2024 Washington Writers Conference Literary Agents
(Note: Agents are subject to change. Check back frequently for updates!)
Rachel Beck of Liza Dawson Associates is a reader, runner, agent, wife, and mom to three small humans and one cat. A Pittsburgh native who spent 12 years in NYC and L.A. before coming back home in 2021, she’s been in the publishing industry since 2009, first as a romance editor at Harlequin Books and then as an agent since 2015. In adult fiction, she represents upmarket/book club women’s fiction, contemporary millennial fiction, romantic comedy, and domestic suspense/thriller. She also represents contemporary YA and select nonfiction.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Women’s fiction, family sagas, historicals, dual-timeline novels, non-genre fiction.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Don’t be nervous — I’m excited to chat with you and hear about your book! Know your genre (and applicable subgenre/s), word count, and comp titles/authors. Be able to describe how your book is unique and why it’s necessary in the marketplace at this time (especially for nonfiction).
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Children’s/picture books, poetry, epic/high fantasy, or erotic romance.
I’d love to be pitched the next: Does My Body Offend You?, We Are Not Like Them, Malibu Rising, The Witch Elm, It Ends With Us, or Book Lovers.
Two fun facts about me: I ran a marathon and did a triathlon while pregnant. And I once slept in Rockefeller Center to see my favorite musician perform.
Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent for over 30 years representing award-winning and bestselling literary fiction, nonfiction, and children’s books. She founded Dunham Literary in 2000. She is a member of AALA, SCBWI, and the Author’s Guild. [NOTE: JENNIE IS TAKING VIRTUAL PITCHES ONLY.]
I represent: Fiction and nonfiction for adults and children’s books from novelty and picture books through middle grade and young adult.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Be able to talk about your book without reading a written pitch. Know your identity as an author and incorporate that into your pitch. Include which shelf your book would belong on in the bookstore, and convey that and the central conflict in the story during your pitch.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: genre romance.
I’d love to be pitched the next: I’m eager to find #ownvoices stories.
Two fun facts about me: I collect modern first editions, and I start the day with Wordle and Spelling Bee.
Facebook: Dunham Literary, Inc.
Jennie Goloboy is a literary agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency specializing in science fiction and fantasy for adults, and history for a popular audience.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: History for a popular audience.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: My secret favorite things include stories about how a community was built, and business history (or fiction informed by business history). I love historical fantasy with a strongly drawn historical setting. Magic and fantasy-tinged novels for an audience that generally doesn’t read sci-fi and fantasy are really popular right now, and I would love to represent more.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: My irrational dislikes include stories about pirates, stories about competitions, stories with a school setting, and stories about elves.
I’d love to be pitched the next: game-changing science fiction or fantasy novel, or a genuinely funny history book.
Two fun facts about me: I published a novel in 2021, Obviously, Aliens, and am currently trying to turn it into a screenplay.
Sam Hiyate ran Gutter Press and launched the literary division of the Lavin Agency in 2003. At the Rights Factory, he’s keen to discover new writers and to help them launch and build lasting careers. Sam is also the host of the podcast “Agent Provocateur,” giving a unique look into agenting.
I represent: Adult and YA fiction and nonfiction, as well as the graphic novel or children’s book. I’m open to most genres and am looking for fresh voices and new stories.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Fiction and nonfiction, any genre.
Advice for pitching me: Do your homework about what I like and use comps to give me market positioning.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Anything tired or cliche.
I’d love to be pitched the next: High-concept anything.
Two fun facts about me: I started my first lit mag with a credit card in 1991, and on my first agenting meetings in NYC, I had a writer without a specific book idea and still got a huge offer for a nonfiction book by that writer.
Michelle Z. Jackson, originally from Jamaica, is a literary associate with LCS Literary. She has been an educator for over 20 years, and she is also a published author, writing professionally as Michelle Lindo-Rice (for Mira and Harlequin Special Edition) and Zoey Marie Jackson (for Harlequin Love Inspired). She has earned degrees from New York University, SUNY Stony Brook, Teachers College Columbia University, and Argosy University. She works with many authors on developmental/content editing to build strong, memorable characters and story arcs.
I represent: Adult fiction and nonfiction in the following genres: commercial, historical, humor, new adult, romance, science fiction, fantasy, thriller, women’s fiction, true crime, self-help, relationships, cookbooks, narrative, spirituality, and select memoirs.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Any area of adult nonfiction, including memoir. Also, historical fiction, women’s fiction, romance, and narrative nonfiction.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Start off with the hook, the word count, and the genre.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Self-published works or children’s/YA books.
A fun fact about me: I am a twin.
Bridget Wagner Matzie is an agent and partner at Aevitas Creative Management. She has represented many bestselling books and experts in fascinating fields. She is most interested in strong original nonfiction ideas, new and international voices, big-think topics, and books that challenge readers and create discussion.
I represent: NONFICTION ONLY.
I am specifically looking for: serious, well researched nonfiction by experts in a field, or unforgettable memoirs.
Advice for pitching me: Make sure that you and your experience are an excellent match for your book idea.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: a book that you are unqualified to write.
