Agents and Agency: Building a Writing Career
Wednesday March 22, 2017
Part two in our series with Electric Literature and The Authors Guild was this essential event on acquiring and working with a literary agent. We were joined by Marya Spence of Janklow & Nesbit Associates, Jacqueline Ko of The Wylie Agency, and Anjali Singh of Ayesha Pande Literary, with Electric Literature’s Halimah Marcus moderating.
Raised in California’s Bay Area, Marya Spence studied literature at Harvard, where she was Fiction Editor for the Advocate and specialized in creative writing. She went on to get her MFA at New York University and teach undergraduate creative writing there. She also spent these years in her 20’s working and interning at The New Yorker, PAPER Mag, Travel & Leisure, Vanity Fair, Publishers Weekly, METROPOLIS Magazine, and more—with a brief stint in equity research.
As someone who values craft from the writer’s perspective, Marya represents a diverse range in fiction and nonfiction, including, but not limited to, literary novels and collections, upmarket commercial fiction, cultural criticism and voice-driven essays, narrative journalism with a humorous or critical edge, and pop culture.
Jacqueline Ko is an agent at The Wylie Agency, representing literary fiction and nonfiction. The Wylie Agency has offices in New York and London, and represents more than 900 clients internationally.
Anjali Singh is currently an agent at Ayesha Pande Literary. She started her career in publishing in 1996 as a literary scout. Most recently Editorial Director at Other Press, she has also worked as an editor at Simon & Schuster, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Vintage Books. She is best known for having championed Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis after stumbling across it on a visit to Paris. She has always been drawn to the thrill of discovering new writers, and among the literary novelists whose careers she helped launch are Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Samantha Hunt, Preeta Samarasan, Zoe Ferraris, Victoria Patterson, Natalie Bakopoulos, Enid Shomer and Brigid Pasulka. As a literary agent, she is looking for new voices, character-driven fiction or nonfiction works that reflect an engagement with the world, literary thrillers, memoirs, YA literature and graphic novels. She is a member of the International Committee of the Brooklyn Book Festival.
Halimah Marcus is the Executive Director of the innovative literary non-profit Electric Literature and the Editor-in-Chief of its weekly fiction magazine, Recommended Reading.