Posted by: Kathy Temean | May 23, 2022

Agent Looking for Non-Fiction – Opening to Fiction in June

Emmy Nordstrom Higdon at Westwood Creative Artists is currently only accepting non-fiction queries from authors traditionally under-represented in publishing! She will be re-opening to fiction queries in June 2022. Please see the Westwood Creative Artists submission page for more details!

While Westwood has historically specialized in working with Canadian authors, she is always open to queries from authors who live or are from the US and other countries. She prioritize queries from authors who are Black and/or BIPOC, trans and/or non-binary, and/or who are disabled or chronically ill. Querying authors: don’t feel pressure to disclose your identities, however know that you are invited to if you are comfortable.

Please note that I only accept queries for complete and revised works under 100K words.

  • MG: between 30 and 60K words
  • YA: between 50 and 80K words
  • Adult: between 70 and 90K words
  • Graphic (any age): between 20 and 75K words
  • PB: industry standard 32 pages, and about 600 words


For non-fiction, please submit a book proposal, not a completed manuscript.

All non-fiction submissions should include a book proposal rather than a completed manuscript.

For graphic queries, please provide:

  • a completed and revised outline (or script) or a writing sample of 10-20 pages
  • an art sample

Please see the Westwood Creative Artists submission page for more details!

What Emmy Loves

I represent across age categories and genres, including graphic and illustrated works in both fiction and non-fiction. In 2022, I am seeking:

  • Big concepts
  • Timely and urgent messages
  • Unique hooks and high-concept stories
  • Propulsive pacing
  • Focusing on upmarket and book club fiction
  • Three key elements in each project: platform, craft, and story
  • Compact, efficient manuscripts – ideally around or under 90K words
  • Standalone books

You know that feeling when you have to go somewhere, and you’re reading, and you have to close the book, but it is just the tiniest bit physically painful to do it? That’s my aim, with every book that I have a hand in. I want it to be just a little bit devastating to put down.

  • Stories that reflect the real diversity of our world, handled responsibly, and ideally based on first-hand lived experiences of people traditionally underrepresented in traditional publishing:
    • LGBTQ2S+
    • disability, physical and/or psychiatric, and/or chronic illness, #CripLit
    • BIPOC voices
    • autism spectrum and neurodivergence, especially plurality/multiplicity/DID
    • Deaf/deaf, hard of hearing, deafblind
    • polyamory
    • sex work
    • fat characters, body positivity (no weight loss or diet narratives or themes!)
  • Morally ambiguous feminine characters
  • Elderly characters
  • Small/closed/contained/claustrophobic settings (think island, exclusive boarding school, isolated town, summer camp etc.) and locked room mysteries
  • The ocean, coastal settings in general
  • “Flyover” or rural settings
  • Anything spooky, especially hauntings (my fave tropes are, “these ghosts are different, worse ghosts” and “thing you can’t hope to understand hates you in particular”)
  • Feminist revenge stories
  • Disillusionment character arcs
  • Traditionally feminine sports (think ballet, cheerleading, roller derby, gymnastics, figure skating etc.), especially books featuring horseback riding (I grew up a horse girl!)
  • Themes exploring faith, religion, or spirituality in a critical and fresh way
  • Rich people problems, particularly if they come with a healthy dose of glamour
  • Subcultures of any kind – the more insular, the better; hidden cultures or societies; cults
  • Stories of people vanishing, missing people, frauds, and scams
  • Soap, kitsch, or camp vibes/aesthetic/motifs
  • 1990’s nostalgia, history, or sociocultural analysis


General interests across age categories:

  • contemporary
  • emotional and psychological suspense (crime, mystery, thriller)
  • book club, millennial, women’s fiction, coming of age, feminist
  • contemporary and neo Gothic (my personal favourite!)
  • campus novels, dark academia
  • high-concept, single title romcom novels
  • high-concept horror (body horror, ghost stories, occult, Spiritualism, psychological, social, political, weird – no zombies, please!) – I am not looking for cheap scares, and I don’t like gore without a purpose!
  • contemporary Westerns
  • graphic and illustrated works by author/illustrators
  • books that are so weird I could never have predicted them

