2018 Featured Agents & Presenters
(This is an initial list. More presenters will be announced as we confirm more of the lineup)
Hannah Tinti will kickoff the Pitch conference with a morning workshop. More details to come closer to the conference.
Hannah Tinti is a writer, editor, and teacher. Her short story collection, Animal Crackers, has sold in sixteen countries and was a runner-up for the PEN/Hemingway award. Her best-selling novel, The Good Thief, is a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, recipient of the American Library Association's Alex Award, winner of the The Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize, and winner of the Quality Paperback Book Club's New Voices Award. Her new novel, The Twelve Lives of Samuel Hawley, was published in March 2017 by The Dial Press (U.S.A.) and Tinder Press (U.K.), and has been optioned by director Matt Reeves/6th & Idaho, producer Michael Costigan/Cota Films & Endemol Shine.
Hannah has worked at bookstores, magazines, publishing houses, and literary agencies. In 2002 she co-founded the award-winning magazine One Story and for 14 years was acting Editor in Chief. She is now Executive Editor. In 2009 she received the PEN/Nora Magid award for excellence in editing and in 2014 One Story won the AWP Prize for Best Small Press. In 2011, she joined the Public Radio program, Selected Shorts, as their Literary Commentator, interviewing authors and actors about the importance of literature and reading.
Hannah is also a celebrated teacher of creative writing. She co-founded the Sirenland Writers Conference in Italy with Dani Shapiro, Michael Maren, and Antonio & Carla Sersale. She has taught writing at New York University's Graduate Creative Writing Program, Columbia University's MFA program, CUNY, and at the Museum of Natural History in New York City.
The visiting agents will each be participating in a breakout session or the Friday evening program. In addition, as part of your enrollment, each attendee will be guaranteed three 8-minute pitch sessions during the conference with the featured agents. This is a list of confirmed agents participating in the Loft's Pitch Conference. If an agent is unable to attend due to unforeseen circumstances, the Loft will find a suitable replacement. Refunds will not be available due to last minute lineup changes.
Seeking: Kurestin is actively acquiring Upmarket and Commercial Fiction, Magic Realism, Science Fiction, Fantasy, select Historical Fiction, LGBTQ (any genre), illustrated Picture Books, Middle Grade, Young Adult, Graphic Novels, and Romance. In nonfiction, she is looking for Design, Cooking, Pop Psychology, Narrative, Photography, Nature, and Science. Read Kurestin's Manuscript Wish List.
Bio: Kurestin Armada began her publishing career as an intern with Workman Publishing, and spent time as an assistant at The Lotts Agency before joining P.S. Literary. She holds a B.A. in English from Kenyon College, as well as a publishing certificate from Columbia University. Kurestin is based in New York City, and spends most of her time in the city’s thriving indie bookstores. She reads widely across genres, and has a particular affection for science fiction and fantasy, especially books that recognize and subvert typical tropes of genre fiction.
Featured Clients: K.A. Doore, Rachel Hoffman
Seeking: Laura is seeking to represent work in History, Narrative Nonfiction, Health, Psychology, Historical fiction, Mystery, Suspense, Thrillers; and in Children’s Books—mostly middle grade and YA fiction.
Bio: Laura Dail graduated from Duke University and received her Master’s degree in Spanish from Middlebury College. She has served on the board of the Association of Authors Representatives (AAR) and currently chairs the AAR Royalties Committee.
Her agency, Laura Dail Literary Agency, Inc., has represented fiction and nonfiction, for both adults and children, for more than 20 years. They—there are 4 agents at the firm—represent a wide range of diverse authors, including bestselling authors of children’s fiction, Kiera Cass, Sarah J. Maas, and Sarah Mlynowski, award-winning and bestselling journalists, historians, and mystery and thriller writers.
Follow Laura on Twitter at @LCDail and the agency at @LDLiterary.
