19 Top Literary Agents in Australia
Imagine a world with less art.
You can’t, can you?
As Nietzsche said, “Art is the proper task of life.” And we’d have a lot less art in this world without literary agents, the professional fairy godmothers who deliver our manuscripts to the right publishers or production companies.
If you have a manuscript, but don’t want to deal with the hassle of publishing, you could just as easily contact one of the many literary agencies and they would take charge of the entire process.
While agents with big connections can land you a pretty great deal, there are several who would go out of their way to make your first publication a memorable experience.
Here are top 19 top literary agents in Australia you should consider:
The Margaret Kennedy Agency was established in the year 1996 by Margaret Kennedy herself. If you are living in Brisbane or looking for an agent there, you should definitely give a shout-out to her. Before you contact her, make sure to go over the submission guidelines on her website so that you are fully prepared in advance. She represents authors in the general non-fiction, contemporary and literary fiction categories. Sometimes she may even accept children’s picture books and young adult fiction; that is if you are an experienced writer. That being said, she is not looking to sign scifi, fantasy, horror or chicklit genres. If you’ve gone through the guidelines and are certain that she is the one for you, then you can contact her via email.
2. Fiona Inglis
The Curtis Brown Agency was established in the year 1899 by Curtis Brown, when he succeeded in making his first deal. Now, Fiona Inglis is the Managing Director of this agency, which is based in Paddington, New South Wales. She has been a literary agent at Curtis Brown since 1993. If you are seeking representation, you can contact her with your fiction or non-fiction titles. However, keep in mind that the agency does not represent categories like fantasy, scifi, short stories, cookbooks, self help, and poetry. They have worked with the likes of Jane Harper and Liane Moriarty. Luckily, the agency is still accepting submissions from writers living in Australia and New Zealand. The submission instructions couldn’t be any simpler! Call, send an email or fill a form – there are many ways you can contact them.
3. Pippa Masson
Having worked as a literary agent at Curtis Brown Agency since 2001, Pippa Masson represents writers across different categories like children’s illustrated books, adult fiction, commercial fiction, literary fiction, and non-fiction. If you’re a chef with a cookbook or have a lifestyle oriented manuscript, even then she is the agent you should contact by post or phone or online. However, before you do that, read the agency’s submission guidelines so you know exactly how to set your best foot forward.
4. Rick Raftos
Rick Raftos founded the Rick Raftos Management, a literary agency that began its journey in 1985. It operates in Redfern, Sydney and boasts of a wide range of clients – from authors to producers and even directors. If you’re looking to submit your work for television, film or stage, you should take a look at the submission guidelines of this agency. Potential clients can contact them by filling a form on the website or sending an email.
5. Wanda Bergin
Wanda Bergin is a Senior Literary Agent at Rick Raftos Management. She handles the client list along with Rick Raftos. Her expertise lies in screenwriting and film production. She has 17 years of work experience at the agency so if you are looking to make it to the big screen or the small one, you should contact her with a short brief of your work and your CV. Send an email. Their client list has a slew of producers, directors, playwrights and screenwriters, having made successful deals for documentaries, feature films etc.
6. Brian Cook
Even though The Authors’ Agent was established by Averill Chase in 2011, Brian Cook took over after her retirement. Terrigal, New South Wales is the place to be at, if you want to work with Brian Cook. He is keenly interested in adult fiction, children’s books, young adult novels and narrative non-fiction. If your work caters to a different genre, then contact the agency with a brief instead of sending them the required documents. Head over to their submissions page for more information on how you can submit your book. Contact them via telephone or email.
Adult and children’s fiction or nonfiction writers should definitely check out The Drummond Agency, founded by Sheila Drummond in 1997. The agency is based in Woodend, Victoria. They do not represent work in the fantasy, scifi, poetry, picture books or screenplays categories. Once you’ve ascertained that they would be interested in your work, check out the submission guidelines and contact them through email, letter or phone.
8. Lyn Tranter
Caroline Lurie set up the Australian Literary Management (ALM) agency in 1980. In 1993, Lyn Tranter became the owner of the agency housed in Balmain, New South Wales. The website features fiction and non-fiction of various sub-genres, including young adult, historical fiction, biographies etc. They have very strong suggestions about what you should do or shouldn’t do in order to work with them. So read the guidelines, before you email or call them.
9. Sally Bird
Sally Bird’s brainchild, The Calidris Literary Agency began operating in 1997 in Sydney, Australia. Her work experience in the writing business includes freelancing projects with different publishers and as a commissioning editor. She welcomes all manner of writings except fantasy, speculative fiction, poetry and children’s books. If your manuscript does not belong to any of those genres, you should definitely get in touch with her. Here are a few things to be noted before you contact her through the form on her website or by phone.
10. Sarah McKenzie
If either adult fiction, non-fiction or children’s fiction are genres that can describe your manuscript, then you should head over to Hindsight Literary Agency. It was set up by Sarah McKenzie, who has over 15 years of experience in the writing business, and Michael Cortis, who handles the finance aspect. The agency was started in August 2015 and is very receptive towards newbie writers too. This agency is the complete package as they not only seek to create contracts with publishers, but also provide the writers with editorial services and promotional opportunities. What more do you need? Go through the submission guidelines and then, contact them via email.
