2012 FACULTY: Bios & Kudos
“I look for confidence, vision, voice, and an awareness of audience,” Simon advises our 2012 seminar enrollees. He is seeking “the very unusual—books that are eye-opening and original.”
That’s exactly what characterizes Roaring Brook Press, which Simon launched in 2002. RBP quickly became known for its innovative, high-quality fiction and nonfiction for toddlers through teens. Since its early years, many RBP books—written both by debut and well-known authors—have won an array of awards and honors.
Launched in 1954, Farrar, Straus and Giroux (FSG) Books for Young Readers has garnered an impressive backlist of prestigious national awards. A few of their many respected authors are Natalie Babbitt, Madeleine L’Engle, Suzanne Fisher Staples, and Tim Wynne-Jones.
Both imprints are editor- and author-led hardcover programs. Simon notes, “We look for fiction that combines literary and commercial appeal; we don’t have a lot of series or high concept fiction; we generally don’t acquire by category or genre, but by author.” Fiction titles that define FSG include Elsewhere (Zevin), Holes (Sachar), Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester (O’Connor) and the Escape from Furnace series (Smith). Some typical Roaring Brook fiction titles are Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading (Greenwald), Birthmarked (O’Brien) and Revolver (Sedgwick).
Simon will attend our seminar “looking for authors I respect and can learn from, whether established or new, whom I will enjoy working with. This seminar sounds like a great program; I’m happy to participate.”
Emily Sylvan Kim
“I am actively looking for new clients in both YA and middle grade,” Emily notes, “so I’m a great agent to meet if you're seeking someone experienced who is also eager to discover new talent.”
Emily’s agenting career started at Writers House. When she founded her own agency in 2005, she took inspiration from nearby Prospect Park, with its urban beauty and the diversity of those who run its paths. Her goal was to create a “community-centered haven for authors and illustrators... taking a leadership role in creating bold, innovative literature.”
Prospect Agency fosters such a community, where writers, artists, editors, and agents share ideas and grow together. Client relationships are built to last the length of a career. At Prospect Agency, they “see the forest and the trees.”
Those trees include adult and YA fiction, as well as nonfiction. Emily focuses exclusively on fiction. She is drawn to a wide range of genres, from realistic stories of any time period to fantasies grounded in everyday reality. Above all else, she admires well-crafted writing. Emily has a special interest in edgy, mature stories with a strong commercial hook—for example, Tracy Deebs’ Doomed, based on the Pandora myth, in which Deebs’ Pandora opens an attachment and ends technology as we know it.
Emily also has a soft spot for subtle beauty. She loves strong literary works such as Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, a 2008 National Book Award Finalist which explores the fate of a teenage alcoholic. Emily is seeks books that appeal to both genders, but equally loves unabashedly girl-oriented stories that channel the spirit of Laura Ingalls Wilder or Jane Austen.
An AAR member, Emily brings a great love of reading and writing to her agenting career. She has written Publishers Weekly reviews, as well as her own fiction and poems. She’s very open to new talent; a large percentage of her clients are debut authors.
The above qualities make Emily a great “prospect” for a rich give-and-take at our seminar. Emily accepted the invitation because “I am intrigued by the idea of reading and discussing entire novels from advanced novelists. I also hope to find new clients. And it sounds like such a fun event that I just don’t want to miss it!”