Featured Clients: Marie Benedict, Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Sarah Mlynowski, Natalia Sylvester
Seeking: Reiko’s interests are varied, but she is particularly drawn to adult literary and upmarket fiction, narrative nonfiction, and young adult and middle grade fiction. Above all, she wants to discover books that surprise and move her with their irresistible characters and language.
She loves a strong narrative voice; smart, funny heroines; narrowly located settings (especially towns in the South and Midwest); family sagas; darkly suspenseful novels; and stories of remarkable friendships or that explore the often perilous terrain of human relationships. For children’s books, she is actively looking for young adult and middle grade fiction—whether it be contemporary, historical, fantasy, or simply a story with a timeless quality and vibrant characters. For nonfiction, she is most interested in cultural, social, and literary history; fascinating tours through niche subjects; narrative science; psychology; guides on creativity; and memoir.
Bio: Before joining DeFiore in early 2016, Reiko Davis was an associate agent at Miriam Altshuler Literary Agency for four years. She grew up in Kansas City, received her BA in Comparative Literature and Art History from Brown University, and is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course.
Featured Clients: Lindsey Klingele (The Marked Girl, The Broken World, The Truth Lies Here); Alan Gelb (Having the Last Say: Capturing Your Leagacy in One Small Story, Conquering the College Admissions Essay in Ten Steps, Seven Steps to Confident Writing); Erin Judge (Vow of Celibacy); Lucy Jane Bledsoe (A Thin Bright Line, The Evolution of Love); Ross McMeekin (The Hummingbirds).
Seeking: Some books I've recently adored are: Big Little Lies, Ill Will, Marlena, The Red Car, Hunger, Fact of a Body, and The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Categories I represent: Literary and Commercial Novels, Story Collections, Cookbooks, Memoirs, Narrative Non Fiction, YA and Middle Grade. I look for voice, authority, and insight.
Bio: Jenni Ferrari-Adler is a longtime agent at Union Literary. She holds an MFA in Fiction from the University of Michigan and a BA from Oberlin. She edited the anthology Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant (Riverhead), and her work has appeared in Tin House, Glimmer Train, New York Magazine, and others.
Featured Clients: Rebecca Dinerstein (The Sunlit Night), Amy Kurzweil (Flying Couch), Eileen Pollack (A Perfect Life), Mo Daviau (Every Anxious Wave), Neel Patel (If You See Me Don't Say Hi, forthcoming), Brian Selfon (The Nightworkers, forthcoming).
Seeking: Read Dawn's Manuscript Wish List Dawn is seeking biography—Historical, media-related, or political, but ABSOLUTELY NO PERSONAL MEMOIRS; Creative Nonfiction—It needs to be smart, with noticeable platform, and commercial. I enjoy a wide range of topics; History—Books that will engage the commercial reader. ex: anything Scott Simon/NPR may like; Humor – I love a good laugh (I represent the CHOOSE YOUR OWN MISERY series); Pop Culture—Especially Americana, and anything quirky; Social Issues/Current Affairs—Women’s Studies, GLTB Studies, Social Sciences, and more; Sports—Less mainstream, more extreme sport, ex: Roller Derby, not so much into traditional sports; Women’s Narratives – women’s nonfiction, diverse stories please!; Young Adult—Fiction, Nonfiction; Middle Grade—Fiction, Nonfiction.
Bio: Dawn Frederick is the owner of Red Sofa Literary, established in 2008. She tested her agent chops in her early publishing days at Sebastian Literary Agency. She has B.S. in Human Ecology and a M.S. in Library & Information Sciences. In addition to many years of bookstore life, she is a co-founder of the MN Publishing Tweet Up, on MPR's Twin-Cities Advisory Council, and a teaching artist at the Loft. She can be found on Twitter at @redsofaliterary, she also is a huge fan of all things female superheroes.
Featured Clients: Tim Hanley, Eric Smith, Paul Douglas, and Patrick Nathan.
