Get to Know a Literary Scout in Attendance: ​Grace Morrison of Booker Albert Literary Agency

Grace Morrison is an assistant at the Booker Albert Literary Agency, and is acting as a literary scout at the ATL conference. She is taking pitches on behalf of the agency as a whole.

She is open to pitches for the following: young adult contemporary & paranormal romance, new adult contemporary & paranormal romance, contemporary adult romance, all types of young adult fiction, adult science fiction, adult fantasy, horror, LGBTQ+ romance, action, adventure, thrillers, dystopian, eco-fiction, speculative, grounded fantasy.

​Grace is a graduate of the University of Florida with a B.A. in English and Mass Communication. She first found her love for stories by devouring fairy tales as a child, especially the Andrew Lang Fairy books. Usually, she’s drawn to stories with unusual and exciting fantasy worlds like Stephanie Garber’s Caraval and Maggie Stiefvater’s The Raven Boys or any other stories with complicated character relationships and strange mythologies. Her favorite tropes are enemies-to-lovers, slow-burn relationships, and hidden worlds. Grace typically has a few jobs at once, and when she’s not reading or writing, she’s most likely at the beach or trying a new restaurant in her hometown. ​

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Kima Jones of Triangle House Literary

Kima Jones is a literary agent with Triangle House Literary.

Kima Jones is the founder of Jack Jones Literary Arts, a Los Angeles-based book publicity agency for black and brown writers, where, for five years, she worked as lead strategist on all publicity campaigns. In 2017, Kima founded the Jack Jones Literary Arts retreat—a two-week respite and book incubator for black and brown nonbinary and women writers. The Los Angeles Times called Kima “2018’s literary breakthrough” and “an important new voice on the national stage.” In 2019, Kima founded Culture, Too—a mentorship conference for black and brown cultural critics.

In the spring of 2021, Kima Jones joined Triangle House Literary as an agent where she is interested in representing literary fiction, essay collections, memoir, hybrid texts, commercial fiction, poetry, speculative fiction, science fiction, and horror. She brings more than a decade of marketing and publicity experience into her agenting negotiations.

Triangle House Literary is a boutique literary agency founded in 2019 in partnership with the literary community at Triangle House. Our clients have won the PEN Bingham Award, been listed for NYPL Young Lions 5 Under 35, The Center For Fiction First Novel Prize, The PEN Jean Stein Award, The Oregon Book Award, The Kirkus Prize, The Edgar Awards, LAMBDA Awards, and the Believer Book Award and been named books of the year by The New York Times and NPR, among other honors.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Carey Blankenship-Kramer of Belcastro Agency

Carey Blankenship-Kramer is a literary agent with Belcastro Agency.

After growing up surrounded by books and people who loved to read them, Carey dreamed of bringing more books to the hands of avid readers like herself. She graduated from Berry College with a dual degree in English and Creative Writing. She later received her master’s in Writing and Digital Communications from Agnes Scott College. She has experience working with both publishing houses and literary agencies and loves her role as Junior Agent at Belcastro Agency. As an editorial agent, she loves working closely with her authors to ensure their stories come to life on the page.

While her sweet spot is horror and middle grade, Carey’s tastes are wide and varied. From mystery to fantasy to science fiction, she loves anything that can draw her in and have her rooting for the main characters.

Specifics Across All Genres and Age Groups:

  • If you have a strong platform and love what you do, feel free to pitch me a concept.
  • Diverse stories from Ownvoices.
  • HORROR. Horror, horror, horror! If you have something remotely spooky, Carey wants to see it.
  • Neurodiversity rep. As someone with ADHD, anxiety, and depression, neurodiversity is extremely important to Carey.
  • Queer stories, especially those with happy endings.
  • Quiet, coming of age stories for MG audiences, especially if the word count is on the smaller side with a twinge of magic.
  • Stories with animal sidekicks / main characters / or just fluffy pals. Especially horses.
  • Dragons! Or anything with mythological creatures.
  • Tennis centered books.
  • Stories set in the South.

Middle Grade specifics:

  • Adventure
  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Historical
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Paranormal
  • Science Fiction
  • Literally everything. Carey LOVES Middle Grade.

