Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kelsey Brownlee of Gold Dust Literary

Kelsey Brownlee is a literary agent with Gold Dust Literary.

“After years in the healthcare industry, I finally embraced my true passion: books. There’s nothing quite like curling up by a warm fire with a book in one hand and an iced coffee in the other. I have a strong foundation in writing and editing, and have even developed a writers workbook to help authors navigate story structure. When I’m not immersed in the world of words, you’ll often find me enjoying the company of my dogs and horses or watching movies with my hubby.”

She is seeking:

“I accept MG and YA fantasy, light paranormal of all ages, MG and YA advenutre fiction, and all kinds of romance. (With the exception of bully romance and anything promoting abusive relationships). I’m also interested in light horror (Think House of Hollow by Krystal Sutherland).

I’m not the best fit for inspirational/religious, nonfiction, or mystery. (However I will look at cozy fantasy/cozy mystery fantasy).

“I love most fantasy however especially love anything witchy. Think Rachel Griffin’s Wild is the Witch. I love atmospheric novels that take me to another world. I also love epic fantasy. I also love retellings that stray from the norm and offer a unique perspective. Think These Violent Delights by Chloe Gong.

“For romance, I love a good enemies to lovers vibe. I want characters who are raw with real complications. I’m always down for a good romcom or fun paranormal romance (especially involving witches and magic!) However, I’m not too picky with romances as long as they have the required happy ending!”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Michelle Lazurek of Wordwise Media Services

Michelle Lazurek is a literary agent with Wordwise Media Services.

“In 2009, I felt a calling on my life to start writing. Apart from some poems in high school, I had never written anything before. As I studied and wrote down my thoughts, I soon published my first book. Today, with nine titles in print and hundreds of articles (and a few awards along the way), I teach aspiring authors at writers’ conferences. Now I get the privilege to journey with them more closely, and help them achieve their dreams. I have a Master of Arts in Counseling and Human Relations from Liberty University.

“When not occupied with literary pursuits, you can find me sipping a hot latte at Starbucks, reading a good book, or collecting records from the 1980s and 90s. I live in Pennsylvania with my husband, two children and our crazy dog, Cookie.

What I’m looking for: I’m interested in representing Christian nonfiction for adults, and picture books for children.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kesia Lupo of The Bindery

Kesia Lupo is a literary agent with The Bindery.

“I’m currently Associate Literary Agent at the Bindery, a boutique agency based in Colorado – although I’m personally based in the Bay Area. I am actively building my list of primarily fiction writers. Although I started at the Bindery in May 2023, I have over ten years of experience in the publishing industry.

“In my last job, I was Senior Editor at UK children’s book publisher Chicken House, where I’d been working my way up from Junior Editor since 2015. Here, I acquired and edited children’s fiction for middle-grade and YA readers and worked with wonderful writers including Jasbinder Bilan, James Nicol and Emma Read (MG) and Ben Oliver, Molly Morris, Naomi Gibson and Mellissa Welliver (YA). I consider middle-grade and YA my specialty and would love to represent authors writing for these age-groups.

“I started my career as an assistant at Pan Macmillan London back in 2013, largely working for wonderful SFF/Horror imprint Tor – I loved the authors I worked with there who included Adrian Tchaikovsky, Adam Nevill and Genevieve Cogman. I’d love to return to my roots and represent adult genre fiction in SFF and Horror.”

She is seeking:

“I’m an omnivore in my reading taste and I would love my list to reflect that – so, while I’ve tried to be exhaustive, if you have something that doesn’t quite fit then please don’t hesitate to query anyway! In general, I’m looking for fiction for middle-grade, YA and adult readers – with a smattering of popular, accessible non-fiction.

“Across age groups, I’m a big fan of original fantasy, accessible but smart science fiction, paranormal or creepy horror, thrillers (especially if they have a shocking twist!), dark academia and basically all stories that help me escape or make me question everything.

“I majored in History so I love a bit of historical fiction too, as long as it’s done in a fun and accessible way – and I enjoy romance. For nonfiction, I’m looking at narrative nonfiction with broad appeal – I love books about psychology and big political, cultural or historical topics.”


Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Cole Hildebrand of Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency

Cole Hildebrand is a literary agent with Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency.

“I began my publishing career as an Assistant Editor at YesYes Books, going on to become Managing Editor for the press, whose list includes award-winning authors such as Ocean Vuong, Elizabeth Acevedo, Justin Phillip Reed, Danez Smith, Michael Wasson, Kayleb Rae Candrilli, and many others. I joined JVNLA in 2021, working alongside agency President Jennifer Weltz, and am now building my list, seeking adult literary fiction, narrative non-fiction, and poetry, with a particular interest in queer voices.

“In fiction, I’m looking for contemporary literary and experimental work, and am open to novels that blur genre elements in surprising or unconventional ways. I am drawn character and voice driven stories that play with form and narrative structure, written with stylistically distinctive prose and evocative imagery. As a reader, what engages me is not so much the plot of a story (though it certainly matters!), but the unique ways that story is told, from structure to POV to narrative voice. Overall I’m seeking works that break open the possibilities of fiction and immerse the reader in a story both unfamiliar yet utterly convincing.

“In nonfiction, I’m drawn to narrative and/or investigative work that blends personal, cultural, political, and historical threads. Books that engage with radical thought, queer history, art, pop culture, environmental studies, and mental health are always up my alley. I am also interested in memoirs with experimental narrative and formal structures, and well-researched accounts of understudied historical movements.”