Seeking: I’m looking for Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror (especially High/Epic Fantasy and Space Opera), Thrillers/Crime Fiction, ‘Upmarket’ Commercial Fiction, and Literary Fiction with a unique and memorable hook. I’m especially interested in books by and about people from marginalized perspectives, such as LGBT+ people and/or racial minorities. I do not represent Young Adult, Middle Grade, or Children’s manuscripts at this time.
Bio: Connor Goldsmith is an Agent at Fuse Literary. He began his career in publishing in 2012 at Lowenstein Associates, where he was promoted to Associate Agent in March 2013. He joined Fuse in early 2014 and was promoted to Agent in November 2015. Prior to transitioning into the world of books, he spent a year as a full-time intern and relief assistant in the commercial film and television department at Abrams Artists Agency.
Born and raised in New York, Connor lived for a brief stint in the Midwest studying English and the Classics at Oberlin College in Ohio. He is passionate about narrative fiction across all media as a vehicle for social progress, and received a Master’s Degree in Media Studies from The New School for Public Engagement.
You can follow Connor on Twitter at @dreamoforgonon.
Featured Clients: Alex White, SJ Sindu, Lara Elena Donnelly, Claire Humphrey, Jeffe Kennedy
Seeking: Serene is actively seeking YA (all genres but in particular: sci-fi and fantasy with a unique hook, realistic YA with diverse characters), upmarket women’s fiction, and anything that gives voice to those whose voices are underrepresented and/or marginalized. Stories dealing with the Middle East and the variety of immigrant experiences out there will definitely catch her eye. Intriguing female characters are also a huge plus. For nonfiction, she is seeking humorous and fascinating memoirs, and is particularly interested in LGBTQ and feminist issues.
Bio: Prior to joining Ayesha Pande Literary, Serene Hakim worked at Laura Gross Literary Agency in Boston. She has also interned at David Godine Publisher and Chase Literary Agency. Serene holds an M.A. in French to English translation from NYU and a B.A. in French and Women’s Studies from the University of Kansas. She loves to read anything she can get her hands on, but is particularly drawn to fiction with strong female voices, both YA and adult fiction and non-fiction with international themes, and LGBTQ and feminist issues. She is always on the lookout for great YA sci-fi and fantasy, realistic YA, and anything that gives voice to those whose voices are underrepresented and/or marginalized. As a child of Lebanese immigrants, she is especially interested in stories dealing with the Middle East and the variety of immigrant experiences out there.
Seeking: Erin seeks literary fiction; book club fiction; upmarket suspense; narrative non-fiction; select Young Adult titles. Her special areas of interest include: novels about cultural identity and/or collision; literary novels with speculative elements; family sagas; and contemporary novels with a historical strand.
Bio: Erin Harris is a literary agent at Folio Literary Management who champions the careers of both debut and established authors, bringing a strong editorial eye and hands-on approach to her agenting practice. Outside of the office, she is a co-curator of the Brooklyn-based literary event series H.I.P. Lit and a member of Epiphany Magazine’s board. Erin received her MFA in Creative Writing from The New School in 2011.
Featured Clients: Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Finalist Carla Power; Iowa Short Fiction Award Winner Allegra Hyde; New York Times Editor’s Choice Novelist Daniel Levine; Indie Next Pick author Erica Ferencik; BEA Buzz Panel author Marie Marquardt; and VCFA graduate Katie Bayerl.
Seeking: I represent: literary and commercial fiction as well as mystery, thriller, and women’s fiction. I love books that you’re scared to start reading because you know they will own you so completely. I worked on a book called All The Little Children by Jo Furniss, that was at it’s core a survival story, but also this amazing meditation on modern-day motherhood. I’m all about books that have one foot firmly in a genre, while the other is hovering over something completely new or different (I’ll admit I stole that line from my boss Kristin Nelson). My Absolute Darling by Gabriel Tallent hit all my sweet spots as did Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng. I’d love to find the next Tana French and wish I had represented Fierce Kingdom by Gin Philips. I’m also looking for passion projects on the YA side, but tend to lean more contemporary and literary. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson and Bone Gap by Laura Ruby are recent favorites.
