 17 First Kisses, The Revenge Playbook, and A Taxonomy of Love. @susanhawk
I represent: Both fiction/nonfiction, but for children and teens only. I’m open to all genres, including literary, mystery, fantasy, science fiction, contemporary, humor, magical realism, historical fiction, adventure, horror, thriller, and graphic novels.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Projects and creators that are diverse, books that are unabashedly feminist, and something that will make me laugh!
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Relax! I love meeting authors and hearing about their projects. I want to know why you're excited about your project.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Adult books, because I don't rep them.
I hope to be pitched the next: Debut YA novel that is literary and confident, with beautiful, surprising prose and characters that make you fall passionately in love with them, break your heart, and repair it by story's end.
Two fun facts about me: I grew up in DC. My first job was at the Cheshire Cat Bookstore on Connecticut Ave. in NW DC.
Sam Hiyate of the Rights Factory represents adult and YA fiction and nonfiction. In adult fiction: debut; voice-driven; literary; thriller; commercial; and women's fiction. In adult nonfiction: narrative; memoir; health, lifestyle and self-help; and business (a humorous approach in voice or tone helps). In YA fiction: character-driven; literary; and commercial. Also, graphic novels.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Anything voice-driven or funny, and I love genre mashups.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Know some of my bigger books. Get me emotionally invested. Use great comparables.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Picture books.
I hope to be pitched the next: New York Trilogy by Paul Auster.
Two fun facts about me: I signed a handful of authors from pitches they made at parties/launches. I hate stories with sad endings.
Kat Kerr joined the Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019 after working previously at Corvisiero Literary Agency. She graduated from Florida State University with a bachelor’s in English in 2009 and is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction. Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities.
Lizz Nagle of Victress Literary represents both adult and YA fiction and nonfiction: memoir; biography; narrative nonfiction; literary and commercial fiction; science fiction; dystopian; fantasy; horror; mystery; thriller; crime; magical realism; women’s fiction; noir; dark comedy; and humor.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: In nonfiction: substance use/mental health/grief memoirs; anything that explores anything with humor and resilience. Also, true crime. For fiction, I’m looking for anything unusual, dark, and twisty highlighting taboo subjects and propelling minority opinions in a real-world setting.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Be chill and let’s have a conversation about why you wrote this book, its message, and what it means to you. Of course, I need to know genre, word count, plot points, and conflicts and tensions. But what I want to know about is the characters you’ve created — their motivations, fights, and causes, their deepest fears, darkest adversaries, boundless minds, and resilient hearts.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Romance, historical, Western, religious, or academic.
I hope to be pitched the next: Everything Is Horrible and Wonderful or The Heart Goes Last.
Two fun facts about me: I have a squirrel feeder outside my office window that is for happy-making. I’m incredibly gifted at falling up the stairs. Any and all stairs. Carpeted or concrete. Twitter: @VictressLizz
Dana Newman is an L.A.-based independent literary agent representing authors of practical and narrative nonfiction and literary and upmarket fiction. She’s always on the lookout for compelling voices, ideas, and stories, and is a passionate believer in the power of books to connect and transform us. Dana is also an attorney, focusing on publishing law and contracts. She’s a member of the California State Bar and the Association of Authors’ Representatives. Before founding her literary agency, she worked as in-house counsel in the entertainment industry. @DanaNewman
I Represent: Adult fiction and nonfiction. Literary, historical, women's fiction; non-fiction: pop culture, biography, memoir, business, cooking, health, wellness, lifestyle, history, politics, current affairs, mind/body/spirit, science, technology, self-help, sports, travel.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: practical nonfiction by authors with smart, unique perspectives and established platforms; compelling, inspiring narrative nonfiction that reads like a novel; upmarket and literary fiction featuring character-driven stories written in a distinctive voice.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: It's a conversation, no need to recite a canned speech; include a strong hook or "why" about your project; let me know a little about you and your experience as a writer.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: children's/YA, poetry, screenplays, religion, science fiction, fantasy, mystery, horror, Western, technical, or textbooks.
I hope to be pitched the next: Fiction: The Nix; Nonfiction: Wild or The Orchid Thief.
Two fun facts about me: I've run five marathons, and have always lived in California.
Rita Rosenkranz of the Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency 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 presented commercially. Rita works with major publishing houses, as well as regional publishers that handle niche markets. Representative titles include Forbidden Fruit: Love Stories from the Underground Railroad by Betty DeRamus; Olive Trees and Honey: A Treasury of Vegetarian Recipes from Jewish Communities Around the World; 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life by Cami Walker; and A Mind for Numbers: How to Excel at Math and Science (Even if You Flunked Algebra) by Barbara Oakley, Ph.D. She is a member of the Association of Authors' Representatives (AAR), The Authors Guild, and Women's Media Group.
Regina Ryan of Regina Ryan Books 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. @ReginaRyanBooks
I represent: both adult and juvenile nonfiction.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: good, riveting narratives.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Tell me why you should write this book, how it is different and better than anything on the market, and what it is about in one sentence.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Fiction, plays, poetry, or YA.
I hope to be pitched the next: H Is for Hawk.
Two fun facts about me: I'm a birdwatcher and I love to make soup.