Jared Johnson is a literary agent with Olswanger Literary.
“I am a recovering academic and love engaging with unique and excellent writers. I hold a Masters in medieval studies and spent several years working toward a PhD before leaving to pursue a career in publishing.”
In fiction, he seeks:
“My fiction is also a bit all over the place. I have a strong interest in speculative fiction, especially when those stories don’t feel the need to explain the “why” of the speculative elements. Favorite recent reads in this vein would be Nothing to See Here and Piranesi, which explore difficult topics through an ethical (i.e. how they relate to those around them) lens.
“I also love mystery and thriller with main characters who simply find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m also hoping to add some thought-provoking upmarket horror to my list. I am also a huge fan of genre-bending stories that have upmarket or literary elements to the writing.
“I love encountering new, vibrant worlds that feel like they extend beyond the borders of the page without detracting from the central narrative. I am drawn into a story by parent/child relationships (especially with adult children or non-traditional families), themes of reconciliation and redemption, strong non-romance relationships (especially where you would expect romance), and misunderstood rivals. Really, I am taken in by deeply ethical stories; i.e. stories that foreground how characters relate to one another and how those connections situate them in their world. Also heists… I want to read all the heists.”
In Nonfiction he seeks:
“My list is fairly broad at the moment. I am looking for narrative-driven books. I am drawn to popular cultural topics (music, fashion, biography, science, history) with an academic approach. I especially love projects that engage with current social issues, ones that address the origins of cultural values, especially in matters of race, gender and sexuality, religion, and language. In particular, I am interested in works that challenge long-held cultural narratives. I am always on the search for books that call into question cultural myths or the continuity of ideas.
“I want to read works that make me view an old concept in a new way. More recently, I find myself being drawn strongly to narratives about people who have caused a positive impact or left a positive legacy in the world or their community.”