Saba Sulaiman of Talcott Notch Literary: After double majoring in Economics and Middle Eastern Studies at Wellesley, I studied modern Persian Literature at the University of Chicago, where I got involved with editing our department’s academic journal. And it finally hit me—working closely with writers to hone their craft; seeing a piece of writing from its inception through to its eventual publication; and advocating for what I believed was stellar prose worthy of recognition—this was my calling. So I interned at various newspaper and magazine publications, worked as an editorial intern at Sourcebooks, and then wound up at Talcott Notch, where I’m excited to begin my career as a literary agent.
I’m currently open to the following genres:
Adult: up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir.
Young Adult:/New Adult: She seeks all subgenres except paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. She’s particularly interested in contemporary realistic stories, fast-paced mysteries, or lush historicals. paranormal and sci-fi.
Middle Grade: Fiction. Think Roald Dahl.
I’m looking for strong voices and unconventional narratives that really make me sit up, pay attention, and move me. Introduce me to unforgettable characters with complex, deep relationships, and show me worlds where things aren’t necessarily as they seem. Intelligent, sharp writing with soul is my biggest weakness, and if you can offer a fresh perspective on top of that, I’ll probably be sold.
Saba was drawn into the world of literature by default when my sister’s growing collection of books in our tiny room began to overflow onto my bed. Bewildered by her fascination with these musty, decaying volumes, I decided to experience them for myself—and instantly fell in love. Born to Pakistani expatriates in Sri Lanka, and knowing how to express myself only in English for the first fifteen years of my life, I found comfort in reading about other culturally displaced people, unable to communicate in their native tongues, and hesitant to assert themselves in environments where there were few examples of people like them. Moving to Pakistan and absorbing what it meant to be an educated woman in a traditional Islamic society contributed greatly to my desire to learn more about similar narratives, especially from other women. In an effort to understand how it felt to be surrounded by other ambitious women with the desire to shatter patriarchal restrictions, I enrolled as an undergraduate at Wellesley College. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Also—and this deserves its own paragraph—I’m all about diversity, in all its various forms. Bonus points if your book contains multicultural perspectives, and themes of immigration, displacement, and cultural adjustment.
When I’m not reading, you’ll probably find me learning another foreign language, playing Scrabble, watching a Bollywood movie, or singing in the bathroom (the acoustics, am I right?)
Saba Sulaiman on Twitter:
You can follow Saba on Twitter at @agentsaba.
How to submit: Send a query in an email to email@example.com and paste the first ten pages of your manuscript in the body of your e-mail. Saba only accepts email queries. Please put “Query: Then insert Title and Genre” in the subject line to catch my attention.
Please send me a short (no longer than a page) query, along with the first ten pages of your manuscript included within the email. I don’t open attachments unless I specifically ask for them later.
Open with a sentence with the following details: your project’s title, genre, and word count. Then, in 1-2 sentences, describe the core conflict of your project, and make it stand out—this is your chance to really draw me into your query. Try to include a hook that can convey certain aspects of your project immediately; something like A CLOCKWORK ORANGE meets PITCH PERFECT (also if you have this project, query me!) Then, tell me a little bit about your setting and the primary characters. Expand on the conflict of your story in a few sentences. And end with a short author bio, writing credits, and anything that is relevant to the project you’re querying.
I try to respond to all of my queries within 6-8 weeks. If you haven’t heard from me and it’s been over 8 weeks, please feel free to nudge me, and I will respond as soon as I can. If you have an offer of representation, please let me know and I will look at your query immediately.
“If it’s been longer than 8 weeks, feel free to follow up with me.”