Monday, March 11, 2019

Literary agent Jennifer Azantian temporarily open to Middle Grade novels and new agent Masha Gunic seeks Middle Grade and Young Adult novels

A Pinch of Phoenix by Heidi Lang
& Kati Bartkowski, represented by
Azantian Literary
Azantian Literary Agency

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Azantian is a two-person agency begun by Jennifer Azantian in 2014. Jennifer represents both kid lit and adult lit, though currently she’s only looking for middle grade novels and graphic novels. In February, 2019, Masha Gunic joined her at the agency, and like all new agents, Masha needs authors.

Masha Gunic started her career in publishing as an intern at the Azantian Literary Agency and has since held internships at Red Fox Literary and Writers House before working as an Editorial Assistant at Abrams Books on the children's side for two years. Masha is only looking to acquire middle grade and young adult novels.
Middle Grade:I am excited to find middle grade novels across all genres. Bring on the adventure, the creepy, the spine-chilling horror, the historical, the imaginative, and the laugh-out-loud funny! I look for dramatic and funny middle grade books with a relatable voice and strong friendship and family themes. Brave or whimsical adventure novels are a sweet spot, especially those starring underdogs and antiheroes. I love low fantasy in general (and am still upset I never got that Hogwarts letter!), as well as heartbreaking contemporary fiction with exceptional character development.
“Some of my favorite middle grade books include WISH by Barbara O'Connor, the FIVE KINGDOMS series by Brandon Mull, THE NEST by Kenneth Oppel, ESCAPE FROM MR. LEMONCELLO'S LIBRARY by Chris Grabenstein, CATHERINE, CALLED BIRDY by Karen Cushman, HOLES by Louis Sachar, THE ROYAL DIARIES series, and the GOOSEBUMPS series by R.L. Stine.”
Young Adult: “I'm looking for exciting, high-concept and commercial young adult novels that keep me reading chapter after chapter until I'm all done and craving more, as well as unique literary works and contemporary fiction (including comedies, drama, romance, thrillers, and mysteries with satisfying twists). I'm also open to historical fiction, science fiction, low fantasy, and magical realism, but I'm not the right match for high fantasy. Above all, I'm drawn to young adult novels with a strong voice, masterful writing, beautiful world-building with a vivid setting, and complex characters that are truly unforgettable.
A few of my all-time favorite books include the CONFESSIONS OF GEORGIA NICOLSON series by Louise Rennison, THE PRINCESS DIARIES and ALL-AMERICAN GIRL by Meg Cabot, THE HATE U GIVE by Angie Thomas, ONE OF US IS LYING by Karen M. McManus, THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand, SINCE YOU'VE BEEN GONE by Morgan Matson, TO ALL THE BOYS I'VE LOVED BEFORE by Jenny Han, CINDER by Marissa Meyer, THE WRATH & THE DAWN by Renée Ahdieh, and THE WICKED DEEP by Shea Ernshaw.
Query Masha through this submissions form
Full guidelines here.

Jennifer Azantian graduated with a B.S. in clinical and developmental psychology from the University of California, San Diego where she was an executive editor for the Triton Psychology Report. 
She began her agenting career first as an intern and then as an assistant and associate at the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency and later joined the Paul Levine Literary Agency. In 2014, she founded Azantian Literary where she focuses primarily, though not exclusively, on fiction with a speculative twist.
Among other things, Jennifer likes:
Explorations of love, friendship, or familial bonds against fantastic backdrops
Obscure retold fairy tales
Women and girls in STEM
Quirky middle grade
Modernized mythologies
Psychological horror/thrillers with speculative elements
Literary and/or near-future science fiction
Historical fantasy
Magical realism
Internally consistent (preferably non-Medieval European) epic fantasy
Middle Grade: “I'd love to find some creepy or spooky stories that are still age-appropriate like CORALINE. Stories that don't forget how hard it was to be young but told with a whimsy that undercuts those hard times like in a lot of Roald Dahl's work. Stories that dig into the deeper questions like A WRINKLE IN TIME and THE GIVER. Lyrical stories like THE GIRL WHO DRANK THE MOON. And well-written adventures like GREGOR THE OVERLANDER and HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE.
“I think the most difficult thing to get right in middle grade is remembering just how complex a time it was. I know a middle grade is hitting the right notes for me when, even if I'm loving the read, I have that subtle fear of never wanting to be twelve-years-old ever again!”
Jennifer is open to middle grade and young adult graphic novels across genres. If you can make her feel like THE PRINCE AND THE DRESSMAKER did, you’ll have her. To query graphic novels, please fill out this submissions form