Young Adult specifics:

  • Adventure
  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Graphic Novel
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Paranormal
  • Science Fiction

New Adult/Adult specifics:

  • Contemporary
  • Fantasy
  • Horror
  • Mystery
  • Romance
  • Science Fiction

Carey is NOT accepting

  • Nonfiction
  • Stories where the animals die. I’m so sorry, I am weak and cannot handle it.

Some of her most recent favorites include Ghost Squad by Claribel A. Ortega, The House in the Cerulean Sea by T.J. Klune, Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren, The Tea Dragon Society by Katie O’Neill, How High We Go in the Dark by Sequoia Nagamatsu, When the Angels Left the Old Country by Sacha Lamb, The Broken Girls by Simone St. James, and Just South of Home by Karen Strong.

Outside of work and writing, you can usually find Carey spending time with her small zoo and husband, getting way too competitive on the tennis court, gardening, playing video games, or eating candy.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Christi Cardenas of The Plains Agency

Christi Cardenas is a literary agent with The Plains Agency.

Christi Cardenas founded The Plains Agency in 2008 after having spent the previous twelve years working with another literary agency. The focus for The Plains Agency today is on both commercial and literary fiction as well as books reflecting what’s current in popular culture, lifestyle and what is typically categorized as how-to.

She is a bit of an adult fiction generalist. “As to my fiction tastes, I gravitate to books that are smart, funny and often a bit irreverent. I love the sensibilities of Neil Gaiman and Christopher Moore — the mix of fantasy and reality. I’m never afraid to throw a little romance into the mix. I also just recently read (finally) THE PAPER PALACE. I would have loved for that to cross my desk. As far as what I/we stay away from – no children’s work, YA, MG, or horror.”

We represent projects we love and respect every inquiry that comes across our desk as we understand what’s involved in taking the step of asking someone to read what has been so painstakingly put on the page.

We’re fortunate to have several great partners on both coasts to assist with film and television interests as well as having aligned with the leading foreign agencies when translation rights are reserved on behalf of our authors.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Gary Heidt of Signature Literary

Gary Heidt is a literary agent with Signature Literary Agency.

Gary represents authors of nonfiction and fiction.

In fiction, he seeks: high-quality literary fiction, science fiction and the occasional thriller.

He is interested in exceptional nonfiction proposals in the following areas: history, science, popular culture, narrative nonfiction, psychology, religion, reference,  spirituality, cultural criticism, memoir, politics, and Fortean/High Strangeness/paranormal.

“I am actively looking for scientists with writing skills who can explain new developments in science to a popular audience, as well as journalists who write about new developments in science and technology. In history and biography. I am looking for authors with credentials as academics, journalists or independent scholars with some publication credits.”

No historical fiction, mysteries, fantasy, cozies or romance.

Some of the agency’s books include:

Jeremy Bushnell, The Weirdness and The Insides
Carolyn Gilman, Hugo and Nebula Nominee, Dark Orbit
Jordan Green, Silent Sam is Down
Lori Handrahan, Epidemic
Rob Klara, The Hidden White House, The Devils’ Mercedes
Deji Olukotun, Nigerians in Space and After the Flare
Benjamin Whitmer, Cry Father, Escape (Evasion in France)

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Jess Regel of Helm Literary

Jess Regel is a literary agent and founder of Helm Literary.

Jess represents novels for all age groups (adult, young adult, and middle grade), but with a focus on upmarket fiction with characters who jump off the page and thought-provoking storylines. She wants books that are conversation starters. She represents books for a general commercial audience, but she loves a genre twist. LGBTQIA+ and #OwnVoices very much welcome. She’s usually closed to unsolicited queries, but for the 2024 Carolina Writing Workshop she is open! You can find her client list at

“I started Helm Literary with the goal of helping writers take control of their careers. I believe my job as a literary agent is to help writers steer that ship (couldn’t resist at least one sea-faring pun!) First and foremost, I work to make sure my writers are compensated for their incredible work, but I’m also their guide to navigating the industry as a whole. No nonsense, no smoke and mirrors. Just the pure magic of publishing books.

