Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Six agents at Canadian literary agency CookeMcDermid seek manuscripts: Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult fiction and nonfiction

I love you, call me back
by Sabrina Benaim
represented by CookeMcDermid

CookeMcDermid Literary Management

320 Front St. W.
Suite 1105
, Ontario


Note:  If you’re not yet on my newsletter list, send me an email, including your locale to:  brianhenry@sympatico.ca ~Brian

CookeMcDermid was created in 2017 by the amalgamation of two preeminent Canadian agencies, The Cooke Agency and The McDermid Agency. CookeMcDermid is a full-service literary agency. Its agents are especially eager to read commercial, upmarket and literary fiction, middle grade and young adult novels and nonfiction, and both research-driven nonfiction and creative nonfiction.

CookeMcDermid represents  more than 300 writers, among them Man Booker nominees, Giller and Governor General’s award–winning authors, prize-winning journalists, New York Times bestsellers, international authorities in their field, and some of the literary world’s most notable names. 

Clients include Jen Agg, Omar el Akkad, Michael Crummey, Cherie Dimaline, Robyn Doolittle, John Irving, Rupi Kaur, Scaachi Koul, Karen Le Billon, Geddy Lee, Robert Munsch, Maye Musk, Alison Pick, Nino Ricci, Guy Vanderhaeghe, Jeff VanderMeer, and Jesse Wente.

Six of the nine agents with CookeMcDermid are seeking new authors:

Paige Sisley joined CookeMcDermid (then The Cooke Agency) in June 2013 following an internship. Paige has her Master of Arts from Ryerson University's Literatures of Modernity program and a Bachelor’s degree in English from the University of King's College and Dalhousie.

Paige is currently building her list as a keen and market-focused reader. When it comes to fiction she is looking for smart, well-written commercial novels that both entertain and have something to say (e.g. Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies and Eliza Kennedy’s I Take You). She’s seeking books that can compete with Netflix for people’s time, but that someone like Reese Witherspoon might in turn be interested in adapting for Netflix.

Paige also represents nonfiction books in the lifestyle and health and wellness space. In both categories, Paige is attracted to books that enhance lives, either through a practical application or by shifting and expanding their reader’s worldview.

When Paige’s head isn’t in a book you can find her baking, at a concert, or simply watching the world go by in her busy downtown Toronto neighborhood. A born and bred Torontonian, Paige loves to travel and has also lived in LA, a sleepy New Zealand surf town, and Halifax, Nova Scotia.  She's on Twitter at @paigesisley.

Query Paige via the agency’s submissions form here. Full guidelines here.


Note: Paige will be the guest speaker at the online How to Get Published workshop Saturday, November 27, 2021. Details here. {If you’re looking at this after Nov 27, 2021, see current upcoming How to Get Published workshops here {and scroll down}.


Stephanie Sinclair is of Cree, Ojibwe and settler descent. She represents literary and upmarket fiction and creative nonfiction, memoir, and nonfiction hybrids. She particularly wants books that provoke conversation and strive to challenge the way we think, feel and live.

Her list is curated with political leanings, and proudly includes writers of award-winning fiction and nonfiction including Journey Prize winner Sharon Bala, Griffin Prize winner Billy Ray Belcourt, Joshua Whitehead, Lee Maracle and Harriet Alida Lye. Writers on her roster have been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, Scotiabank Giller Prize, Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction, LAMBDA Awards, The Toronto Book Award and many others. 

Stephanie spent 7 years agenting with the Transatlantic Literary Agency, where in addition to working on her own list, she managed several translation programs. Stephanie is a graduate of the publishing program at Ryerson University, creative writing program at the Humber School for Writers and the Randolph Academy for the Performing Arts. For many years, authors, journalists and theatre writers have benefited from Stephanie's uniquely attuned and effective advice in her work as an award-nominated freelance editor. She is actively growing her list. 

Query Stephanie via the agency’s submissions form here. Full guidelines here.

Rachel Letofsky joined the agency in 2010. She is currently seeking middle-grade and young adult fiction and (non-prescriptive) nonfiction. For adults, she’s looking for commercial fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, and speculative fiction. She’s also seeking narrative or essay driven nonfiction, particularly politics, pop culture, true crime, humour and personal history. 

Her clients include National and International bestsellers, and nominees and winners for awards such as the Kirkus Prize, the Scotiabank Giller Prize, the Governor General’s Awards, the Trillium awards, the OLA’s Forest of Tree Awards, the BC and Yukon Book Awards, CBC’s Canada Reads, the Sunburst Award, the Canadian Jewish Literary award, the Lambda Literary Awards, and the Rogers Writers' Trust Awards. She frequently acts as a judge for writing competitions, and travels throughout North America to writers’ festivals and literary events.  

When not travelling or reading, Rachel loves spending time with her family, cooking, gardening, planning for the upcoming alien/zombie invasion, and swimming in lakes and oceans as much as possible. Twitter @rachelletofsky

Query Rachel via the agency’s submissions form here. Full guidelines here.

Ron Eckel is a literary agent at Cooke-McDermid and co-owner of Cooke International, an agency specializing in foreign rights management for a diverse group of publishing clients. 

He is a graduate of Simon Fraser University’s Master of Publishing program and a twenty-year veteran of Canadian publishing. Ron worked with Penguin Group Canada, Westwood Creative Artists, and Random House of Canada before joining CookeMcDermid and Cooke International. 