Weirdly specific asks:

  • all ages: eco-thrillers and climate fiction
  • all ages: books, illustrated or prose, that are slice of life anime or Manga-inspired or have a vibe reminiscent of reading Manga or light novels
  • all ages: books by Newfoundland authors that engage our culture
  • adult: retelling of the story of St. Werburgh
  • adult: crime novels that appeal to a fan of formula/genre tropes, but with progressive politics and from communities underrepresented in the genre
  • adult: domestic suspense with a creative definition of “domestic” – no more abled, suburban, white, nuclear families please
  • adult: a superhero book with an elderly superhero protagonist
  • adult: adaptations or retellings of ELEPHANTS CAN REMEMBER, THE STEPFORD WIVES, or FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, which enter public domain in 2023
  • YA: the perfect thriller
  • YA: a book with a character who has interaction with the prison industrial system written by someone with lived experience
  • MG or YA: a LEGO competition friendship story with messy relationships, sabotage, and wildly high nerdy stakes
  • MG: book featuring young cryptids
  • MG: a book about the friendship and rivalry between the young skateboarder athletes at the Olympics
  • children’s: adaptations or retellings of WINNIE THE POOH, which enters public domain in 2022; THE RUNAWAY BUNNY, WATERSHIP DOWN, POPEYE, or NATE THE GREAT which enter public domain in 2023
  • children’s: books for kids of all genders that have anti-toxic masculinity messages

I am not the right fit for…

  • books with plague, virus, or pandemic themes
  • works with protagonists or major themes surrounding law enforcement of any kind, including military
  • stories with chronically ill or disabled protagonists or themes written by authors without first-hand, lived experience (including healthy, able-bodied parents of sick or disabled children)
  • coming out narratives
  • works focused on cisgender women’s experiences of menstruation, pregnancy, or menopause
  • epic fantasy, novellas, comedy, erotica, or poetry
  • epistolary format books for any age range
  • submissions over 100K words

Emmy holds a PhD in justice-oriented social work with a focus on critical animal studies from McMaster University, with additional peer-reviewed publications in public health and psychology. Emmy created Books Beyond Binaries, and is a member of the planning team for the Festival of Literary Diversity. Emmy is queer, trans, non-binary colonizer originally from Ktaqmkuk (Newfoundland), the ancestral homelands of the Beothuk and the Mi’kmaq, now based in Tkaronto (Toronto, Ontario), which is unceded territory of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee, and Mississaugas of the Credit.

Emmy lives and partner live with a Deaf Dalmatian, and two formerly feral Maine coon cats. They keep busy with thread painting embroidery, wholesome video games, snail mail, sticker collection, vegan cooking, and… obviously, reading. Emmy grew up on fantasy novels and 90’s kidlit horror like Bunnicula and Goosebumps.

Murder is my comfort read.

Below is a List Fun Facts From Emmy:

  • I’ve been vegan since I was 11 years old.
  • I hold a PhD in social work in which I specialize in social justice and human-animal relationships, focusing on working animals in therapeutic environments.
  • I’m an academic and freelance researcher with expertise in LGBTQ2S+ health and wellness.
  • I spent 7+ years working as a front line social worker, mostly in emergency shelter and mental health settings.
  • I went to college for circus arts, and spent nearly a decade performing and coaching at a professional level.
  • J’ai appris le français quand j’étais très jeune, et j’ai vécu la grosse majorité de ma vie l’en parlant comme langue principale, alors que je me considère comme francophone.
  • I share my life with a lot of pets in a small space! Right now, that includes living with two formerly feral Maine Coon cats, and one deaf Dalmatian puppy. Their names are Whisper, Willow, and Pavot (pronounced pav-oh, it’s French for “poppy”, as in poppyseed).

Submission Guidelines

Submissions should be emailed to

Send all queries to: Info

Talk tomorrow,


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