Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Rebecca Eskildsen of Writers House

Rebecca Eskildsen is a literary agent with Writers House.

I am actively growing my list, with a particular interest in middle grade, YA, and adult fiction. Across the board, I’m looking to elevate LGBTQ+ and BIPOC voices, among other underrepresented narratives.

In middle grade, I’m mainly looking for contemporary books that make kids feel seen. Mostly I want to see fresh, engaging voices, particularly narratives with a sense of humor and a strong emotional core.

For YA, I’m looking for some darker themes and twisty, gripping stories — give me your ambitious “unlikable” girls (ugh – I’ll like them). Separately, I’m looking for funny, slow-burn YA rom coms.

I’m looking for a more limited variety of adult books. I’d love to have my inbox full of contemporary rom coms. I’m also looking for sagas about families and/or friends, of any age or topic, and I’m looking for 20-something coming-of-age stories.

Regardless of whether you recognize your book in this MSWL, if you think we’ll be a good fit, feel free to query me!

Middle Grade Wishlist:

Contemporary stories with humorous voices.

Stories about immigrants and/or immigration, like FRONT DESK by Kelly Yang.

Kids grappling with shifts in their family, such as divorce or foster care. I’d love to see books like FIGHTING WORDS by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley and Rebecca Stead’s THE LIST OF THINGS THAT WILL NOT CHANGE.

Friendship stories! Moving from elementary to middle school can be a weird time for friendships. There are rivalries or shifting loyalties, and they can make you closer than ever, or pull you apart. Sometimes the end of a friendship is dramatic, sometimes it’s just what happens, but we’ve all had *feelings* about these friendship transitions.

Queer characters, especially trans and non-binary kids. I loved IVY ABERDEEN’S LETTER TO THE WORLD.

Books that shine a light on mental health.

Grounded, contemporary fantasy, particularly those that draw on non-Western lore.

Layered family stories like Encanto – contemporary or with a magical element!

Upper MG (or young YA) with the emotion, humor, and hijinks of “Never Have I Ever.”

Young Adult Wishlist:

I would love to see weird or gross contemporary fantasy (with light horror elements) like HOUSE OF HOLLOW.

Friendship stories, like UNPREGNANT or even CODE NAME VERITY, and friendship break-ups, such as WE USED TO BE FRIENDS and WHEN YOU WERE EVERYTHING.

Explorations of toxic relationships, platonic or romantic, like NOTHING BURNS AS BRIGHT AS YOU or BAD ROMANCE.

Grounded fantasy/realism that is lyrical and heart-wrenching, like BLANCA & ROJA or THE LIGHT BETWEEN WORLDS.

Twisty, gripping stories, like THE CRUEL PRINCE, ACE OF SPADES, or ONE OF US IS LYING.

I’d also love a contemporary drama along the lines of “Do Revenge.”

I’m picky about high fantasy, but I’d love to see high fantasy that tells us truths about ourselves, a la SERAPHINA and TESS OF THE ROAD, or has a strong emotional core, like GRACELING and FIRE.

Emotional character studies, such as WE ARE OKAY and DARIUS THE GREAT IS NOT OKAY. Quiet books, basically, that may not have a lot of action but still grip the reader’s soul. Break my heart and put it back together again!

Rom coms! I’m especially interested in slow burn romances and books that play with format by including texts, tweets, and chat rooms, like in EMERGENCY CONTACT and TWEET CUTE.

Witch books! I devoured Cate Tiernan’s SWEEP series multiple times as a teen and felt the same joy reading THESE WITCHES WON’T BURN. I am absolutely here for the resurgence of witchy YA.

Books that talk about mental health in a destigmatizing way, like LITTLE & LION.

Adult fiction wishlist:

Zeitgeisty mystery/thrillers that critique modern society along the lines of the Knives Out movies or “White Lotus.”

I’m hungry for fresh and hilarious rom coms, like RED, WHITE, & ROYAL BLUE and THE EX TALK. As with YA, I’m interested in playing with format, like the romance that’s built upon post-it notes in THE FLATSHARE, and I’m open to heavier rom coms like those by Emily Henry. I’d also love to see more queer rom coms!

Young millennial/Gen Z stories about coming of age, like NORMAL PEOPLE and QUEENIE.

I’d love something along the lines of THE SEVEN HUSBANDS OF EVELYN HUGO but inspired by Taylor Swift’s “The Last Great American Dynasty.”

Deconstructions and examinations of uncomfortable modern cultural dynamics, like in SUCH A FUN AGE, LITTLE FIRES EVERYWHERE, or EROTIC STORIES FOR PUNJABI WIDOWS.

Grounded family sagas, like EVERYTHING I NEVER TOLD YOU and THE CARE AND FEEDING OF RAVENOUSLY HUNGRY GIRLS.

A friendship thriller in the vein of “Dead to Me.”

Weirdly specific things I’d love to see in any age category:

Stories with a narrow scope set against the backdrop of a soft apocalypse. In a similar vein, speculative climate fiction that draws on the current state of our world.

Something about crows? Crows are fascinating and loyal and also vengeful if you cross them. Bring me your contemporary or fantasy crow story!

Seattle and/or Pacific Northwest settings.

Forest magic! Tea magic!

Something with the wit, humor, and emotional range of Veronica Mars (season 1 through the movie, we don’t talk about season 4).

Something with the hilarity and incisive remarks of the first half of Swan Princess.

A vibe that evokes threatening orchestral music.

Novels in verse.

Anything inspired by Taylor Swift’s lyrics.

I am NOT looking for:

Picture books

Grimdark

Non-fiction

Graphic novels

Military science fiction

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Lily Dolan of United Talent Agency

Lily Dolin represents clients in both fiction and nonfiction. In fiction, she is drawn to dark and offbeat humor, gripping narratives, strong commercial hooks, and nuanced female perspectives. She is not looking for historical fiction or thrillers.

For nonfiction, she is looking for short story collections and memoirs that are funny, outrageous, shocking, emotional, or all of the above. She also enjoys true crime and pop culture.

Wishlist: Upmarket, book club fiction, dark fiction, literary fiction, true crime, memoir, essay collections, select mystery. The next Mona Awad or Alexandra Kleeman!

Lily graduated from New York University and currently lives in Manhattan.