Noah Ballard (Curtis Brown, Ltd.)
Noah Ballard is an agent at Curtis Brown, Ltd. He studied creative writing at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and began his career in publishing at Emma Sweeney Agency. Noah focuses on literary fiction, short story collections and narrative nonfiction, including memoir, journalism and pop culture.
Noah has appeared at graduate writing programs and writers’ conferences across the country speaking about query letters, building non-fiction platforms and submission etiquette. A New Jersey native, Noah currently lives in Brooklyn.
Noah’s Wish List:
He’s looking for Contemporary-set literary fiction, literary noir, and nonfiction exploring some weird/interesting facet of our world in a narrative way, and for humor.
Elizabeth Bewley (Sterling Lord Literistic)
Elizabeth Bewley of Sterling Lord Literistic in New York represents young adult and middle grade fiction and nonfiction, as well as a select number of adult fiction and nonfiction works. After graduating from Northwestern University in 2002, Elizabeth got her first job as an editorial assistant at St. Martin’s Press. She then went on to hold editorial jobs at HarperCollins, Intervisual Books, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers, where she was an Executive Editor. Elizabeth has worked with bestselling and award-winning authors including Jennifer E. Smith, Estelle Laure, Claire LaZebnik, Linda Williams Jackson, Ashley Herring Blake, Sophie Flack, Kass Morgan, Josh Sundquist, Alyson Noël, and Nic Sheff, amongst others. She joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2017, and she has an affinity for upmarket commercial fiction and accessible nonfiction that illuminates real world issues. Elizabeth loves books that: start a conversation; explore friendship in all its messy glory; capture the feeling of first love; open eyes to little-know worlds or situations. She would also like to represent memoirs geared towards young readers. She enjoys working closely with authors on each and every stage of the publication process.
Elizabeth’s Wish List:
Elizabeth is looking for young adult fiction, both commercial and literary; Middle grade fiction, both commercial and literary; Narrative nonfiction and memoir for young readers; Upmarket commercial fiction for the adult market
Savannah Brooks (Jennifer De Chiara)
Savannah Brooks joined the Jennifer De Chiara team in 2018, after interning for a year and a half. She’s a nonfiction MFA candidate at Hamline University and earned her BS in marketing management from Virginia Tech. As well as agenting, she works as an editor at Red Bird Chapbooks, a teaching artist at the Loft Literary Center, and a reader for multiple literary magazines. Her own creative work has been publishing in Barely South Review, Hobart, Lime Hawk, and Every Writer’s Resource, among others. When not immersed in the world of words, she can be found on her motorcycle, at her boxing gym, or lounging at one of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes. She lives in the most beautiful literary capital: Saint Paul.
Savannah’s Wish List:
For YA, she’s interested in books that focus on friendship, conflicting identity, and the theme of truth. She’s always drawn in by a protagonist venturing into a realm where society says they don’t belong (think swapping gender norms), and characters with weird obsessions. She’s all about magical realism, mythology, and modern retellings (but not high fantasy or science fiction). She’s invested in representing the diverse world in which we live and would like to see that reflected in a cast of characters. Show her variations in race, sexuality, gender, dis/ability, and ethnicity without that difference being a point of contention.
For adult fiction, she’s interested in contemporary/literary novels/stories that are relevant to culture and focus on themes and issues that impact our daily lives. She loves a meaty cast and am drawn in by the fine line between humor and depth (think Liane Moriarty’s Nine Perfect Strangers). She would love to hear more from marginalized voices, regardless of whether or not marginalization is a central theme.
She’d love to bring more nonfiction into this world, especially topic-driven books/essays such as those written by the likes of Mary Roach, Leslie Jamison, Michelle McNamara, Malcolm Gladwell, and Bill Bryson. She’s also interested in memoir that will inspire generations to come—H is for Hawk is a personal favorite—and interested in humor that does more than just make her laugh—see: Priestdaddy by Patricia Lockwood.
Brenna English-Loeb (Transatlantic Agency)
Brenna English-Loeb comes to the Transatlantic Literary Agency after working for several years at Janklow & Nesbit Associates and Writers House, where she had the pleasure of working with New York Times bestselling and award-winning authors across multiple genres. At TLA she’s excited to grow her list of speculative and suspenseful fiction in both YA and adult, as well as adult nonfiction, in collaboration with senior agents.
Raised on an eclectic blend of Jane Austen, Terry Pratchett and Ursula K Le Guin, Brenna has always gravitated to unique stories with a strong point of view. Aspects of a work that are sure to catch her eye include: evocative atmospheres, character-driven plots, a sense of adventure, and narratives that reveal a deep knowledge of a particular subject. She also loves old tropes made new again, unreliable narrators, and power imbalances.
