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Agent Spotlight: Jennie Dunham

This week's Agent Spotlight features Jennie Dunham of Dunham Literary, Inc.

Status: Open to submissions.

jennieAbout: "Jennie Dunham has been a literary agent in New York, New York since May 1992. In August 2000 she founded Dunham Literary, Inc.

"She has been a member of AAR (Association of Authors Representatives) since 1993. She served on the Program Committee and was Program Committee Director for several years. She was also a member of the Electronic Committee.

"In 1996 she attended the US/China Joint Women in Business conference in Beijing where she gave a presentation about literary agents in the US. She also attended the NGO Forum at the International Women's Conference.

"She attended international meetings as the AAR representative to create the ISTC (International Standard Text Code) which is being created to ISO (International Standardization Organization) specifications. This business and tracking system will be based on titles not book formats (as is the case with ISBN) and will work in tandem with ISBN.

"She started her career at John Brockman Associates and then Mildred Marmur Associates. She was employed by Russell & Volkening for 6 years before she left to found Dunham Literary, Inc.

She frequently speaks at writers conferences and events." (Link)

Her favorite books from childhood include: DOMINIC by William Steig, ABEL’S ISLAND by William Steig, A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle, THE TOMBS OF ATUAN by Ursula K. Le Guin, THE PRINCESS AND THE GOBLIN by George Macdonald, CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY by Roald Dahl, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer. (Link)

About the Agency:

“Dunham Literary represents authors of quality fiction and nonfiction, books for adults and children and some illustrators of children's books.

“The Rhoda Weyr Agency is a division of Dunham Literary.

“Member AAR, SCBWI.” (Link)

Web Presence:

Dunham Literary website.

AAR profile.



What She's Looking For:

Genres / Specialties:

Literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, biography, memoir, history, parenting/family, politics/current affairs, relationships, science/technology, picture books, middle grade, young adult, illustrators. (Link)

From an Interview:

"I don’t represent individual short stories, genre writing such as romance and mystery, but I do like literary books with romance and mystery elements to them. I look for a strong voice, real characters, and compelling, memorable stories.” (Link)

What She Isn't Looking For:

Individual short stories, chapbooks, novellas, screenplays, adult-targeted romance, horror, westerns, poetry, Christian literature, erotica, horror, business/investment, cooking/food/wine, professional/reference, true crime. (Link, Link)

"I’m not so keen on easy readers and short story or poetry collections." (Link)

Editorial Agent?

“While editorial services are not officially part of an agent's job, sometimes we will give some editorial suggestions that will help make a project more salable. We do not demand that these changes are made. No author should change his or her artistic work if it doesn't seem right. We do reserve the right to say we don't feel strongly enough about a project to submit it in which case the client has three options: revise the project, put the project aside and focus on a different project, or find other representation.” (Link)


Nick Bruel, Marlene Carvell, Fred Chapell, Leslie Connor, Sandra Dutton, Jody Feldman, Tod Goldberg, Shawna Kenney, Reeve Lindbergh, Barbara McClintock, Margaret Mcmullan, Matthew Reinhart, Robert Sabuda, Anna Shinoda among many others.

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes.

Snail-Mail: Yes.

Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify):

E-mail: Send a query letter addressed to Ms. Dunham in the body of an e-mail. No attachments.

Snail-mail: Send a query addressed to Ms. Dunham and a SASE.

Query only one agent at the agency. Queries are read by all interested agents.  

See the Dunham Literary website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.

Query Tips:

"I look for a brief description of the book. A story that seems fresh or has a hook to it that will catch my interest. I also look at an author’s credentials. I look for other publications or relevant life experience the author has had." (Link – dead)

"Anything cliché such as ‘It was a dark and stormy night’ will turn me off. I hate when a narrator or author addresses the reader (e.g., 'Gentle reader')." (Link)

If you’ve received a request, see the “How to Submit” page on the website.

Response Times:

The agency’s stated response time is 4 weeks for queries and 4-8 weeks for requested material (Link, Link). Stats on the web show a range of days to several months with an average around 4-6 weeks.

What's the Buzz?

Ms. Dunham has been a literary agent for over 20 years, is a member of the AAR and SCBWI, and continues to attend conferences. While she has a long-established list of clients, she remains open to submissions.

Worth Your Time:


Agent Interview with Jennie Dunham of Dunham Literary, Inc. at K.L. Goings' website (about halfway down).

Around the Web:

See the Terms and Services page for more information on how Dunham Literary does business.

Dunham Literary’s entry in the 2013 Children’s Writer’s and Illustrator’s Market Guide via Google Books.

Jennie Dunham on P&E ($, AAR). Dunham Literary on P&E ($).

Dunham Literary thread at AbsoluteWrite.

Life After Self-Publishing, an article featuring thoughts from Jennie Denham and other agents by Chuck Sambuchino at Writer's Digest (09/2008).


Please see the Dunham Literary website for further contact and query information.

Profile Details:

Last Updated: 8/12/13.

Last Reviewed By Agent? 8/12/13.


Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at agentspotlight(at)gmail(dot)com

Note: These agent profiles presently focus on agents who accept children's/teen fiction. They are not interviews. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found herein is subject to change.


  1. Love these spotlights. Thanks, Casey!

  2. Casey, I love your agent spotlights. You put the info together so well and your impressions/buzz about these agents, based on all you've gathered, seem to really hit the nail on the head! Thanks for this feature!