Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Em Lysaght of Ladderbird Literary

Screen Shot 2019-11-20 at 10.27.35 PMEm Lysaght is a literary agent with Ladderbird Literary.

Em is a queer ex-classicist based in Oakland, CA. She is looking for queer fiction — queer fantasy, sci-fi, and graphic novels for all age ranges. Outside of agenting, she draws comics about queer monsters being friends and travels the globe scoping out stationary stores.

She holds an B.A in Comparative Literature from Occidental College, a publishing certificate from NYU, an MLitt in Ancient Greek Monsters from The University of St Andrews in Scotland, and a handful of college credits from art schools across the US.

She is looking for: genre-blending commercial queer Fiction in YA/MG/Adult/Graphic Novels.

She wants:

  • Rich and subtle world building like Wilder Girls or The Mortal Engine series
  • Normalized trans and non-binary existence in worldbuilding, like the Tales of the High Court series
  • Shamelessly manga and fanfic inspired stories like Foxhole Court
  • Silk punk, asian attitudes, historical revision that doesn’t think Europe invented the world (Socrates was born after Confucius died! Genghis Khan was a contemporary of King John! Guns were being used in China before the English invented longbows!)
  • Reworking myth and gods and their influence, like The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps and American Gods
  • Sexy, dark, magical horror, like the Hexslinger series
  • Queer romance with high stakes, like Lord of the White Hell
  • Middle Grade protagonists who cry and fail and try anyways, like How to Train Your Dragon
  • F/F romance, friendship, and intersectional girl gangs against the world
  • Ride-or-die friendships and high stakes, like The Raven Cycle

She does NOT want:

  • Nonfiction
  • Genre fiction that perpetrates the racist, colonial, imperialistic, sexist, ableist tropes of the past
  • Non-intersectional representation; no victories at the expense of another group
  • Precocious (read: bratty) MG protagonists
  • Low stakes, excessive realism

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