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.

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