11. Polly Nolan
The Greenhouse Literary Agency is based out of US and UK but welcomes writers from Australia and New Zealand. The agency was set up by Sarah Davies in 2007. Polly Nolan is the agent you need to contact if your novel is heart-warming and filled with realistic characters. She is not looking to represent scifi or dystopian YA fiction. Also, she represents select picture book writers. Go through these guidelines and send her an email to get the ball rolling.
InkWell Management is an agency located in New York, but has agents in Australia as well. If your work is inspired by writers such as Markus Zusak, Becca Fitzpatrick or Cath Crowley, then Catherine Drayton is the agent you want to get in touch with. Having joined the agency in 1998, she represents children’s and adult fiction and occasionally non-fiction. The agency has an entire page on their website dedicated to making your submission easier. So read the guidelines and send an email. They do not prefer to be contacted by phone.
13. Haylee Nash
Having worked for Pan Macmillan Australia and Harlequin Enterprises Australia, Haylee Nash went on to establish The Nash Agency in Sydney. The agency has been operating since October 2016. You should ring her up or send an email if either commercial fiction or non-fiction genre describes your work. In addition to representing a writer, Haylee also provides editorial services like proofreading, copy editing and structural editing as well as advice to new and upcoming authors. When you contact her, your email should comprise of the first 3 chapters of your manuscript, a 100 words synopsis and the author profile. For more information on service charges and how to contact her, head over to the website.
14. Jean Mostyn
Located in Rosebery, New South Wales, The Yellow Agency was founded by Jean Mostyn in 2010. They work with designers, directors and writers alike. Jean is experienced as a theatrical agent. If you need your work to be represented by an agency that has market knowledge, you should contact them. In order to work with them, you need to email about your work experience. They take up to 6 weeks to get back to you.
With over 30 years of experience as a literary agent, Margaret Connolly is somebody you want to contact if you’re a poet, author, filmmaker or illustrator, looking to publish your work. She established her own agency, Margaret Connolly and Associates in 1992. It is based in Sydney. Her client list includes names like Stephen Michael King and Catherine Jinks. If you wish to contact her, fill out the form on her website or try the phone.
16. John Cokley
Strictly Literary was founded by John Cokley in 1995. The agency is based in Queensland and they take care of all your publishing needs. If genres like young adult fiction, fantasy, thriller, true-life non-fiction have anything to do with your manuscript, you might want to take a look at their website. They have a detailed form on their site which you can use to get in touch with them. As for submission guidelines, they are pretty clear about what they want.
17. Monica Dennison
The Dennison Line is a literary agency established by Monica Dennison in the year 2007. Her qualifications would convince you as to why she is the right person to support your manuscript. In addition to being an agent, she is an author and editor, with good experience of creating contacts in the publishing industry. Writers in Sydney should get in touch with her as she is looking to represent fiction and other genres. Make sure to have an overview of your plot, characters and themes ready. Quickly glance at her submission prerequisites before contacting her. You can also connect with her via LinkedIn.
18. Sharne McGee
Creators from all lines of creative work like writers, directors, actors, presenters, broadcasters are represented by Creative Representation, an agency that came to be in the year 2003. If you are a writer, cinematographer or director, send an email to Sharne McGee via LinkedIn or contact the agency. Sharne has been working as a literary agent at Creative Representation since November 2013 and has prior experience as a theatre producer. You know it’s the right agency when their clients have awards to show for their work. Jacinta Waters is the Managing Director of this agency that has offices in Sydney as well as Melbourne.
19. Jeanne Ryckmans
Jeanne Ryckmans, handles several book-to-film adaptations for The Cameron Creswell Management Agency, in addition to representing certain fiction and nonfiction works. She is one of the most experienced members on the team. You could reach out to her via LinkedIn. Her work experience includes postings at Random House Australia and HarperCollins. The Cameron Creswell Management Agency is based in Surry Hills, New South Wales and was founded by Jane Cameron and Richard Harper in 1976. It became The Cameron Creswell Agency when Rose Creswell, literary agent, joined the organization.
The agency represents a smorgasbord of genres such as crime, men’s contemporary fiction, women’s contemporary fiction, historical saga, young adult fiction, nonfiction related to current affairs, Australian history and much more. On the other hand, they do not wish to sign fantasy writers, middle grade fiction or children’s picture books. Go through their submission guidelines and follow the instructions. They also represent actors. Authors should contact this agency towards the end of 2017 when they reopen submissions. It is a small wait, but with the experience that this agency has, your patience would be worth it.
If you still want to continue your search for an agent, here are a further 9 Australian literary agents accepting submissions.
Or if you’re an Australian author who wants to make a submission directly to a publishing house, be sure to take a look these 21 Australian publishers accepting unsolicited manuscripts.