Kayla Lightner

Ayesha Pande Literary

My Manuscript Wish List®

I love discovering diverse and fresh new perspectives across adult literary + upmarket fiction, non-fiction, and graphic novels. I’m particularly a fan of authors with singular voices that masterfully straddle the line between story-telling and teaching readers something new (about themselves, their communities, or the world we live in).

Within Fiction, I’m looking for…

Speculative Stories that are fearlessly imaginative in their use of Science Fiction, Fantasy, or Magical Realism elements while laying bare real-world issues like Chain-Gang Allstars by Nana Kwame Adjei-Brenyah; Books that build on the Southern Gothic tradition while bringing something fresh + exciting to the table Sing, Unburied, Sing by Jesmyn Ward (no slave narratives, please).

Book Club Fiction with a deliciously entertaining core premise and flawed characters we can’t help but root for,  but still maintains sharp, incisive prose on a line-level like Such A Fun Age by Kiley Reid and The Maid by Nita Prose.

Family Sagas that turn the picket white-fence narrative on its head and/or are rooted in the immigrant experience like Zadie Smith’s White Teeth; or sit in the tensions of familial relationships (whether it be spouses, parent/child, or siblings) like American Marriage by Tayari Jones and Fates and Furies by Lauren Groff.

Mythological or Historical retellings that are smart, original, grounded in thorough research, and brought to life with an electric voice such as Song of Achilles and Circe by Madeline Miller.

Within Nonfiction, I’m looking for…

Narrative Histories that are compelling, well-researched stories about forgotten / willfully overlooked historical figures or historical moments, and the ripple effects they have on our modern-day life like Warmth of Other Suns by Isabel Wilkerson and Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly.

Deeply reported narrative nonfiction that gets to the root of today’s biggest issues in technology, finance, health, or culture in a compelling, accessible, and even funny, way while mapping a path forward. Think if you took any segment from Last Week Tonight with John Oliver and turned it into a book.

Culture Critiques that take a high-brow approach to a low-brow topic (or vice-versa!) like Butts: A Backstory by Heather Radke and Tacky by Rax King.

Platform-driven Memoirs with stunning prose that can take me inside a previously inaccessible community, a niche sub-culture, or a unique way of life like Uncanney Valley by Anna Weir.

Practical Nonfiction that taps into gen-z’s changing attitudes around work, money, and mental health.

Within Graphic Novels, I’m looking for…

Hard to say! I’m typically drawn to Graphic Novels that align with my tastes listed above, but I love to be surprised and have to fall in love with the artwork first and foremost.

I’m not the best fit for…

Romance, Thrillers, YA, or Picture books.

Submission Guidelines

To submit a query, please use the APL Query form , and complete all fields.

If an agent wishes to read your submission, someone will contact you in response to your query, usually within 6-8 weeks. Please refrain from submitting to multiple APL agents simultaneously. If after submitting to one agent, you have not heard back after 8 weeks, you are welcome to withdraw your submission and re-submit it to another agent. All multiple submissions will be discarded.

APL has broad-ranging eclectic interests and we welcome submissions of all kinds. However, we don’t represent poetry, business books, cookbooks, screenplays or illustrated children’s books, although we are always on the lookout for middle grade and young adult fiction. For each of our agents’ specific interests, please refer to the About Page.

Guidelines & Details


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