“No single answer is right for all writers.”
Every year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings a faculty of close to thirty agents, editors, and other industry professionals to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 26th Annual A&E Conference, taking place June 28–June 30, 2019, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our faculty here.
An Interview with Jennie Dunham
Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent in New York since May 1992. In August 2000 she founded Dunham Literary, Inc. She represents literary fiction and non-fiction for adults and children. Her clients have had both critical and commercial success. Books she has represented have appeared on the New York Times Best Sellers in adult hardcover fiction, children’s books, and children’s book series. Her clients have won numerous awards including: New York Times Best Illustrated Book, The Schneider Family Award, Boston Globe Horn Book Honor, and Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist. She is a member of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) and SCBWI. She worked at three different literary agencies before she founded Dunham Literary, Inc. She graduated from Princeton University with a degree in Anthropology and has a master’s degree in Social Work from New York University.
Scribe: What is your approach to the author/agent relationship?
Jennie Dunham: I’m looking for clients who want an agent to be a member of their team. We need to be able to discuss editorial and business issues together openly because no single answer is right for all writers. As a team we can celebrate good news together but come up with new plans when there’s difficult news.
Scribe: Are there specific elements that draw you to a project?
JD: This is a hard question to answer because every project is individual. That makes my work interesting since I’m always learning something new. In general, I want to be engaged the characters and the plot so that I’m immersed in the story. I need a fresh premise to pique my interest in the story. But, usually it’s the writing style and voice which make me want to become an enthusiastic advocate for the writer.
Scribe: Tell us about a recent project you’re excited about!
JD: I’m very excited about a graphic novel called The Daughters of Ys by M. T. Anderson that my client Jo Rioux has illustrated. She can both write and illustrate, and she has an astute eye for character and an intrinsic talent in building narrative.
Scribe: And also, who is your favorite current children’s lit author?
JD: I don’t have a single favorite author. What I like is the wide variety of authors, books, and stories. Books are better than ever for adult readers and especially for children’s book readers.
Click here to read our 2019 A&E Conference agent bios.
Click here for more information on the 2019 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 28-June 30) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.