I’d love to be pitched the next: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks or Evicted.
Two fun facts about me: I lived in India for several years. I’m originally from Ohio.
Lizz Nagle is a senior agent at Victress Literary. When not agenting, she might be found writing poetry, playing guitar, traveling, at a concert, or on a hiking trail with her menagerie of kids and rescue animals.
I represent: adult, YA, and middle-grade fiction and nonfiction.
Genres: Fantasy, contemporary, historical, horror, humor, suspense, romance, and YA.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: For YA and MG, I’m looking for contemporary diverse, underrepresented stories with messy, resilient characters driving the show. Bonus points for a mystery, adventure, or thriller element. For adult, I’m looking for psychological thrillers, domestic suspense/mysteries, and historical fiction. Always bonus points for LGBTQIA, found families, physical disabilities, grief, addiction, dark and twisty, and characters questioning the status quo and deepening their understanding of the human condition. Also, all of your thought-provoking, laughter-inducing, social-movement-inspiring narrative nonfiction.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: If you’re nervous, tell me about your dog first. But don’t be nervous. Just go for it. I’m excited to meet you and hear about your book!
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: picture books.
I hope to be pitched the next: They Both Die at the End.
Two fun facts about me: I got my first guitar at the Gibson Garage after a Zach Bryan concert last year and now I can play three songs...kinda badly! I paint paintings for my authors based on their books.
Rita Rosenkranz of the Rita Rosenkranz Literary Agency represents all areas of adult nonfiction.
I am specifically looking for this genre at this year’s conference: Any area of adult nonfiction, including memoir.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Come prepared, which means honing the pitch in order to use the limited pitching time well. Understand what genre you are pitching and how it is different/better than what’s already been published. Underscore how you are well-paired to the project.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: projects tied to fiction, poetry, children’s, or other categories outside my stated interests.
I’d love to be pitched the next: project that changes the way we think about a topic we thought we knew.
Dani Segelbaum is a literary agent at the Carol Mann Agency. She is interested in both fiction and nonfiction. In both, Dani hopes to work with authors from diverse backgrounds to tell stories that are important to them. She loves compelling narrators and is drawn to writing that is voice-driven, highly transporting, and features unique perspectives and marginalized voices.
I represent: adult fiction and nonfiction. In fiction: commercial, general, historical, humor, LGBTQ+, literary, mystery, and women’s fiction. In nonfiction: Biography, cookbooks, history, journalism, LGBTQ+, memoir, pop culture, psychology, science, and true crime.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Commercial and literary fiction, and narrative nonfiction.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: Make sure your pitch has a clear and compelling hook. Use your comp titles in your pitch. Tell me a bit about yourself! (Add a short bio to the end of your pitch.)
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: Sci-fi, fantasy, or children’s.
I’d love to be pitched the next: Horse by Geraldine Brooks; The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead; Girls and Sex by Peggy Orenstein; or Crying in H Mart by Michelle Zauner.
Two fun facts about me: I have an Aussiedoodle named Dottie, and if I wasn’t a literary agent, I’d be a full-time baker.
Max Sinsheimer of Sinsheimer Literary is a nonfiction literary agent based in Washington, DC, focused on food, popular science, history, memoir, and social issues. He’s also a former Oxford University Press editor with a soft spot for academics who can write for general audiences!
I represent: adult nonfiction in the following genres: history, biography, memoir, narrative journalism, popular science, prescriptive, cookbooks, travel, and true crime.
I am specifically looking for this genre at the conference: Journalistic nonfiction that weaves a personal narrative into a larger societal story. For instance, Mario Ariza’s Disposable City is about how inadequately prepared Miami is for the inevitable sea-level rise. But his pitch to me began with his decision to move back to Miami and buy a home in the city he grew up in, only to realize that many of the properties he viewed would literally be under water within a 30-year mortgage term. Climate change can feel like a distant threat, but Mario managed to make it concrete and immediate. That approach of finding a personal hook into a wider issue will get me every time.
Three sentences of advice for pitching me: A good pitch tells me what the book is, who it’s for, and why you are the right person to write it in as few words as possible. And it leaves me wanting more. I promise I’ll read the more detailed description in your proposal if you tell me just enough to intrigue me during the pitch session.
Absolutely, positively do not pitch me: anything that purports to prove the existence of God or miracles. Motorcycle and hiking memoirs. A relative’s autobiography or memoir that you are helping them write or sell. (Family histories make wonderful gifts; I know because I helped my grandfather self-publish his memoir. But unless your relative is truly noteworthy and has a strong promotional plan, there is very little commercial appeal!)
I’d love to be pitched the next: Maybe You Should Talk to Someone (Lori Gottlieb) or Five Days at Memorial (Sheri Fink). I’d love to represent more funny, illuminating memoirs and works of entrenched/investigative journalism that make closed worlds suddenly accessible.
Two fun facts about me: When I was 8, I complained to my parents that movies always have happy endings, so my dad sat me down and showed me “Planet of the Apes.” Also, my first job out of college was as an editorial assistant at Oxford University Press, and the first book I worked on was The Oxford Companion to Beer. It got me deep into homebrewing for much of my twenties!