Bio: Joanna MacKenzie joined Nelson Literary Agency in 2017 and is currently building a list of adult and YA titles. She enjoys working with authors who embrace the full publishing process (read: love revising) and is committed to the stories her clients want to tell both with the words they put on paper, as well as with the careers the build. Joanna is looking for the epic read that, at it's center, beats with a universal heart. In particular, she’s drawn to smart, character-driven mysteries and thrillers—both, ideally, with a little edge. Joanna has a weird obsession with, what she calls, “child in jeopardy lit” and can’t get enough kick-ass mom heroines. On the YA side, she’s interested in coming of age stories that possess a confident voice and characters she can’t stop thinking about. Originally from Poland, and by way of Canada, she’s all about narratives that deal with the themes of identity and the immigrant experience as well as those that delve into all aspects of the relationships that make us who we are—parents, siblings, best friends, and first love.
Featured Clients: Kristen Simmons, Shana Galen, John Galligan, Kate Baer, and Katrina Monroe.
Seeking: Monica is looking for:
Nonfiction by authors in the following categories: Advice/Relationships, Self-help/Self-Reflection, How-To, Crafting/Creativity, Food and Cooking, Humor, Pop Culture, Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty, Biography, Memoir, Narrative, Business, Politics and Current Affairs, History, Science, Social Studies, including topics of: identity, race, gender, sexual orientation, socioeconomics, civil rights and social justice
Literary fiction and upmarket fiction. Monica does not represent genre fiction.
Illustrators with demonstrable platforms, preferably author/illustrators, working on nonfiction, graphic memoirs or graphic novels.
Bio: Monica Odom is an agent at Liza Dawson Associates, where she represents a variety of nonfiction by authors, as well as literary and upmarket fiction, and illustrators. Monica earned her Masters in Publishing: Digital & Print Media from New York University in 2014, and has a B.A. in English from Montclair State University. She was also schooled in bookselling and event coordinating at her local indie, Watchung Booksellers. She loves to see a personal project turn into something original and surprising, and is committed to the expansion of diversity and inclusivity in the publishing industry.
Featured Clients: New York Times Bestselling author/illustrator Rachel Ignotofsky (Women in Science: 50 Fearless Pioneers Who Changed the World, Women in Sports: 50 Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win, Ecosystems of the World); Morgan Jerkins (This Will Be My Undoing); Siobhan Gallagher (In a Daze Work: A Pick-Your-Path Journey Through the Daily Grind); Carol Rossetti (Women: Body-Positive Art to Inspire and Empower); Camille Chew (Basic Witches—illustrator, The Astrology of You and Me—illustrator); Sharee Miller (Princess Hair, Don’t Touch My Hair); Cristen Conger and Caroline Ervin (Unladylike: A Field Guide to Smashing the Patriarchy and Claiming Your Space); Tyler Feder (Dancing at the Pity Party); Keiko Agena (No Mistakes).
Seeking: Currently, I'm most actively seeking young adult (YA) and middle grade (MG) fiction and nonfiction. On the adult side, I selectively represent: women's fiction, memoir, and narrative nonfiction, most often in categories of pop science, pop culture, travel writing, and food writing/memoir. I'm particularly drawn to nonfiction narratives about creativity, culture, storytelling, community, connectivity, and friendship/love/family in all its forms; the intersections of unexpectedly-connected topics; and those that underscore a universal human story, whatever the context. A good rule of thumb: if it would make for a fascinating TED talk, chances are I'll be intrigued. Read more of Molly's wish list here.
In all categories, I'm drawn to character-driven explorations of universal truths and experiences; plots driven by a compelling "what-if"; a vivid sense of place/setting/world-building; vividly-portrayed and meaningful relationships between characters; groundbreaking themes, formats, and voices; masterful, original writing; and stories that will surprise and delight readers.
