Thursday, October 11, 2012

Literary agent Erin Harris joins Folio; seeks bad-ass female protagonists


Folio Literary Management

Folio Literary has a dozen agents looking for both fiction and nonfiction, for adults, young adults and fiction. In general, they are aggressively seeking upmarket adult fiction that’s appropriate for book club discussion; literary fiction and commercial fiction that features fresh voices and/or memorable characters.

Folio is also seeking narrative nonfiction – great stories paired with great writing – including memoirs, but also authors, experts, scholars, and journalists with well-researched, compelling and new ideas.  For nonfiction, Folio loves authors who are ready and able to promote their work and expertise in all forms of media.

Erin Harris is the most recent member of the Folio team. For the past four years, she’s been with the Irene Skolnick Literary Agency and before that interned with WM Clark Associates.

Erin is actively seeking submission and one of her roles at Folio will be to champion debut literary fiction – so all you first-time author, this is an agent you should be looking at. Erin focuses on literary fiction and also loves book club fiction; historical fiction; literary suspense/noir/mystery/thriller; contemporary YA; and narrative nonfiction.

Regarding fiction for adults, Erin says she wants:
·         Novels set against the backdrop of another time, place, or culture.  I’m someone who believes fiction has much to teach us about history, psychology, and anthropology. (I’m a huge fan of Zadie Smith, Orhan Pamuk, Nicole Krauss, Chris Cleave, Sue Monk Kidd, Donald Ray Pollock, and Salman Rushdie.)
·         Novels that incorporate some kind of surreal or magical element. (I can’t get enough of novels in the vein of Karen Russell’s Swamplandia! Téa Obrecht’s The Tiger’s Wife, and Karen Thomson Walker’s The Age of Miracles.)
·         Novels with mystery and suspense in their DNA, or ones with a noir aesthetic.  (Think: Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Lawrence Block.)

Regarding young adult, she wants:
·         Contemporary, voice-driven novels that approach the universal experience of being a teenager from a surprising or an unlikely perspective (Some favorite authors: John Green, David Levithan, and Peter Cameron).
·         Though I enjoy some paranormal romances (Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed, and Lauren Oliver’s Delirium), I’m currently shying away from representing anything involving angels, chimera, Greek gods, and dystopias. I am, however, open to YA books with highly original supernatural concepts or undertones.

Regarding nonfiction Erin says:
·         I’m drawn to adventure narratives, particularly those in which physical and spiritual journeys become intertwined (Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, Cheryl Strayed’s Wild).
·         I also enjoy memoirs that illuminate another culture or explore cross-cultural conflict (Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go To the Dogs Tonight, Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s Infidel).
·         I’m fascinated by “big idea” books that reveal underlying yet unexpected truths about our society (Barbara Ehrenreich’s Nickel and Dimed, Susan Cain’s Quiet).

Regardless of genre, I gravitate toward books that have both compelling concepts and impeccable, stop-you-in-your-tracks writing.  Give me a topic or an idea that I can’t wait to tell editors about – and that I can explain clearly and succinctly.  Give me prose that leaps off the page.  I’m a real sucker for sentences that demand to be read aloud. Also, I should mention that I love bad-ass female protagonists across the board.

I do read all of my queries and consider them carefully, but I only respond to ones I’m interested in.  Your submission should include:
1.       A brief description of your project
2.      Your author bio: please let me know about any publications, awards, residencies, schooling, professional or personal contacts that may be relevant.
3.      The first ten pages of your manuscript or nonfiction proposal


Brian Henry will be leading a "Writing for Children and for Young Adults" workshop in Hamilton on February 9 (details here). Also, he'll be leading "How to Get Published" workshops on March 16 in Kingston (details here) and on March 17 in Peterborough (details here). To register, email: brianhenry@sympatico.ca  

But probably the best single step you can take toward getting manuscript ready for publication is to join one of the
“Next Step” or “Intensive” creative writing courses. Starting in January, Brian will be leading “Next Step” courses in Mississauga (details here) and in Georgetown (details here). He’ll be leading   “Intensive” courses in Burlington (details here) and in Mississauga (details here).

See Brian's full schedule here, including writing workshops and creative writing courses in Kingston, Peterborough, Toronto, Mississauga, Brampton, Georgetown, Milton, Oakville, Burlington, St. Catharines, Hamilton, Dundas, Kitchener, Guelph, London, Woodstock, Orangeville, Newmarket, Barrie, Gravenhurst, Sudbury, Muskoka, Peel, Halton, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

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