Here’s the list of agents and presenters for the conference.
Keir Alekseii is an associate agent with Azantian Literary Agency. She is an educator and anti-GBV activist born and raised in Trinidad and Tobago, a twin island country in the West Indies. Keir is a writer, gamer, lover of folklore, and former research scientist. As a neurodivergent, queer woman of color, Keir is invested in discovering engaging work with similar representation, and is passionate about creating space for voices not often recognized. She is especially interested in stories from BIPOC who are born and raised in the Global South.
Kemi Ashing-Giwa grew up on a steady diet of sci-fi and fantasy. She enjoys learning about the real universe as much as she likes making ones up. After studying integrative biology and astrophysics at Harvard University, she joined the Earth & Planetary Sciences department at Stanford University as a PhD student. Her debut novel, The Splinter in the Sky, will be published in July 2023. Her debut novella, This World is Not Yours, will be published in 2024.
Susan Breen is the author of the novel The Fiction Class, and the Maggie Dove series of mystery books. She has published short fiction in American Literary Review, Chattahoochee Review, Nebraska Quarterly, North Dakota Quarterly, anderbo, and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine.
Mike Chen is the New York Times bestselling author of Star Wars: Brotherhood, Here and Now and Then, Light Years From Home, and other novels. He has covered geek culture for sites such as Nerdist, Tor.com, and StarTrek.com, and in a different life, covered the NHL. A member of SFWA, Mike lives in the Bay Area with his wife, daughter, and many rescue animals.
Holley Cornetto is the author of the horror novel They Are Cursed Like You and the novella We Haunt These Woods. Her short fiction has appeared in Daily Science Fiction, Flame Tree Press Newsletter, Flash Fiction Magazine, and Collective Realms Magazine, among many others, and she is a regular reviewer for Horror Tree, Booklist and Ginger Nuts of Horror.
Naomi Davis is a literary agent at BookEnds Literary Agency. Naomi seeks dynamic, character-driven adult and young adult titles in fantasy, sci-fi, and romance. LGBTQ+ elements and diversity in all fiction are a particular plus. Naomi is particularly passionate about finding new fantasy and sci-fi settings with unique magical structures that surprise the reader and change the rules readers associate with those worlds.
Nicky Drayden is a Systems Analyst who dabbles in prose when she’s not buried in code. She resides in Austin, Texas where being weird is highly encouraged, if not required. Her award-winning novel, The Prey of Gods, is set in a futuristic South Africa brimming with demigods, robots, and hallucinogenic hijinks, and with her new novel, Escaping Exodus, she’ll be taking her weirdness off-world to a civilization living inside the gut of moon-sized space beast.
Sian-Ashleigh has been at WME since 2018. She hails from the suburbs of New York and goes by her full first name. Representing Nonfiction and Fiction across the YA and adult spaces, her authors are tastemakers, experts, world-builders, and everyday people with something to say. In Nonfiction she’s looking for books that provide new perspectives for the people and places around us, help us master a new skill, or bring us one step closer to a better version of ourselves. In Fiction, she’s looking for anything in the upmarket, commercial, and sci-fi/fantasy spaces that makes her laugh, cry, and/or marvel at the capacity of written word to move you.
Samantha Fabien is a literary agent at Root Literary Agency. After attending the Columbia Publishing Course in 2016, she went on to intern and work part-time at three agencies: Ayesha Pande Literary, Writers House, and Chalberg & Sussman. From there, Samantha fostered her love for sharing diverse, lasting, and inclusive stories with the world. Samantha also works with events and organizations like DVcon and The New York Writing Room among others.
Seth Fried is the author of the novel The Municipalists and the short-story collection The Great Frustration. His short fiction has appeared in the Kenyon Review, McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, the Missouri Review, One Story, and Tin House, among many others. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker's Shouts & Murmurs and to NPR's Selected Shorts.
George Jreije is the Lebanese-American author of the Shad Hadid children's fantasy series as well as the upcoming graphic novel, Tarik’s Bazaar Adventure, both with HarperCollins. He has also written short stories published in collaboration with UNICEF. When not wrangling words, George enjoys scouring the world for tasty food, messing with new yoga poses, and meeting other readers and writers.
Ken Liu is a Hugo, Nebula, and World Fantasy Award winning author of Science Fiction and Fantasy. His story, “The Paper Menagerie,” is the first to win all three awards. He is also the author of the silkpunk epic fantasy series, Dandelion Dynasty, as well as two short story collections. He has had numerous stories adapted to television. The film La vérité, starring Catherine Deneuve, Juliette Binoche and Ethan Hawke, uses his story, “Memories of My Mother,” as the basis for the film-within-the-film. Ken has spoken at many universities and events around the world, including the Singapore Writers Festival and the World Economic Forum.
