Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Zabé Ellor of The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-01-17 at 5.15.21 PM.pngZabé Ellor is a literary agent with The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency.

Zabé joined The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency after previously interning at the agency and at Inklings Literary, and serving as a publications assistant at IOP Publishing. He graduated from Cornell University with a dual degree in biology and English. An avid reader and writer, his non-literary interests include running, travel, and finding the perfect dim sum in his home city of Washington D.C.

What he’s looking for:

Middle Grade: “I’m now open to MG and excited to find clients writing exciting, adventurous, hilarious books for preteens! My favorite middle grade books weave voice, whimsy, and heart together to meet young readers where they are, instead of talking down or patronizing. I love all things speculative, from wild new worlds to small hints of magic, and my dream would be to find something that innovates at world building how Gregor the Overlander does. I also love stories grounded in the contemporary world, but prefer humorous tones to the very serious. Projects with graphic elements always welcome. I’m especially interested in seeing submissions from diverse voices.”

Young Adult: “I love all genres of YA: swoonworthy romances, electrifying thrillers and mysteries, heartbreaking contemporaries, and SFF that sweeps me off to a new world. Whatever you’re writing, give me flawed characters who struggle with the complexities of growing up and tangled networks of relationships binding them together. Books with messy, real, and consuming emotions are my kryptonite; recent favorites include Three Dark Crowns, Burning Glass, The Astonishing Color of After, When Dimple Met Rishi, Eliza and her Monsters, When the Moon was Ours, and The Love Interest.”

Adult SFF: “In adult SFF, I’m looking for expansive worlds inhabited by unforgettable characters. In fantasy, hook me with a setting or magic system I’ve never seen; then deliver by making me fall in love with the heroes struggling in its shadow. Favorites of mine include the Emberverse series, The Broken Earth trilogy, Sanderson’s Cosmere novels, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels novels, Steven Brust’s Vlad Taltos novels, and anything by Joe Abercrombie. In science fiction, give me technology-rich stories that explore how societies evolve and change on a grand scale: think Ancillary Justice, An Unkindness of Ghosts, Seveneves, and Yoon Ha Lee’s Hexarchate novels.”

Graphic novels: “I’m interested in graphic novel projects for all age groups. Give me children’s projects that will make me laugh, cry, or both: think The Prince and the Dressmaker, The Witch Boy, or anything by Dav Pilkey. Give me adult projects that can ONLY be told in graphic novel format—stories like Saga and Low where the art creates the world. Author/illustrators strongly preferred.”

Nonfiction: “In nonfiction, I want proposals for books about science and history that teach and entertain in equal measure. If you want to dive deeply into an intriguing quirk of our world—and can do so with voice, wit, and an eye for the human—I want to see your proposal! As a former evolutionary biology/Renaissance literature major, my interests are wide, but I’ll always be interested in projects about fossils. Show me your platform and your passion for the subject.”

“Diversity is incredibly important to me. I strongly encourage marginalized authors to self-identify, if they are comfortable, especially if their identity is related to their project.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dara Kaye of Ross Yoon Literary

Screen Shot 2018-05-12 at 5.01.07 PMDara Kaye is a literary agent and Foreign Rights Manager at Ross Yoon Agency. She brokers clients’ contracts in more than 50 countries.

For fiction, her interests include speculative fiction (science fiction and fantasy).

As an agent, she is looking for great nonfiction — particularly narrative nonfiction. “I’m looking for great storytelling that teaches readers to see things differently—whether it exposes a story of modern corruption, tells the backstory of a historic scientific breakthrough, recasts original research for a popular audience, or in the case of biography and memoir, holds up a mirror to a specific experience and shows what is universal in it. I am particularly interested in hidden histories, underrepresented voices, and unexpected intersections of topics, styles, and audiences.”

Dara is an ex-academic with a degree in Renaissance Literature, so she’ll cross into nearly any genre for Shakespeare adaptations that bring something new to the table. 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.


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Sarah Davies of Greenhouse Literary

Screen Shot 2019-12-16 at 3.41.58 PMSarah Davies is a literary agent and founder of Greenhouse Literary.

Sarah founded Greenhouse when she moved to the US in 2007 after a long career as a UK children’s publisher, working with many internationally celebrated authors. She now divides her time between London and New York.

