Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Marie Lamba of Jennifer De Chiara Literary

Marie Lamba is Senior Literary Agent at Jennifer De Chiara Literary.

Marie Lamba (www.marielamba.com) is author of the young adult novels What I Meant… (Random House), Over My Head and Drawn, and of the picture books Green Green: A Community Gardening Story (Farrar Straus Giroux), and A Day So Gray (Clarion). Her articles appear in more than 100 publications, and she’s a frequent contributor to Writer’s Digest. Marie has worked as an editor, an award-winning public relations writer, a book publicist, and has taught classes on novel writing and on author promotion. 

In fiction, she seeks:

I’m currently seeking middle grade and young adult fiction and graphic novels, especially with diverse points of view, or a STEM tie-in. I also want general adult fiction and women’s fiction. I’d love to find an original women’s novel that would inspire the next smart and funny chick flick. I also represent a select number of established illustrators and picture book authors. I’d love a fresh non-gory ghost story for any age. I’m fascinated with hidden treasures, artifacts and with discovering ancient civilizations right beneath our feet. I’m a huge fan of folklore and fairy tales, and, while I wouldn’t want a retelling, I always enjoy those elements woven into a story in a unique way. Overall, books that are original, moving and/or hilarious are especially welcome.

I’m NOT interested in Christian fiction, horsey books, thrillers, genre science fiction or high fantasy (though I enjoy fantasy and speculative elements, especially in middle-grade fiction), erotica, category romance (though romantic elements are welcomed in novels), or books that feature graphic violence.
 
Some favorite titles on my reading shelf include One to Watch by Kate Stayman-London, Searching for Caleb by Anne Tyler, Just Listen by Sarah Dessen, The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffeneger, The Once and Future King by T.H. White, The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, Shug by Jenny Han, Little Bear’s Big House by Benjamin Chaud, and Dogzilla and Hallo-weiner by Dav Pilkey. I’m also a big fan of the shows Veronica Mars, The Crown, To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, The Queen’s Gambit, and Bridgerton, and the flicks Never Have I Ever and Lovebirds. For more insight into my tastes, check out the books I’ve authored, as well as the works of the authors I represent, and visit marielamba.com for my Agent Monday blog posts

In nonfiction, she seeks:

I represent nonfiction for children and for adults. For children’s, I’m open to most nonfiction subjects, especially ones that fit into my interests (see above).

In the adult realm, I want memoirs with strong voices and unique, inspiring stories (including foodie memoirs, or ones with a celebrity or pop culture connection). In nonfiction, I’m seeking narrative nonfiction, pop culture, history (little known or unique view of well-known), science and technology for the rest of us, art, biography (especially unknown/little known sides of well-known people), parenting, cooking and food, health and wellness, lifestyle, advice and relationships, and personal finance.

Overall, I’m especially looking for nonfiction that is inspiring and hopeful. I have a special interest in social justice, in titles that elevate and celebrate women and diverse people, and in books that aim to improve our society and help our environment.

Some nonfiction favorites on my reading shelf include: Educated by Tara Westover , Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb, Rush by Stephen Fried, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou, Positive Intelligence by Shirzad Chamine, and The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. I also loved the movies Green Book, RBG and Hidden Figures, and I’m a sucker for International House Hunter, The Great British Bake Off and Queer Eye.

Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Larissa Melo Pienkowski of Jill Grinberg Literary Management

Larissa Melo Pienkowski is a literary agent with Jill Grinberg Literary Management.

Larissa grew up outside of Boston and attended Simmons University, where she earned her degree in Social Work and Sociology, performed poetry competitively and recreationally, and edited a number of literary magazines. Larissa later went on to receive her MA in Publishing and Writing from Emerson College, where she worked with the likes of Beacon Press and Barefoot Books before becoming the assistant publisher of an independent feminist press. She joined JGLM as an agent in 2020 and represents a wide range of adult and children’s fiction and nonfiction, with a deep-rooted passion for championing the stories of authors from historically excluded backgrounds. The daughter of Brazilian and Polish immigrants, Larissa speaks Portuguese and Spanish. She lives in Philadelphia with her fiancée and very fluffy husky, Olaf, and when she isn’t curled up with a good book or traveling the world, she can be found in her ceramics studio, where she makes wheel-thrown and hand-built porcelain pieces.

She is seeking:

Larissa gravitates toward books with an emotional pull, unforgettable characters with propulsive desires, unique voices that leap off the page, lush and lyrical writing, and underexplored themes. She is focused on centering BIPOC, LGBTQIA+, disabled, neurodivergent, and other historically excluded voices across all genres.

In adult fiction, she is looking for voice-y, real stories of diaspora and migration; sweeping, multigenerational family sagas and dual timelines; enchanting magical realism and quirky light fantasy, especially if it takes place in a bookstore, library, or seaside village; atmospheric queer, feminist, and non-Western horror with subtle social commentary; heists, cons, and scams with high personal stakes; smart, steamy, laugh-out-loud rom-coms and women’s fiction with unique twists on tropes; BIPOC-centered reinventions of “classics”; historical fiction with rebellious, society-defying protagonists; and stories based in South and Central America, including titles in translation (ela está procurando representar mais autores brasileiros em particular).

In middle-grade and YA fiction, Larissa holds a soft spot for ragtag misfits-turned-best friends in mystery-adventures; stories that incorporate family, friendship, and strong cultural elements without being exclusively issues-driven; magical realism and light fantasy grounded in the experiences and insecurities that are part of growing up; non-Western folklore; and emotional, lyrical stories that explore heavier emotions and experiences in ways kids relate to.

On the adult nonfiction side, she is seeking narrative nonfiction that blends personal experience with investigative reporting; cookbooks that feature diverse and authentic cuisines; food writing that weaves together culture, society, and the food we eat in community; essay collections that chronicle contemporary life through the lens of social justice, decolonial thinking, and liberation; and cultural history and analysis of niche topics (bonus points for topics like fragrance, beauty, and poison).

Right now, she’s not the best fit for: stories exploring issues of identity written by authors who don’t share that identity; apocalyptic, post-apocalyptic, or dystopian novels; space operas and deep sci-fi; angel/demon, heaven/hell stories; pro-military, pro-detective, or pro-police books; anything having to do with Nazis or terrorists; fantasy featuring elves, aliens, robots, fae, dragons, vampires, werewolves, or unicorns; WWII historical fiction; COVID memoirs; and nonfiction centered on business, economics, or politics. She is temporarily putting a hold on poetry and children’s picture book submissions.

In the spirit of uplifting the work of those historically excluded from publishing and bringing more widespread representation to bookshelves everywhere, Larissa is primarily focused on representing marginalized voices and experiences in all genres.