Fiona Kenshole, Transatlantic Agency

Fiona represents children’s and YA books, from picture books to older teenage, split about 70/30 fiction/nonfiction. Likes: Unreliable narrators, MG stories with real children in an imaginary world, and feelgood YA. Enjoy elements of cycling, suspense, mysteries, plots that go awry, humor. No rhyming picture books, poetry, or faith-based works.

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I love the midwifery of being an agent, from getting your debut published to doing the movie deal, and at Transatlantic we like to sell your book to publishers all over the world so I work with co-agents in 28 countries, selling worldwide rights.

I have lived in lovely Portland, Oregon for the last ten years: I moved to the US from Oxford, England to join Laika, a brand new studio to make animated films.  As Vice President of Development Acquisition,  my first three films were all Oscar nominated: THE BOXTROLLS, CORALINE and PARANORMAN.

Previously, I was a publisher in the UK where I worked with best-selling names including Michael Bond (Paddington Bear), P.L Travers (Mary Poppins) and the Laureate Michael Morpurgo (War Horse). I was the British editor for authors including Beverley Cleary, Lois Lowry, Richard Peck, Bruce Coville, Gary Paulsen and Cynthia Voigt, and was nominated for “Editor of the Year” at the British Book Awards.

My first job was at age 16, working in a children’s book store. After graduating from Cambridge University, I headed up children’s publishing at Oxford University Press, Hodder (Little, Brown UK), and HarperCollins.

I specialize I children’s and YA books, from picture books to older teenage, split about 70/30 fiction/nonfiction. Some recent successes include Vicki Grant’s YA romcom, 36 QUESTIONS THAT CHANGED MY MIND ABOUT YOU (Running Press), which sold in 22 languages and has just been optioned for TV; illustrator Kass Reich’s picture book CARSON CROSSES CANADA (Penguin Random House) which held the number one spot in the Canadian bestsller lists for 5 weeks; and Rosanne Parry’s forthcoming middle grade A WOLF CALLED WANDER (Greenwillow) which has sold in six languages ahead of publication. I’ve recently been successful selling graphic novels and would love to take on more clients in this area.

I have a special soft spot for unreliable narrators, middle grade stories with real children in an imaginary world, and  feelgood YA. I love pretty much anything with cycling in it.I love fast-paced characterful writing –  suspense, mysteries, plots that go awry. Most of all I love compelling writing that makes me laugh out loud, or makes me love the characters so much that I love the world more than real life.

I love stories that surprise me. If I can predict the ending in the opening pages (especially with picture books) it’s probably not for me. I don’t represent faith based books – although I’d be interested in a YA novel where a character grapples with understanding faith and the meaning of life, like “Now I Know” by Aidan Chambers. I don’t represent rhyming picture books or poetry.

 

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