Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kate Johnson of Wolf Literary Services

Kate Johnson is a literary agent with Wolf Literary Services.

Kate represents literary and upmarket fiction as well as a range of narrative nonfiction and select memoir, and is interested in food, running, obsessives, unconventional families, art, global stories, social justice, mental health, medicine, and the environment. She loves working with journalists. Across all her projects, she looks for authentic voices and books that uncover something off-kilter in the everyday, or conversely something relatable in the extraordinary.

Kate is an agent as well as UK rights manager for Wolf Literary Services and the Gillian MacKenzie Agency. Before moving to Wolf Literary, Kate was an agent and Vice President at Georges Borchardt, Inc. She has edited and reported at StoryQuarterly, Bookslut.com, New York Magazine, and elsewhere, and graduated from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism.

Her authors have won the PEN Faulkner Award, Center for Fiction’s First Novel Prize, Whiting Award, Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, the Barnes & Noble Discover Prize for Fiction, National Book Foundation’s 5 Under 35, the Nigeria Prize for Literature, and have been longlisted for the National Book Award in nonfiction and the PEN Open Book Award. Kate regularly visits literary festivals and universities, and has chaired the judging panel for the Bristol Short Story Prize and Bath Short Story Award.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jessica Felleman of Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency

Jessica Felleman is a literary agent with Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

Jessica began her publishing career in Los Angeles after receiving her MFA in writing from CalArts. She relocated to New York in 2015, where she spent five years at a mid-sized agency before joining the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency.

Jessica represents a range of creators, loves fresh stories about magic, and looks for commercial and literary fiction featuring underserved voices, unforgettable places, and complicated families. She is especially looking for fiction that balances on the edge of genre—particularly science fiction and fantasy. Jessica has a soft spot for stories set in Los Angeles and New England, the weird and strange, and characters who make mistakes, even if they can’t fix them.

Jessica specializes in pop culture nonfiction and prescriptive titles that offer realistic advice or new perspectives to help readers better understand themselves and the world, as well as humor, cookbooks, and narrative nonfiction about science, history, and psychology that engages with contemporary conversations.

Jessica is not considering poetry, individual short stories, romance/erotica, thrillers, true crime, memoir, unillustrated graphic novels, or Children’s or Middle Grade books at this time.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Regina Bernard-Carreno of Ladderbird Literary

Regina Bernard-Carreno is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

Born and raised in Hells Kitchen, New York City, Regina safeguards a deep, personal passion for her city and all of its history. She holds a PhD in Urban Education, a Master’s Degree in African American Studies, as well as, a couple of other graduate degrees in the humanities.

All of this continues to amplify her love of literature, bookstores, libraries, and really anything that has to do with books overall. As an academic and writer, she is always drawn to creative projects whether she is designing them for her own work or assisting creators to build them out into real projects. This adoration for all things makery and artisanal also reminds her of the work by women’s hands and so she tries often to braid together this with what is socially-just.

When she’s not editing, teaching, reading, and/or writing, she can be found alongside her children, among the trees of redwood arboretums in search of Jack Skellington.

She is currently open to: Middle Grade and Young Adult graphic novels that are fun and interesting and actively looking for these types of projects that deal specifically with coming of age experiences or something very interesting like This Was Our Pact. Rom Com graphic novels in Young Adult are also welcome. 

She is open to limited picture book projects by BIPOC author-illustrators only. Please do not send her any rhyming manuscripts. She would really like to see picture books that deal with diverse cultures, people, and experiences. 

While not open to YA prose/novels, she would like to see MG or YA novels in prose from BIPOC creators that deal with international issues and cultures.

In adult fiction: She is only looking for historical projects that deal with Caribbean and American slaves and their narratives.​ She would also accept a BIPOC rom-com a la Terry McMillan.

In nonfiction, she loves a solid book about wellness (think herbs and aromatherapy), cookbooks that have a fresh take and a solid platform. She also loves work around social justice issues and matters that are contemporary and where the author has some agency around solutions and critical ideas about how a particular social injustice could be examined and possibly rehabilitated. Think: Stay Woke: A People’s Guide to Making All Black Lives Matter and Braiding Sweetgrass.​

She does not want:

No’s for her would be hard crime or spy thrillers, blatant and graphic violence against women and children. No fantasy or dark magic and/or heavy-handed horror. Board book projects are also a definite pass.

 

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Shauna Turnmire of Arthouse Literary Agency

Shauna Turnmire is a literary agent at Arthouse Literary Agency.

After graduating with her Masters in Arts Management from Columbia College Chicago, Shauna moved to LA to pursue a career in the music industry. She quickly realized this particular avenue was not for her and decided to pursue her first and longest love, books. She is currently back home in Orlando and is excited to help authors develop their stories and be their biggest cheerleader. As an associate agent, Shauna is looking for New Adult fiction, YA Fantasy, and historical fiction – including a particular interest in books that give a glimpse into the Holocaust experience. She also has her own Booktube and Bookstagram accounts at “Shauna’s Book Journal.” When she doesn’t have her nose in a book she loves playing with dogs and relaxing with friends and family and a glass of wine.

Her Wish List:

As an associate agent at ArtHouse, Shauna is often drawn to stories that are a little strange, and especially ones that use speculative or fantastic elements in beautiful, original ways. Across the board, she’s looking for an inclusive cast of characters, across gender, sexual orientation, race, religion, and mental health spectrums. Of course, if any manuscript that is submitted to Shauna makes her see the world through a new perspective (i.e. Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi) then this is an extra plus plus!

Contemporary Romance, Upmarket Fiction, YA Fantasy, New Adult Fantasy, Thriller & Speculative Fiction

Shauna is mostly looking for YA and New Adult fantasy with major character development. She loves to see fantastical and unique worlds but needs to see the characters overcoming challenges and learning about themselves. If there is an epic or dark romance interspersed, even better! She loves reading about strong, badass women as well in all genres! Favorites in this genre: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo, Hibiscus Daughters Series by Lana Popovic

Shauna is also looking for contemporary or commercial romance. She is extremely interested in books that delve into complicated relationships and don’t have a pretty bowtie ending. Shauna has a background in the music industry and loves stories centered around bands writing music. Favorites in this genre: Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid, Stolen by Lucy Christopher, The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

Shauna is intrigued by historical fiction, preferably centered around the Holocaust and the French Revolution. Favorites in this genres: The Tattooist of Auschwitz by Heather Morris, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly

She would love to see anything centered around Irish or Celtic history and lore/mythology.

What She Doesn’t Want: Erotica, Westerns, Mystery, Sci-Fi, Middle Grade, Children’s books.

 

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelly Peterson of Rees Literary

Kelly Peterson is a literary agent with Rees Literary.

Kelly (she/her) is a West Chester University graduate with a B.S.Ed in English and Literature. She worked as a Junior Literary Agent for two years before moving to Rees Literary Agency, continuing to champion her authors and the manuscripts she loves. Kelly seeks books in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies.

In Middle Grade, she’s looking for:

Fantasy and sci-fi

Contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers

In YA, she’s looking for:

Genres from contemporary, to high fantasy, to sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!) and historical all the way back to rom-coms.

In Adult, Kelly represents:

Romance, fantasy, and sci-fi

She is excited to expand her client list and find new authors who have a strong story to tell.