I do NOT represent: prescriptive nonfiction (i.e. self-help or diet books); adult thrillers, adult crime fiction, or adult SF/F; picture book texts; poetry; chapbooks; screenplays; or erotica.
Bio: Molly O'Neill is a literary agent with Root Literary. For the past fourteen years, she has held various roles inside the publishing industry: previously, she was an Agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency; an Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth's juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; the Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; and a member the School & Library Marketing departments at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books. She loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and takes pride in discovering and evangelizing talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections and community among creators, readers, stories, and their champions.
Seeking: With an abiding love for dark themes and shamelessly nerdy fare—Battlestar Galactica, Joss Whedon, and Lev Grossman’s Magicians series are three of her great loves—Lana is drawn to beautifully and diversely voiced Young Adult and Middle Grade projects ranging from contemporary realism to speculative fiction, fantasy, horror, and sci-fi. For the adult market, Lana represents literary thrillers, horror, fantasy, sophisticated erotica and romance, and select nonfiction. She has a particular fondness for stories set in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, North Africa, and Asia, although she also loves reading about American subcultures.
Bio: Lana Popovic holds a B.A. with honors from Yale University, a J.D. from the Boston University School of Law, and an M.A. with highest honors from the Emerson College Publishing and Writing program. Prior to joining Chalberg & Sussman, Lana managed foreign rights at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth, where she built a list of Young Adult and adult literary authors. She is also the author of Wicked Like a Wildfire, out now from Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins.
Featured Clients: Lana’s clients include Rebecca Podos (The Mystery of Hollow Places, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins; Like Water, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), Brittany Cavallaro (A Study in Charlotte, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins; The Last of August, Katherine Tegen Books/HarperCollins), Emily Henry (The Love That Split the World, Razorbill/Penguin Random House; A Million Junes, Razorbill/Penguin Random House), Marie Jaskulka (The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy, Skyhorse), Leah Thomas (Because You’ll Never Meet Me, Bloomsbury, a finalist for the 2016 William C. Morris Award; Nowhere Near You, Bloomsbury), Christian Smith (Bloody, Bloody Bakersfield series, Permuted Press), Michelle Smith (Play On, Spencer Hill Contemporary), and Danielle Mages Amato (The Hidden Memory of Objects, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins), among others. Lana's books have sold abroad in over twenty territories and have been optioned for film and television.
Seeking: In fiction, Soumeya is seeking literary and upmarket novels and collections, and also represents realistic young-adult and middle-grade. She likes books with vivid voices and compelling, well-developed story-telling, and is particularly interested in narratives by people of color and fiction that reflects on the post-colonial world. She's currently on the hunt for narratives set in enclosed settings, stylized literary takes on genre (especially literary thriller and suspense), novels set in other countries or shot through with elements of travel, family sagas, historical narratives (especially those that intertwine with the present), honest, updated, politically charged takes on the domestic family novel, and unconventional love stories. A lover of craft, she is drawn to observant writing that illuminates dynamic relationships between complex but sympathetic characters, intelligent experiments with form, and stories that enchant and transport the reader in authentic and inventive ways.
In nonfiction, she is primarily looking for idea-driven or voice-forward memoirs, personal essay collections, and approachable narrative non-fiction of all stripes: politics, current events; popular culture, (especially anything that deals with subcultures - the more minute the better), unconventional business, popular science, adventure, psychology, and more. She also represents practical nonfiction in the areas of cooking, design, craft, gardening, travel and the outdoors, humor, health, and parenting.
Bio: Soumeya Bendimerad Roberts joined Hannigan Salky Getzler in 2017, where she is an agent and Rights Director. She was most recently an agent at Writers House. She began her career in the editorial department at MacAdam/Cage, an independent publisher based in San Francisco. On moving to New York, she was a book scout for Sanford Greenburger Associates, reporting on the American literary marketplace for foreign publishing houses. She began representing clients after moving to the Susan Golomb Literary Agency, where she served as Rights Director. While at SGLA, she handled subsidiary rights for best-selling and award-winning authors such as Jonathan Franzen, Rachel Kushner, William T. Vollmann. Soumeya is originally from the San Francisco Bay Area and lives in Brooklyn, New York with her husband and their cat.
