Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Dara Hyde of Hill Nadell Literary Agency

Dara Hyde is Senior Literary Agent at the Hill Nadell Literary Agency.

Dara represents a wide range of fiction and nonfiction, including literary and genre fiction, graphic novels, narrative nonfiction, memoir, young adult, and children’s literature.

Her clients have been winners or finalists for the Women’s Prize, NAACP Image Award, Carnegie Medal, Eisner Award, Anthony Award, YALSA Award, Harvey Award, International Latino Book Award, and the Reading the West Award, among others.

“I’m drawn to stories that examine social issues in unique ways, and voices that have been historically under-represented in publishing; stories that explore the bonds and complexities of both blood and chosen families; stories with crossover appeal, whether that’s YA/adult or blending genres in surprising ways. I relish being hooked by a high concept and a clever premise, but that creative vision needs strong character development and an attention to every word. I find imperfect characters more interesting than those that start off with all the answers, and I want to walk away from every book having learned something new.”

Before joining Hill Nadell, I spent over a decade as an editor and rights and permissions manager at independent publisher Grove Atlantic in New York. I enjoy every aspect of the publishing process and helping my clients from idea to finished book and beyond is always a thrill. When I’m not reading I’m probably watching a movie, hopefully on TCM or Criterion.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kiana Nguyen of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Kiana Nguyen is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Kiana joined DMLA in 2016, where she assisted several agents, and is now building her own client list. She is seeking YA fiction across genres, particularly those with POC and queer voices. She is also interested in Adult romance and domestic suspense thrillers.

Regarding pitches: “If I feel uncomfortable with a pitch or an attendee with regards to racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. (whether in the context of themselves, the story, or being asked how to avoid it), I will respectfully end the conversation.”

Looking for:
– Dark, twisty narratives that explore human complexity
– YA Contemporary featuring lower socioeconomic backgrounds; poor kids who get in as much reckless mischief as their rich counterparts!
– YA featuring happy/hopeful queer romances
– Domestic suspense Thrillers!!!
– Adult science fiction and fantasy
– Adult Romance
– I am especially interested in Horror in YA and Adult.

Do not pitch:
– Non-fiction
– Crime or military fiction
– Picture books, chapter books, or MG
– Poetry, screenplays, or short stories
– Religious fiction

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Darlene Chan of Linda Chester Literary Agency

Darlene Chan is a literary agent with Linda Chester Literary Agency.

Darlene joined the agency in 2020. A veteran of the film industry, she served as an executive for Paramount Pictures and Walt Disney Pictures (both times under Jeffrey Katzenberg), Davis Entertainment, and as an independent producer. Among the titles she has been associated with are Grumpy Old Men, Beverly Hills Cop, A Thing Called Love and Shattered. In 2009, Darlene established Darlene Chan PR, which specializes in web PR and social media for authors. Among her PR clients are Live Talks Los Angeles, Daniel H. Wilson, Joe Ide, Elizabeth Brundage, Tara Ison, and Denise Hamilton.

Darlene is interested in stories by and about BIPOC, women’s fiction, literary fiction, chick lit/rom-com, crime fiction, pop culture, narrative non-fiction and nonfiction books on film and the entertainment industry.

She’s not seeking: sci-fi, fantasy, historical fiction, family saga, children’s/YA or screenplays that have been turned into novels.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Emma Kapson of Verve Talent & Literary Agency

Emma Kapson is a literary agent with Verve Talent & Literary Agency.

“My name is Emma Kapson, I’m a native Los Angeleno and a member of Verve’s IP Team. I started my career in publishing at Regan Arts and transitioned to representation early last year. I’m passionate about literature and bringing stories I believe in to different mediums like film, television, and audio.”

She is seeking:

“I love strong female driven narratives, epic worlds, romance, and works by foreign and diverse writers. I’ve been privileged to work on books with Melissa Arnot, Dan Ahdoot, Liz Kerin, and many other talented artists during my tenure here. Verve specializes in acquiring powerful voices in Memoir and Horror specifically.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michaela Whatnall of Dystel, Goderich & Bourret

Michaela Whatnall is a literary agent with Dystel, Goderich & Bourret.

They joined Dystel, Goderich & Bourret in 2019 as the assistant to Michael Bourret in the West Coast office. After graduating from Emory University with a degree in English and linguistics, Michaela completed the Columbia Publishing Course.

Their background in school and library marketing accounts for their strong interest in children’s literature, particularly middle grade and young adult fiction of all genres, including contemporary, fantasy, science fiction, historical, adventure, horror, and rom-com.

In the adult fiction space, Michaela is particularly seeking contemporary, speculative, and historical upmarket fiction, as well as character-driven sci-fi/fantasy and other genre fiction that features historically underrepresented characters. They are also open to select narrative nonfiction for both children and adults, graphic novels, and picture books.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Antoinette Van Sluytman of Irene Goodman Literary Agency

Antoinette Van Sluytman is a literary agent with Irene Goodman Literary Agency.

Antoinette is a junior agent and Natalie Lakosil’s assistant. She is also a writer, freelance illustrator/fine artist, graphic designer, poet, martial artist, and history enthusiast during her free time with a bachelors in Graphic Design and Interactive Media. She is a member of the AALA and MDI committee, and volunteers at the African Diaspora Museum & Research Center in San Diego, and at writing nonprofit organization WriteHive, as an outreach coordinator, artist professional in residence, and diversity ally. She considers herself an entrepreneurial scholartist who advocates for countering literary hegemony through speculative radicalism and diverse narratives within art and writing.

Antoinette is interested in all genres of speculative fiction, specifically cosmic horror, dark fantasy, epic fantasy, sci-fi, in addition to historical fiction. Antoinette maintains special interest in adult projects but is also open to select YA and graphic novels.

In general she loves lyrical prose that challenges narrative conventions, ambitiously immersive worlds inspired by different cultures, morally gray and dysfunctional but lovable characters with fun dynamics, and new takes on old tropes. She is drawn to atmospheric and lyrical prose and complex philosophical/psychological themes across all genres. Some general themes she enjoys are adventures, antiheroines, quirky concepts you might find in an anime, dark fantasy, and anticolonialism. In historical fiction she’s interested in finding stories inspired by non-western mythologies or about the untold stories of female heroines around the world such as Tomoe Gozen, Queen Amanirenas, or Sayyida-Al-Hura. Please do not send her military fiction or fae/vampire/elemental magic fantasy. Some favorite books of hers are BLACK SUN, THE COUNT OF MONTE CRISTO, and DEATH NOTE.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Halley Dunne Parry of The Hamilburg Agency

Halley Dunne Parry is a literary agent with The Hamilburg Agency.

Halley is an agent and writer in Los Angeles. A graduate of the Washington University MFA program, she has spent the last decade working at independent bookstores and in publishing. She previously worked as an agent at Drift(less) Literary.

Halley is looking for fiction that plays with genre and form, for plot-driven literary novels, commercial fiction, adult speculative fiction and hybrid works of narrative nonfiction.