“What’s my story? As a flashlight under the covers, tripping over curbs while read-walking, never leave home without a book, lifetime reader, I thought I’d found my dream job when I started working at my local library in Iowa. Then one day, I stumbled upon the inciting incident of my professional life: I shelved The Writer’s Digest’s Guide to Literary Agents.

“The summer of 2002, I moved to New York City to intern at the Jean V. Naggar Literary Agency. Over the next decade, I worked my way through each department: royalties, contracts, audio, foreign, film, and domestic. I also began taking on my own clients (most of whom I still represent to this day.) In 2013, I moved to Foundry Literary + Media where I continued to grow my list of award winning, bestselling writers. (And truly just wonderful people.)

“Today, Helm is a full-service literary agency, representing fiction, nonfiction, and children’s book authors. I’ve hired a team of industry veterans to support me in my back office and in my subsidiary rights department, that way I can focus on selling books. Because the truth is, nearly two decades into my career, I still get giddy every time I call an author with an offer from a publisher. Dream job!”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lauren Albury of Holloway Literary

Lauren Albury is an literary agent with Holloway Literary.

After graduating Magna Cum Laude with a bachelor’s in English from The College at Southeastern, Lauren interned with FinePrint Literary Agency in New York City. Prior to becoming a literary agent, Lauren was with Holloway Literary for two years as an intern and literary assistant.

She is seeking:

  • Literary fiction
  • Historical fiction
  • Book club/Women’s
  • Upmarket fiction

Wishlist specifics:

  • Caribbean stories and voices
  • Southern settings
  • Romantic themes
  • Rich immersive settings like Where the Crawdads Sing and lyrical prose like All the Light We Cannot See

Not a good fit for:

  • Erotica
  • Political or pandemic themes
  • Sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian/magical realism
  • Please no ghosts or aliens or torture

“I enjoy all kinds of literary and upmarket fiction. Show me how beautiful and lyrical the English language can be. Give me compelling characters with unexpected story arcs. Immerse me in another culture so I feel like I grew up there. Make me laugh with sharp wit and cry at poignant subtleties. Teach me something new about the human experience and what it means to be alive. I love when art parallels life, so I’m a sucker for gritty, raw, and realistic writing with an achingly bittersweet/unhappy ending a la Gone with the Wind or La La Land (non-sappy happy endings are OK too though). My favorite kinds of stories happen when romance exists as a compliment to a killer plot. Religious themes are ok as long as they aren’t cheesy and self-righteous or over the top.

“I’m looking for well-researched historical novels from all time periods and settings. As a multi-generational citizen of The Bahamas, I am particularly keen to find stories set in the Caribbean and/or by Caribbean authors.”

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Zoe Howard of Howland Literary

Zoe Howard is a literary agent with Howland Literary.

After working with Howland Literary and Lookout Books while earning her BFA in Creative Writing and Certificate in Publishing from the University of North Carolina Wilmington, Zoe Howard is now building her own list of adult literary fiction and adult nonfiction. Zoe is also a literary publicist at Pine State Publicity. 

More than anything, Zoe is drawn to writing where language comes first—she would love to see the work of poets-turned-to-prose, lyrical voices, and sentence-level craft that plays (Patti Smith, Ali Smith). She would love to read writing that explores boundaries: deconstructions of the coastal or “convenience store” south & the mountain states of the US, non-traditional narrators, cross-discipline books, and so on. 

In adult fiction, she is seeking voice-driven stories that subvert reader expectations of their subject matter. Zoe is especially interested in unashamed characters; characters at their breaking point; literary fiction with speculative elements, especially those that tend dark and underground (Sharks in the Time of Saviors); joyous girlhood; body horror & transformations of the body; and insular settings (small towns, amusement parks, summer camps, hotels). 

In adult nonfiction, Zoe is looking for narrative nonfiction, memoir, and essay collections that blend personal narratives with research or questions about the larger world. She would love to see more nonfiction that reads like fiction. Her niche interests include material culture, why & how we use objects, celebrities, pop culture, parasocial relationships, and the connections between people and the places they inhabit. 

Send Zoe your off-kilter, heartfelt, lyrical, and literary work.