Featured Clients: Debra Jo Immergut, Darryl Cheng, Rosalie Knecht, Mike Roberts, Keely Hutton
Seeking: Jaida is actively building her adult fiction list, with a special affinity for magical realism, upmarket women’s fiction, historical fiction, literary fiction, and speculative and fantasy titles. Jaida also loves stories that shed light on marginalized experiences, as well as titles that include #OwnVoices themes, international settings, alternate histories, and stories with a bit of whimsy. Some of her all-time favorite novels include: A Discovery of Witches, The Dinner, The Davinci Code, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, The Sell Out, The Night Circus, Hidden Figures, and And Then There Were None.
Bio: Prior to joining New Leaf Literary, Jaida grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, studied classical ballet, and briefly attended medical school. She loves art history, traveling, logic puzzles, horticulture, and numerous other topics that come in handy for Trivia Night and crossword puzzles. You can follow Jaida's #mswl on Twitter at @jaidatemperly.
Featured Clients: Kim Liggett (The Grace Year—Coming from Wednesday Books / Macmillan, Winter 2019); Jeff Jackson (Destroy All Monsters—Coming from FSG Originals / Macmillan, Fall 2018); Malcolm Hansen (They Come in All Colors—Coming from Atria / Simon & Schuster, Spring 2018)
Seeking: Stacy is currently seeking literary fiction and upmarket women’s fiction, particularly stories with international settings, unique subcultures, historical hooks, magical realism, and powerful women. On the nonfiction side, she is interested in representing remarkable memoirs, humor writing, narrative nonfiction, investigative journalism, and prescriptive titles with strong platforms. Broadly speaking, she is drawn to anything with an interest in social justice, a compelling narrative voice, and/or a great sense of humor.
Bio: Stacy Testa is an agent at Writers House, which she joined in 2011. She represents a wide range of genres, from literary, upmarket, and historical fiction to memoir, narrative, and platform-driven nonfiction. In her spare time, she practices yoga and attempts to tackle the ever-growing stack of books on her nightstand before it becomes a safety hazard.
Featured Clients: Sarah Wilson, Kim Michele Richardson, Tamsen Wolff, Abbigail Rosewood, Rory Kress
Seeking: Natanya is particularly interested in literary fiction that touches on current events and multicultural issues; dark psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, book club fiction and domestic suspense. Above all, characterization and voice are what grab her attention. She loves to find new writers and does not shy away from debut talent.
For nonfiction, Natanya would love to find authors with strong platforms who write about nature, the human mind women’s issues or animals.
Bio: Natanya Wheeler is an agent at Nancy Yost Literary Agency as well as director of digital rights.
Featured Clients: Kate Baxter, Mandy Baxter, Donna Grant, Molly Harper, James Levine.
Seeking: Monika's interests include literary and commercial fiction and compelling non-fiction in food, popular culture, journalism, science, and current affairs. She is particularly excited about plot-driven literary novels, non-fiction that is creatively critical, unique perspectives, a great cookbook, and above all, original prose.
Bio: Monika Woods is a literary agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. She is a graduate of the Columbia Publishing Course and has worked at Trident Media Group and InkWell Management, where she worked closely with leading voices in contemporary literature.
Featured Clients: Chelsea Hodson, Lauren Duca, Jim DeRogatis, David Burr Gerrard, Chelsea Martin, Taylor Larsen, Rion Amilcar Scott, Darcie Wilder, Mira Gonzalez, Marie Calloway, Leah Dieterich, Ben Fama, Rachel Yoder, Vikki Tobak, Larissa Pham, Juliet Escoria, Mensah DeMary, Alice Bolin, and Caroline Zancan.
Session Presenters and Moderators
Details Coming Soon