Sarah has been an editor most of her life and has considerable experience in contract negotiation, marketing and rights. Excellent publishing contacts in both the USA and Britain, and many years spent living in both countries, have given her an unusually transatlantic view of the children’s books industry, from both sides of the desk. A member of AAR, Sarah has crossed America and Europe talking about children’s books and writing craft.

What Sarah is seeking: fiction by North American authors — from middle grade through young adult across all genres. (Note: she is currently closed to debut picture books but does rep PBs by clients whom she’s initially taken on for other fiction.) She loves strong, hooky, layered plots, writing that is gorgeous but also conceptually strong, and stories that are really moving but make you think too. She is particularly seeking authors from under-represented backgrounds and stories with diverse settings and perspectives.

In YA, she is currently keen to find: fresh, hooky, charming contemporary romance and rom-coms — but note, the hook MUST be strong and unique; smart, original thrillers that grab you from the first page — but still have great writing; multicultural settings and diverse #ownvoices authors and characters (she has a particular interest in the Middle East and France, but authenticity and #ownvoices are essential); stories that deal with contemporary issues of immigration from an authentic perspective; magical realism – perhaps where the “real” is skewed by some other dimension; fantasy, especially by diverse authors, but there MUST be a hook that feels truly fresh and different to all the other fantasy out in the marketplace. AND FINALLY: there’s always room for something the market’s never seen before — whatever that may be!

In general, Sarah enjoys: interesting perspectives and structures; stories involving the ocean, ice, plants,science; intriguing mysteries; relateable history (the World Wars especially; NOT American Revolutionary War or Civil War), and richly portrayed characters and settings of all kinds.

In middle grade, she is looking for: classic-voiced and heartfelt stories that offer a fresh take on the tropes of identity, independence, growing up (perhaps helped along by an interesting and different structure or point of view); adventure with a touch of magic or magical realism; graphic novels by author/illustrators who can create fab and fun young fiction. Again, she always looks for a fresh hook, matched by strong writing.

Additionally: Sarah is open to children’s/teen nonfiction projects that have a strong angle on a subject that jives with today’s concerns. Age-appropriate writing (and formats?) essential. She is also open, by referral, to women’s fiction — especially in the suspense genre.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Deborah Grosvenor of The Grosvenor Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2019-05-22 at 8.21.33 PMDeborah Grosvenor is a literary at The Grosvenor Literary Agency, a full-service boutique agency representing writers across a variety of subjects.

The agency’s emphasis is on strong, serious, interesting nonfiction. “We also represent quality fiction on a selective basis. Agency clients have received numerous awards and honors, including the Pulitzer Prize, the MacArthur Fellowship, the Lincoln Prize, the Thurber Prize for America Humor, the National Endowment for the Arts grants, the Nieman Fellowship, the Alicia Patterson Fellowship, the Council on Foreign Affairs Arthur F. Ross Award, The Charles Bronfman Prize, and the Grawemeyer Award. Client writing has appeared in the New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Vogue, “O,” Best American Travel Writing and a range of other publications.”

Deborah has more than 25 years’ experience in the book publishing business as an agent and editor. During her career, she has edited or represented several hundred nonfiction books. As an editor, she acquired Tom Clancy’s first novel, The Hunt for Red October.

Her distinguished client list includes nationally prominent writers, New York Times bestselling authors, and prize-winning historians and journalists. Among them are Stephen Coonts, Eleanor Clift, Thomas Oliphant, Henry Allen, Curtis Wilkie, Aaron Miller, Harrison Scott Key, Daniel De Visé, Jonathan Green, Gilbert Grosvenor, Jim McCloskey, Charlie Engle, Scott Wallace, Nina Burleigh, Thomas Fleming, John Sexton, Jay Rubenstein, Steve Kemper, Nora Pouillon, Trita Parsi, Mark Geragos, Peter Cozzens, Meg Noonan and Elizabeth Pryor.

Deborah is interested in: narrative nonfiction in the categories of history, biography, politics, current and foreign affairs, memoir, food, health, science, the environment and travel. For fiction, she is simply interested in great storytelling, especially in an historical context.

Deborah is the recipient of the TWIN award (Tribute to Women in Industry), given by the YWCA and industry to “outstanding women who have made significant contributions to their companies in managerial and executive positions.”