Stephen Barr

Writers House

My Manuscript Wish List®

Writers House has been around for over forty years, and in addition to being an actual house (it’s true! Check our website!), it’s one of the largest literary agencies in the industry, representing fiction and non-fiction of every stripe.

I’ve been with Writers House for a little over twelve years now, and while I’m not an actual house (couldn’t get the permits), I’m a pretty omnivorous agent. At the moment, I’ve got a particular hankering for…

– intricate, heart-on-its-sleeve, voice-abundant YA like “King Dork” or “The Highest Tide” (bonus points for unrequited love stories!)

– audacious, experimental YA mysteries or fantasies that handcuff humor and tragedy to the same radiator

– middle grade that takes on heavy themes with a light touch (Jerry Craft’s “The New Kid” is as brilliant as it gets)

– sweet and/or silly and/or heartbreaking picture books from adventurous author/illustrators

– unexpected memoirs with itchy voices

– narrative non-fiction that tackles hard-to-tackle issues; anything about the role discourse plays in our societal ills (a la “So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed”)

– and any fiction that rewards the reader line-by-line and gets to know at least one character really, really well (recent favorites include “Weather,” “Normal People,” “The Last Samurai,” “Fourth of July Creek,” and “Skippy Dies”)

I’m also willing to be a sucker for…

– detective stories that bend reality

– ghost stories that blow reality to hell

– Secret Book X (I don’t know what Secret Book X is, but suffice it to say, I’m open to the occasional curveball)

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

You can send me a query letter by post or by e-mail (odds are I’ll respond to the digital ones sooner, though), so just make sure to include the first five or ten pages of your manuscript (and a self addressed stamped envelope if it’s snail mail), then fire away! I promise to fire back, hopefully within two weeks’ time.

Guidelines & Details

Vital Info