Molly Ker Hawn

Molly Ker Hawn

The Bent Agency

My Manuscript Wish List

I’m primarily looking for exceptional middle-grade and young adult fiction. The writing needs to be polished and assured; the stories need to be absorbing and irresistible. I like to be astonished! I’m especially drawn to stories with a strong sense of place, told by authors who fundamentally understand the world they’re writing about, whether it’s real or imaginary. I lean toward the literary and away from the super-commercial. (My first research paper, in fourth grade, was on the history of Newbery Medal. I was a fun kid.)

I represent authors in the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., and I sell directly to American, Canadian, and British publishers. I’m a dual citizen of the U.S. and the U.K. and my ideal project is one that will work (like me!) in both markets, but that’s not a requirement. If you think your story is ‘very American’ or ‘very British,’  don’t let that stop you from querying me.

I’m open to any genre and almost any topic. Contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction, romance, horror…I’ve loved books that fit all those descriptions. Some specific likes and dislikes:

  • I like wit, not snark. 
  • Nothing hooks me like writing that shows a real mastery of language. 
  • I love love. Romantic love, family love, the love of friendship — authentic-feeling bonds between characters can carry me through almost any story.
  • I’m not one for ‘misery lit.’ I don’t like to finish a book feeling hopeless about the characters. 
  • Fantasy was my first love: Ruth Chew, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Anne McCaffrey, and Sylvia Engdahl made me the reader I am today. But those influences mean my standards are high — I’m picky! I need solid worldbuilding, intelligent dialogue and real emotion in my fantasy.
  • My taste in fantasy does not run to angels/demons, vampires/werewolves, or similar ‘paranormal’ tropes. I’ll be honest — I reject those queries the fastest.
  • I can’t get enough of books that invite me to get to know a culture I’m unfamiliar with—but I want the author to be a genuine representative of that culture.
  • I’m not a dog person. Animal protagonists in general aren’t my thing, unless they’re cats. Because cats are great. 
  • I like reading about life in religious communities.
  • Historical fiction set in the 80s isn’t for me. (1980s settings count as historical fiction. I know.)
  • I did a ton of theatre as a kid, all the way through college, and I’m always up for reading projects about the performing arts.
  • I was an exchange student in high school, and I’m raising third-culture kids in London — so naturally I like stories about expats.

Fun facts about me:

My first job was behind the refreshments counter at my local movie theatre. The popcorn was stored in giant bags in an upstairs closet. It looked like insulation. My second job was shelving books in my local library. My third job was in B. Dalton Bookseller, 20 hours a week all during my senior year of high school. What I learned then about inventory management is still useful to me now, so thank you, now-defunct bookstore chain.

I love road trips, miniature villages, late-night tourism propaganda on NHK World TV, New York City, folklore, ridiculous coincidences and unexpected connections, lost rivers, hotels, typographical design, choral music, revolving restaurants, German baked goods, and those last fifteen minutes in the departure lounge before I get on the airplane.

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to hawnqueries@thebentagency.com

Email me at hawnqueries@thebentagency.com with your query and the first ten pages of your manuscript, pasted in the body of the email (no attachments, please). I try to respond to all queries within two weeks; if you don’t receive a response within a month, please resend your query and indicate that you’re sending it again.


Guidelines & Details

Vital Info

Agent
Fiction: Middle Grade, Young Adult

Favorite sub-genres: Fantasy, Magical Realism, contemporary, historical
I’d like the next…

…crazy exquisite heartbreaking triumphant debut novel.


My favorites include…

I have a thousand favorites. I’m enthusiastic! Today’s choices:

YA novels: THE WINNER’S CURSE by Marie Rutkoski, THE STRANGE AND BEAUTIFUL SORROWS OF AVA LAVENDER (Leslye Walton), ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS by Stephanie Perkins, CODE NAME VERITY by Elizabeth Wein.

MG novels: GOODBYE, STRANGER by Rebecca Stead, FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER by E.L. Konigsburg, ROOFTOPPERS by Katherine Rundell, JOEY PIGZA SWALLOWED THE KEY by Jack Gantos.

Films: LADY JANE (sad love story, impeccably written), ON THE TOWN (glamour! wit! New York!),  ALMOST FAMOUS (music + 70s period detail + funny + Frances McDormand’s character),

TV: All the usual stuff—VERONICA MARS, BUFFY, GILMORE GIRLS, THE WEST WING, BATTLESTAR GALACTICA—and also HAPPY VALLEY, THE HOUR, THE FORSYTE SAGA, THE THICK OF IT. I’ll watch anything Jimmy McGovern writes and I have an enduring love-hate thing going on with Stephen Poliakoff.

Radio: ‘Woman’s Hour,’ ‘Book at Bedtime,’ ‘Bleak Expectations,’ whatever surprises BBC Radio 4 cooks up for the Afternoon Drama slot.

My Upcoming Events: