Upcoming Agent Spotlight Interviews & Guest Posts

  • Bethany Weaver Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 6/26/2024
  • Rebecca Williamson Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 7/8/2024
  • Sheila Fernley Agent Spotlight Interview, Critique Giveaway, and One-Hour Zoom Call on 7/29/2024
  • Erica McGrath Agent Spotlight Interview and Query Critique Giveaway on 8/12/2024

Agent Spotlight & Agent Spotlight Updates

  • Agent Spotlights & Interviews have been updated through the letter "K" as of 3/28/2024 and many have been reviewed by the agents. Look for more information as I find the time to update more agent spotlights.

Agent Spotlight: Molly Ker Hawn

This week's Agent Spotlight features Molly Ker Hawn of The Bent Agency.
Status: Open to submissions

Molly Ker Hawn.jpegAbout: "I joined the Bent Agency in 2012 and lead our London office, where I work with authors from all over the world, selling directly to publishers in the US, the UK, Canada, and Australia. I’ve bounced back and forth from America to England since I was a teenager: I grew up in Northern California, lived for a year in the West Country, read English at Cambridge University, and spent many years in New York City. I represent authors whose books have been New York Times, Sunday Times and international bestsellers and that have won and been shortlisted for the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Michael L. Printz Award, the Barnes & Noble Children’s Book Award, the Costa Book Award, the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize, the Carnegie Medal, the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, and more.

I’m honored to have served for three years on the governing committee of the Association of Authors’ Agents and to have been named one of the Bookseller’s most influential people in the UK publishing industry.

I have a thriving list, but from time to time, I do have room for an irresistible new project when I feel I can place it successfully with a publisher and bring real value to the author’s career. Specifically, I’m looking for exceptional middle-grade and young adult fiction with global commercial appeal, as well as graphic novels for children and young adults with illustrations in place and fantasy, science fiction and speculative fiction for adults

For children’s and YA, I’m open to any genre and almost any topic. Contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction, romance, horror…I’ve loved and sold books that fit all those descriptions. For adult fantasy, science fiction and speculative fiction, I’m looking for fast-paced stories that would appeal to a broad audience, set either in new worlds or one that could be our own, with vividly drawn characters.

No matter the genre or age category, the writing needs to be polished and assured; the story needs to be captivating. I like to be astonished! I’m especially drawn to stories with a strong sense of place, told by authors who fundamentally understand the world they’re writing about, whether it’s real or imaginary." (From the agency website.) 

Web Presence:

The Bent Agency website.
AgentQuery, Query Tracker.
Publishers Marketplace
MS Wishlist
What She's Looking For:
Middle grade and YA fiction and nonfiction, adult science fiction and fantasy

From Her Manuscript Wishlist:
I'm open to any genre and almost any topic. Contemporary, historical, fantasy, science fiction, romance, horror…I’ve loved books that fit all those descriptions. Some specific likes and dislikes:
  • I like wit, not snark. 
  • Nothing hooks me like writing that shows a real mastery of language. 
  • I love love. Romantic love, family love, the love of friendship — authentic-feeling bonds between characters can carry me through almost any story.
  • I’m not one for ‘misery lit.’ I don’t like to finish a book feeling hopeless about the characters. 
  • Fantasy was my first love: Ruth Chew, Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Anne McCaffrey, and Sylvia Engdahl made me the reader I am today. But those influences mean my standards are high — I’m picky! I need solid worldbuilding, intelligent dialogue and real emotion in my fantasy.
  • My taste in fantasy does not run to angels/demons, vampires/werewolves, or similar 'paranormal' tropes. I’ll be honest — I reject those queries the fastest.
  • I can't get enough of books that invite me to get to know a culture I'm unfamiliar with especially when the author is a genuine representative of that culture.
  • I'm not a dog person. Animal protagonists in general aren't my thing, unless they're cats. Because cats are great. 
  • I'm interested in stories set like reading about life in religious communities.
  • Historical fiction set in the 80s isn’t for me. (1980s settings count as historical fiction. I know.)
What She Isn't Looking For:
Picture books, chapter books, animal protagonists except for cats, angels, demons, werewolves, and vampires

Editorial Agent?

There is a list of agency clients on the website.
Ms. Ker Hawn’s clients include: Stephanie Burgis, Dhonielle Clayton, Alwyn Hamilton, Frances Hardinge, Heidi Heilig, Bonnie-Sue Hitchcock, Hilary McKay, Sarah Moon, Peadar O Guilin, Angie Thomas, Gita Trelease

Query Methods:

E-mail: Yes (only).
Snail-Mail: No.
Online-Form: No.

Submission Guidelines (always verify)
Email your chosen agent using the email indicated in their bio and tell them briefly who you are, about your book, and why you’re the one to write it. Include the title of your project in the subject line of your email. Then paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email (not as an attachment, please) (Link)See The Bent Agency website for complete, up-to-date submission guidelines.
Query Tips:
See Ms. Ker Hawn’s guest post at Notes from the Slushpile for additional tips.
Response Times:
The agency has a goal of responding to all queries within a month. If you do not receive a response within this time, resend your query or query to another agent. 
What's the Buzz?
The Bent Agency is a successful agency with many New York Times and USA Today bestselling authors. Molly Ker Hawn joined TBA in January of 2012 and is Managing Director of the agency. Her experience in children’s publishing certainly recommends her.
Worth Your Time:
Successful Query Guest PostSuccessful Query Guest Post at Writers Digest (06/2024)
Interview at the Mixed-Up Files (04/2023)
Agent-Client Interview on finding your match on Manuscript Wishlist
cuppa and catch-up with guest agent Molly Ker Hawn (01/2018)
Interview at Jericho Writers
Interview at Pacific Coast Children's Writers Novel Workshop & Retreat
Please see The Bent Agency website for contact and query information.
Profile Details:
Last updated: 3/22/2024. 
Last Reviewed By Agent? 3/22/2024.
Have any experience with this agent? See something that needs updating? Please leave a comment or e-mail me at natalieiaguirre7@gmail.com

Note: These agent profiles and interviews presently focus on agents who accept children's fiction. Please take the time to verify anything you might use here before querying an agent. The information found here is subject to change.


Rachna Chhabria said...

Molly sounds like a wonderful agent. I am thrilled to see that she represents MG.

Natalie Aguirre said...

Molly sounds like a great agent. I'm so excited she likes MG and fantasy. I'm definitely adding her to my list. Thanks Casey!

Emily R. King said...

Thanks for doing this, Casey!

Lydia Kang said...

She sounds great. I haven't readnAnna and the French Kiss but I km
Now I must!

Kristin Lenz said...

Thanks, Casey. Anna and the French Kiss is worth re-reading to figure out how Stephanie made the romance feel so real.

Unknown said...

I've queried Molly on three projects and she's very nice. She responded to the first one in 2 days with a personal email-she was the only agent to take time and tell me that dystopian was dead and she even put in a personal note telling me that her husband grew up in the area that I live in. The second project I sent her resulted in a request for a full which she said she would have read in 7 weeks and got back to me in just 4. It was a no, but she gave me very helpful feedback. The third was a no and she replied within hours. I was on the fence about querying her for that one anyway, wasn't sure if she would be interested in steampunk or not but figured it wouldn't hurt.

Helena Juhasz said...

Great post and info. Thanks!

Sheila JG said...

Thank you for posting this, and thank you so much for all the great information on this site. I queried Molly shortly after I read this, and, long story short, she's now my agent! I can't tell you how helpful this site has been to me while querying. Thanks again!

Casey McCormick said...

Congratulations, Sheila!!! That's wonderful news.

Sarah Hipple said...

I recently queried Molly, and I got a rejection, but it was a very positive, encouraging, personalized rejection, which are always the best. I'd definitely recommend sending her a query letter.