Friday, January 7, 2011

Meet literary agent Katie Grimm

By Kathryn Craft

About Don Congdon Associates
Early in his career as a literary agent, Don Congdon developed an enviable reputation as a skilled editor, tough negotiator and shrewd judge of talent. While still a young editor at Simon & Schuster, he championed the early stories of Ray Bradbury (you may have heard of him!), who became one of his first clients after he became a full-time literary agent in 1947. “I married Don Congdon the same month I married my wife,” Bradbury said in a speech to the National Book Foundation in 2000. “So I had 53 years of being spoiled by my wife and by Don Congdon. We’ve never had a fight or an argument during that time because he’s always been out on the road ahead of me clearing away the dragons and the monsters and the fakes.” Bradbury dedicated his novel Fahrenheit 451 to Congdon. In 1983 Congdon started his own agency, Don Congdon Associates. He died in 2009 at the age of 91, and since then the agency has been run by his son, Michael. The agency represents over one hundred authors, many of whom have appeared on best-seller lists and have won numerous awards, including: Pulitzer Prize and George Polk Award for Journalism winners Russell Baker and Edna Buchanan; National Book Award recipient Ellen Gilchrist; New York Times Best Seller Kathryn Stockett (The Help); James Thurber Prize winner David Sedaris; and Edgar and Grand Master of Horror award winner Richard Matheson.

About Katie Grimm
Katie Grimm joined Don Congdon Associates in 2007 and is a member of the AAR and SCBWI. A self-described "insatiable reader," she worked in a library before starting as the agency's literary assistant/office manager. She is now building her own list.

What she is looking for: Vivid literary fiction, transportive historical fiction, up-market women’s fiction, cohesive short story collections, lurid mysteries and thrillers with exotic or historical settings, high-concept young adult, and middle grade with heart and humor. Most importantly, she hooked by fiction with emotional resonance and longevity, and in her opinion, this requires an authentic voice, relatable characters, and a twisting plot that keeps her intrigued. For non-fiction, she is looking for offbeat narrative non-fiction, history, memoir with distinct voice, multi-cultural, and counter-culture.

What she is not looking for: Romance, high fantasy, adult speculative fiction, hard sci-fi, thrillers with terrorist plots, how-to, or inspirational.

For more about Katie:
Interview at Chuck Sambuchino's Guide to Literary Agents blog that includes why she loves "surprising protagonists."

Interview at WordHustler including what she likes in a query and why she loves YA/MG.

Interview at Middle Grade Ninja that includes her favorite books, movies, and shows and a description of her ideal client.

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