As an agent Ron is particularly drawn to dark fiction, commercial, upmarket, and literary, in the areas of horror, science fiction/fantasy, suspense, and psychological thrillers that terrify him and make him think. 

On the nonfiction side, Ron is seeking narrative-driven books on pop culture, music, pop science, and story-driven current affairs that start conversations. 

In general he wants strong, unique voices that have a compelling and engaging story to tell.

Ron’s client list at CookeMcDermid includes bestselling author Scaachi Koul, CBC Radio columnist and pop-culture critic Jesse Wente, RUSH bassist and Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer Geddy Lee, and horror writers Eric McCormack and Michael Rowe. On his bedside table you will find equal amounts of fiction and non-fiction, but always, always at least one biography (authorized or not) of the Ramones.

Ron is a former president and current member of PACLA (the Professional Association of Canadian Literary Agents) and you can find him on Twitter @roneckel

Query Ron via the agency’s submissions form here. Full guidelines here.

Suzanne Brandreth is an agent with CookeMcDermid and a co-owner of Cooke International, an agency specializing in foreign rights management for a diverse group of publishing clients. 

Whether literary or commercial novels or evidence-based and narrative nonfiction, Suzanne seeks stories that challenge the mind and/or move the heart. She is the agent for Rupi Kaur’s international bestseller the sun and her flowers, CS Richardson’s perennial bestseller The End of the Alphabet, and Emily White’s ground-breaking Lonely: Learning to Live with Solitude.

In particular, Suzanne is seeking upmarket or book club fiction, both contemporary and historical. She also wants author-driven or expert-driven nonfiction in all categories, and practical nonfiction in the areas of health and wellness, cookery, personal development, meditation, trauma, and addiction

Suzanne has worked in publishing for over 20 years, as an independent bookseller, an editor, and, since 2003, an agent. She has close working relationships around the world, frequently travels to New York, London, and Europe. She has participated in numerous publishing fellowships in Frankfurt, Jerusalem, Taiwan, Turin, and the United Arab Emirates. Suzanne is a hands-on agent and works with her clients to brainstorm and fine-tune book ideas and substantively edit proposals or manuscripts before submission. 

Query Suzanne via the agency’s submissions form here. Full guidelines here.

Martha Webb is an agent and part owner of CookeMcDermid. She is currently seeking upmarket commercial fiction and a broad range of nonfiction, including investigative journalism, memoir with a particular focus, popular science, history and philosophy, and some self-help. 

She is drawn to rebels and contrarians with a good sense of humour, and to books that are topical, deal with important issues, or strive for social betterment while also being great reads. She values distinctive voices and good storytelling, in whatever form. Her clients include Jen Agg, Michael Crummey, Robyn Doolittle, Cathal Kelly, Tima Kurdi, Saleema Nawaz, Pasha Malla, Zoey Leigh Peterson, and Shannon Lee Simmons.

Martha began her career in publishing in 2005 with The McDermid Agency, of which she later assumed co-ownership prior to the creation of CookeMcDermid. She holds an MA in literature from the University of Edinburgh, and was born and raised in Montreal.

Query Martha via the agency’s submissions form here. Full guidelines here.

Patricia Ocampo, senior editor
Kids Can Press

If you’re interested in meeting an agent and in getting published, don’t miss our online How to Get Published, workshop, Saturday, Nov 27, with guest, literary agent Paige Sisley. Details here. {If you’re looking at this after Nov 27, 2021, see current upcoming How to Get Published workshops here {and scroll down}.

If you’re particularly interested in Kid Lit, check out our online Writing for Children and for Young Adults workshop with Patricia Ocampo, senior editor, Kids Can Press, and author Tanaz Bhathena, Saturday, January 15. Details here.

Beyond that, Brian Henry’s schedule continues to take shape...

Weekly classes:

Online: Exploring Creative Writing ~ Discover your creative side, Tuesday afternoons, 1 – 3 p.m., January 25 – March 29 {no class March 8}. Details here.

In-person: Exploring Creative Writing ~ Discover your creative side, Thursday evenings, Jan 13 – March 24, in Burlington, Ontario. Details here

Online: Writing Kid Lit, Picture Books to Young Adult Novels, Monday afternoons, 1 – 3 p.m., January 10 – March 28, 2022 {no class Feb 21 or March 7}. Details here.

Online: Intensive Creative Writing ~ Grow as a writer
3 different sessions: 

Tuesday evenings, 6:30 – 8:45, January 11 – March 22. Details here.

Wednesday afternoons, 12:30 – 3:00 p.m., January 12 – March 23. Details here.

Friday mornings, 10 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., January 14 – April 1 (no class March 4). Details hereNote: The Friday session is full. 


Online: How to Make Yourself Write ~ A Creativity Workout, Sunday, Jan 23, 2022. Details here.

Writing Retreats:

Jackson's Point on Lake Simcoe: Writing Retreat at The Briars Resort and Spa. Get away to this modern lakeside resort built around a historic country estate.  Friday, March 4 – Monday, March 7, 2022. Details here.

The Briars

Algonquin Park: Writing Retreat at Arowhon Pines Resort, Friday, June 3 – Monday, June 6. Details here.


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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