Anum Shafqat

Simon & Schuster (Children's)

My Manuscript Wish List®

Hi! I’m an assistant editor with McElderry and Atheneum Books for Young Readers at Simon & Schuster. I am primarily interested in young adult fiction but sometimes dip into middle grade and some picture books (4-8).

Across the Board:

  • Diversity in every sense of the word (BIPOC, queer, neurodivergent, etc.)
  • Strong voices that instantly draw readers into the story
  • All kinds of family dynamics (found family, dysfunctional families, joyous families)
  • Stories that tackle heavy topics in an almost-sneaky way…books that make you question society, authority, and the norm
  • Muslim characters experiencing all facets of life, not just tragedy and identity

Young Adult:

  • Intricate, unique worlds featuring characters of color
  • Dark fantasies that are truly, brutally dark (paired with some rare silly moments, of course)
  • Get-Out-type disturbing horror as well as silly, dark comedy slasher horror or creepy whodunnits
  • Feel-good rom coms featuring characters of color falling in love <3
  • Sci-fi with a unique commercial hook
  • All things romantic, as long as it’s weirdly intense—give me a slow burn, a complicated soul-mate story, love at first sight
  • Messy queer characters (too flirty, too selfish, objectively make bad decisions)
  • Stories that lean New Adult (e.g. protagonist is a freshman in college)

Middle Grade:

  • Adventure! Swords! Magic!
  • Mystery, riddles, and puzzles are very welcome
  • Quirky first crushes, and the anxiety that ensues
  • High-concept upper middle grade (think spies and heists and kids too smart for their own good)

Picture Books:

  • Anything exploring and introducing kids to unique parts of different cultures and identities
  • Characters with big personalities and even bigger imaginations
  • And, of course, giggles galore!

What I’m NOT Looking For:

  • Issue- or message-driven stories across the board
  • Board books
  • Books where technology is a large aspect of the story (e.g. the characters have social media accounts and that is the only way they communicate)
  • Fairy tale retellings, unless it’s hyper-specific and/or non-western

Submission Guidelines

Unfortunately, I can only accept agented submissions. Please submit to my Simon & Schuster email address with a pitch and sample/manuscript.

Vital Info