Jim McCarthy is an agent and vice president at Dystel, Goderich & Bourret, where he’s been for over 20 years. He represents adult, young adult, and middle grade fiction, both literary and commercial, and is particularly interested in literary fiction, underrepresented voices, fantasy, mysteries, romance, anything unusual or unexpected, and any book that makes him cry or laugh out loud.
Cameron McClure is an agent at the Donald Maass Literary Agency. She specializes in fiction and is looking for all types of science-fiction and fantasy or anything with a speculative element. She's especially looking for projects that combine genre style plotting with literary quality writing, and provide us with a new perspective.
Caitlin McDonald joined DMLA in 2015, after five years at Sterling Lord Literistic. She represents adult and young adult speculative fiction, primarily science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and related subgenres. She is also seeking graphic novels along the same lines as above. Caitlin looks for diversity in all projects, and is most drawn to unique, evocative narratives and cross-genre works, with an emphasis on high-impact stories that have something powerful to say. Some of her clients include C.L. Polk, Caitlin Starling, A.J. Hackwith, Lara Elena Donnelly, and Emma Mieko Candon.
James McGowan is a literary agent and author of the picture book Good Night, Oppy! He began at BookEnds as an intern and has worked in all departments at the agency, now a full-time literary agent. He represents illustrated projects for young readers (board books, picture books, chapter books, and middle grade) as well as adult nonfiction and upmarket, mystery and suspense novels. To learn more about James, his wishlist, or upcoming client books please visit the BookEnds website or his personal website. To send a query, please use QueryManager. And to find a growing archive of thoughts no one asked for, follow James on Twitter and Instagram.
Kiki Nguyen started in publishing in 2015 with an internship with Wunderkind PR, independent book publishing PR company, working on campaigns with authors such as Ernest Cline. There, she discovered a practical industry for her codependent love of fiction. In 2016, Kiki went on to intern with DMLA where she soon joined the team full-time as an assistant literary agent. Kiki is now building her client list within young adult and adult fiction with a focus on queer and BIPOC authors. When not working, she is playing Among Us or shouting about film/tv on Twitter.
Roma Panganiban joined Janklow & Nesbit in 2019, where she represents a broad range of literary/upmarket fiction & narrative nonfiction, including work that embraces genre elements—speculative, historical, mystery, sci-fi, fantasy—and that which defies categorization altogether. She values thoughtful, clear, clever, and beautiful prose; compelling, idiosyncratic voices; and fresh, unexpected perspectives, particularly from marginalized and underrepresented writers. She is a member of the American Association of Literary Agents (AALA).
Sharon Pelletier joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2013 after working for Europa Editions and Barnes & Noble. While her interests are broad, Sharon is especially seeking upmarket fiction, including unexpected suspense fiction and smart, complex women’s fiction. On the nonfiction side Sharon is eager for compelling, fierce narrative nonfiction by journalists, experts, and emerging voices with a growing platform. In all categories she particularly welcomes marginalized voices.
Robert Repino is the author of the science fiction War With No Name series, the middle-grade fantasy Spark series (Quirk Books), and the novellas Leap High Yahoo and Free the Man (Kindle Singles). His short stories have appeared in Literary Review, Coachella Review, Wild Violet, Juked Nickel Steak, Knee Jerk, Night Train, Hobart, Ghoti, Furnace Review, and Word Riot. He is an editor with the Oxford University Press anda regular contributor to Tor.com. He holds a BA from St. Joseph’s University and an MFA in Creative Writing from Emerson College.
Peng is the bestselling author of The Cartographers and The Book of M. Her second novel, The Cartographers, was a USA Today, LA Times, and a national Independent Bookstores bestseller, and was named a Best Book of 2022 by The Washington Post and a Pick of the Month by Good Morning America. Her first novel, The Book of M, won the 2019 Neukom Award for Debut Speculative Fiction, and was chosen as a Best Book of the Year by Amazon, Elle, and The Verge, a Best Book of the Summer by the Today Show and NPR On Point, and was optioned for television. She was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, where she rode horses and trained in classical ballet, and has lived in Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, London, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., New York, and Mexico City.
Laura Southern joined Wolf Literary Services in 2021 as an assistant to Kirsten Wolf and is now building her list as an associate agent. Born and raised in Texas, Laura received her BA in English from Baylor University before moving to New York City, where she earned her MS in Publishing from New York University while assisting at Morhaim Literary.
Laura loves lyrical prose and character-driven narratives. In adult, she is primarily looking for fantasy, science-fiction, and horror with lush worldbuilding and voice that vibrates off the page. She’s a fan of villains, setting as character, and stories that dive headfirst into the weird or strange. Fantasy romcoms and romantasy with sharp, witty prose are also high on her list, particularly when told from diverse perspectives and featuring LGBTQ+ narrators.