And from March 1 – March 3, 2019, only, Jennifer is open to all middle grade fiction, including contemporary realistic. To query middle grade novels, please fill out this submissions form.

Full guidelines here.

101 Cool Canadian Jokes by author and
Scholastic Books senior editor Erin O'Connor
If you’re interested in writing for a young audience, we have two Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshops coming up, both with guest speaker Erin O’Connor, senior editor, Scholastic Books. On Saturday, May 5, in Toronto the workshop will also feature young adult author Laurie Elizabeth Flynn (see here), and on Saturday, May 11, in Brampton the workshop will feature young adult author Tanaz Bhathena (see here).
For updated listings of Kid Lit weekly classes and Saturday workshops, see here (and scroll down).

If you’re interested in getting published, soon or somewhere down the road, don’t miss the upcoming How to Get Published workshop Saturday, June 8, in Waterloo with literary agent Meg Wheeler (see here)
For updated listings of How to Get Published workshops see here (and scroll down).

And don’t miss these other great workshops coming soon: Writing with Style, Saturday, March 16, in Mississauga (see here), You Can Write Great Dialogue, Saturday, March 30, in Burlington (see here), and Secrets of Writing a Page-turner, Saturday, April 6, in Alliston (see here).

But the best way to grow as a writer is may be with a weekly course. In the spring, a full range of classes will be offered: 

Burlington: Welcome to Creative Writing, Thursday afternoons, April 18 – June 20 (No class May 30). Details here.
Toronto: Welcome to Creative Writing, Friday afternoons, April 26 – June 28 (No class May 31). Details here.
Oakville Central Library: Writing Personal Stories, Thursday evenings, April 18 – June 27 (No class  May 30). Details here.
Burlington: Intensive Creative Writing, Tuesday afternoons, 12:30 – 2:45; April 16 – June 25 (No class June 4). Details here.
Georgetown: Intensive Creative Writing, Wednesday evenings, 6:45 – 9:00; April 17 – June 19. Details here.
Toronto: Intensive Creative Writing, Friday mornings, 10:15 – 12:30, April 26 – June 28. (No class May 31). Details here.
     See details of all 6 courses here.

And later in the spring, come enjoy the most sublime writing experience of all…
Algonquin Writing Retreat, Friday, May 31 – Monday, June 3, 2019: four days in the luxurious isolation of Arowhon Pines Resort to get down to some real creative growth. Details here. 

To reserve a spot in any upcoming weekly course, weekend retreat, or Saturday workshop, email Brian at:
Read reviews of Brian’s courses, retreats, and workshops here.

See Brian’s complete current schedule here, including Saturday writing workshops, weekly writing classes, and weekend retreats in Algonquin Park, Alliston, Bolton, Barrie, Brampton, Burlington, Caledon, Collingwood, Georgetown, Georgina, Guelph, Hamilton, Jackson’s Point, Kitchener-Waterloo, London, Midland, Mississauga, New Tecumseth, Oakville, Ottawa, Peterborough, St. Catharines, Sudbury, Toronto, Windsor, Woodstock, Halton, Muskoka, Peel, Simcoe, York Region, the GTA, Ontario and beyond.

Navigation tips: Always check out the Labels underneath a post; they’ll lead you to various distinct collections of postings. If you're searching for more interviews with literary agents or a literary agent who represents a particular type of book, check out this post.

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