Brenna’s Wish List:
She is specifically looking for works of YA and adult science fiction, fantasy, and suspense, as well as some adult literary fiction. She loves space operas, myth and fairy tale retellings, survival stories, epistolary novels, and heists. She also has a soft spot for stories that blend multiple genres and for works by and about underrepresented groups and identities. For nonfiction, Brenna is looking for serious, groundbreaking sociological work that holds our culture up to the magnifying glass. She also loves accounts of historical events and people that deserve to be better known, as well as unusual and influential object histories.
Joanna MacKenzie (Nelson Literary)
Joanna MacKenzie joined Nelson Literary Agency in 2017 and is building a list of adult titles in the areas of mystery, thriller, and commercial women’s fiction as well as select young adult passion projects. She loves creepy islands, mysteries set in close-knit communities (if those communities happen to be in the Midwest, all the better), and fierce mom heroines. Joanna is looking for smart and timely women’s fiction where the personal intersects with the world at large, think Emily Giffin’s All We Ever Wanted or Camille Perri’s The Assistants.
Joanna’s Wish List:
Her list includes: mysteries, atmospheric thrillers, women’s fiction, moms with secret lives, anything set on a creepy island (or any island, really), midwestern-set mysteries/thrillers/fiction, re-invention stories (She’d love to find more about women in their 40s and 50s reinventing themselves following tragedy or break-ups). She’d also love to find a Beaches redux (aka friendship stories).
Devin Ross (New Leaf Literary)
Devin Ross earned her B.A. in English from Lawrence University and her Publishing Certificate from the Denver Publishing Institute. She began her publishing career as an author’s assistant, helping authors grow their platforms and meet their deadlines. Her next career move landed her in the Subsidiary Rights department at Crown Publishing Group before she found her home at New Leaf Literary & Media. As an agent she works in Adult and YA fiction. She is drawn to stories with emotional depth, strong voices, and characters that make you laugh.
Devin’s Wish List:
In adult, she is looking for peculiar, eccentric, character driven, commercial or upmarket fiction that is conceptually unique. She’s also looking for upbeat women’s fiction or rom-coms. She loves all types of fantasy, and is drawn to stories with magical realism. While she loves science fiction, she is not looking for it at this time. In nonfiction she loves a book that explains complex science to people unlike her *cough* who almost failed junior chem. In YA she’s looking for commercial fiction; coming of age, plot driven books with strong voices and crossover appeal that break the status quo. She’d love to see more contemporary projects that will make her laugh and cry and leave her with a smile. She is also drawn to fantasy and thrillers that suck you in from the very first page.
JL Stermer (New Leaf Literary)
JL is adding to her nonfiction list in both YA and adult categories with smart pop-culture, health & wellness, self-help, comedy/satire, fashion, memoir and more. She’s also growing her fiction list (a bit more selectively) and is looking for adult and YA: coming-of-age, humor, dark and edgy stories, and across the board she is excited about new and original POVs from underrepresented voices in both commercial and upmarket projects.
Some of her clients include: How To Be Alone: If You Want To, And Even if You Don’t by Lane Moore (Simon & Schuster, 2018), Are U OK?: A Guide to Caring for Your Mental Health by Kati Morton (Hachette, 2018), Where Am I Giving?: A Global Adventure Exploring How to Use Your Gifts and Talents to Make a Difference by Kelsey Timmerman (Wiley 2018), Again, But Better by Christine Riccio (Macmillan, 2019), Dear Haiti, Love Alaine (HarperCollins 2019).
JL is looking for voices that reflect the world as it changes, stories that share the human experience of life, love, growth, and achievement. And they don’t have to all be serious–having fun is important! Some of her favorite reads include: The Basketball Diaries by Jim Carroll, Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood by Janet Mock, Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay, The Rap Yearbook by Shea Serrano, Less Than Zero by Brett Easton Ellis, and A Fighting Chance by Elizabeth Warren.
A born and bred New Yorker, JL has lived in Manhattan her entire life and is a lover of all things arts & culture, people watching, and doughnuts.
JL’s Wish List:
Currently adding to her nonfiction list in both YA and adult categories, JL is looking for: smart general pop-culture, social justice, current events, comedy/satire, fashion, health & wellness, self-help, memoir, essays, pop business, tech, and science. For fiction: commercial adult and YA: coming-of-age, humor, dark and edgy stories, and new, original, under-represented voices. She also loves graphic novels.