Get to Know a Literary Agent in Attendance: Kat Kerr of Donald Maass Literary Agency

Screen Shot 2020-01-24 at 10.39.54 AMKat Kerr is a literary agent with Donald Maass Literary Agency.

Kat joined Donald Maass Literary Agency in 2019 after working previously at Corvisiero Literary Agency. She graduated from Florida State University with a Bachelors in English in 2009 and is drawn to literary and commercial voices within the adult and YA markets, as well as adult nonfiction. Kat feels strongly about supporting programs like We Need Diverse Books and is passionate about creating space in this industry for those from historically marginalized communities.

She is seeking: For literary and upmarket fiction, Kat is drawn to strong, character-driven works with rich, literary prose. She loves books that make her think and have a strong emotional pull. She enjoys adult contemporary, women’s fiction, adult & YA multicultural, adult historical works featuring family sagas (Think Amy Tan’s Joy Luck Club or Walter Dean Myers’ The Glory Field). Kat enjoys YA contemporary that isn’t afraid to tackle the hard topics — books in a similar vein as Adam Silvera’s More Happy Than Not, Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower, or Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak. Other favorites include Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys¸ Big Fish by Daniel Wallace, About a Boy by Nick Hornby, Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison, The Leavers by Lisa Ko, and Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel.

For the commercial market, Kat is looking for high concept, voice-driven works with a close POV and well-developed, distinct characters. He likes science fiction — specifically space operas or something dark and twisty similar to an episode of “Black Mirror”; low, epic fantasies and dark urban fantasies where the worldbuilding reflects a non-Europe based setting; quirky and fun women’s fiction and rom-coms like Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding. And Kat likes young adult in all genres. Other favorites: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas, Shades of Magic series by V.E. Schwab, The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger, and Wicked: The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.

For nonfiction, she seeks religion and spirituality that focus on a universal, humanitarian message much like God Is Not A Christian and The Book of Joy; narrative nonfiction and journalistic nonfiction tackling current affairs and social justice issues, particularly covering topics of racism, immigration, LGBTQIA+ rights, gender equality, and poverty; cookbooks that are edgy and fresh (think Thug Kitchen), inspired by pop culture (similar to Eat Like A Gilmore), or anything that spotlights authentic, regional cuisine from across the globe; and select biographies and memoirs.

Do not pitch: plots/themes centering around unresolved rape or abuse, or child abuse; previously published or self-published works; middle grade, chapter books, picture books; novellas, short stories, or poetry collections; military/war stories; or Western.

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