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 a literary agent 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. You can send her a book proposal that includes a synopsis, a short outline of the chapters (for non-fiction), three sample chapters, the total word count of your manuscript, biographical details, submission history and any other relevant information. While she accepts both invited and uninvited submissions, the latter isn’t always answered by her team. 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, early readers, picture books, comics, educational, corporate, translated, comedies 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. Note that they are only open for submissions during the months of February, June, and October for their 2020 titles. You can send your submissions between 12:00 am on the first day of the month to 11:59 pm on the last day of the month.
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, illustrated books, children’s titles, 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. Pippa is only accepting submission from Australians and New Zealand Based authors. You can send in your manuscript in the months of February, June, and October for the following year (2020).
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. Note that the agency is not currently accepting submissions.
Alexandra Adsett is a leading Australian literary agent who primarily represents commercial fiction. After serving as a Contract Manager, Board Director, and Corporate Advisor at leading organizations, she decided to open a literary agency in 2008. Her agency is called Alex Adsett Publishing Services. Throughout her stint as a literary agent, Alexandra has represented leading authors like Angela Meyer and Catherine Pelosi. She is currently looking for commercial fiction, crime fiction, romance, science fiction, and fantasy, young adult and middle grade fiction. Your manuscript will be considered if it has a powerful voice and a commercial bet. Alexandra only accepts submissions in pitching sessions. You can still check the submission guidelines to understand her specific requirements.
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 be represented by Brian Cook. Brain is looking for authors with previous publishing experience in the fields of short-fiction, journalism, and research. That said, he is also open to submissions from unpublished authors. 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. They do, however, accept fiction and non-fiction for both adults and young adults. 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.
Hailing from Melbourne, Clare Forster is a highly accomplished literary agent. In her career, she has worked at Penguin Books where her role was that of a book publisher. Claire joined the Curtis Brown Literary Agency in 2007 and currently is still working there. She represents diverse genres spanning across fiction, non-fiction, children’s books and illustrated titles. Clare is currently closed to submissions until February 2020.
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. 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 for Hindsight Literary Agency and then, contact them via email. Note that they are currently accepting full length literary and commercial adult fiction, non-fiction (academic and spiritual works), and children’s, middle-grade and young adult fiction. Sarah also accepts children’s picture books.
11. Gaby Naher
With experience of more than three decades, Gaby is a talented and highly accomplished literary agent. She established The Naher Agency in 2008 in a bid to represent talented and fresh new voices. Before that, she worked as a publicist, literary agent, and bookseller across leading organizations in London, New York and Sydney. Gaby currently works at Left Bank Literary and she has also authored four books during her illustrious career. Her top, award-winning clients include Heather Rose and Candice Fox. Gaby is currently open to submissions in both fiction and non-fiction. You can contact her on this page.
12. Grace Heifetz
Although Grace spent a significant part of her childhood in London and San Francisco, she later returned to Australia in 2002 and joined the Curtis Brown Literary Agency. After serving multiple positions at the Curtis Brown Literary Agency, Grace finally joined the Left Bank Literary. She currently works here. During her stint as an agent, she has represented notable clients Chris Hammer, Nakkiah Lui and Mark Brandi. She is currently open to submissions and can be contacted here. Note that she is accepting both fiction and non-fiction titles.
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. Jacinta Di Mase
With an extensive background in selling and publishing books Jacinta Di Mase is the founder of the Jacinta Di Mase Management. In addition to serving prestigious positions in the Australia Council for the Arts, Jacinta also holds a graduate diploma in Editing and Publishing. Before opening the agency, she also worked at the Australian Literary Management and Jenny Darling & Associates. While Jacinta is open to submissions, she will only accept your work if you directly pitch it at an event. Check the submission page for more details.
15. Danielle Binks
Having graduated from the prestigious Monash University, Danielle Binks holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Communications. She also graduated with a degree in Professional Writing and Editing from RMIT. Danielle previously worked as a literary columnist at leading magazines. She joined the Jacinta Di Mase Management in 2016 and currently works here. Danielle is currently looking for young adult and middle grade fiction. You can pitch your works to Danielle at literary events. For more details, check the submission guidelines.
16. Jane Novak
Jane Novak holds more than two decades’ experience in the publishing industry. After working as a publisher and literary agent at prestigious organizations, she established the Jane Novak Literary Agency. Deeply passionate about representing fresh Australian talent, Jane represents authors across multiple genres. While she is closed to fiction submissions, you can still send your non-fiction titles. Check out the submission guidelines and contact Jane accordingly.
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. Note that Monica accepts fiction and all other genres. You can also connect with her via LinkedIn.
Based in Sydney, Benython Oldfield is currently the director of the Zeitgeist Agency. Before working here, he was a journalist and was closely associated with Random House. At the Zeitgeist Agency he represents stage, screen, and book talents. His company is currently accepting works in both fiction and non-fiction. You can also send your picture books and screenplays to him. For both fiction and non-fiction you need to send a copy of your synopsis and a short biography. Note that Benython doesn’t accept science fiction or fantasy. You can find more details about the submission guidelines here.
19. Jeanne Ryckmans
Jeanne has had a varied career as an on-air television presenter and reporter fronting Masterpiece, TV World, and Imagine arts programs on SBS Television, director of two documentaries, features magazine editor, book publisher for two multinationals (Random House/HarperCollins) and one independent (Black Inc), Artistic Director of the Canberra Writers’ Festival (2019-2022) – the latter whilst working simultaneously as a literary agent.
Jeanne has been fortunate to work with authors including dual Miles Franklin award-winner Christopher Koch, feminist icon Gloria Steinem, Socceroos legend Johnny Warren, Margaret Whitlam, 2019 Stella Prize winner Vicki Laveau-Harvie and many others.
Jeanne is also an author. Her third book, Trust: A Fractured Fable, released with Upswell Publishing in August 2023.
Please contact: https://www.keypeoplelm.com
Looking for another list of literary agents in Australia? 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.
A 22 year old writer from India, Meera Nair has been blogging for over 5 years. She has a triple major Bachelor’s degree in Media, English and Psychology from Christ University Bangalore. She regularly reviews books for publishers like Bloomsbury, Pan Macmillan, Penguin etc. Reading and writing are two of her utmost passions and she is glad to have the opportunity to share that love with others.