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Meet Our Agents

Our 2018 literary agents

The Mayborn Literary Nonfiction Conference features two opportunities to meet our literary agents. Writers can attend Unveiling the Mystery, our opening Saturday morning session, where they have the opportunity to ask general industry questions of a panel of professionalsagents who know the secret to success. The Unveiling the Mystery agent panel is included with your conference registration.

Conference attendees also can register for a Close Encounter of the Literary Kind, which is a one-on-one, 15-minute meeting with a literary agent that allows writers to ask questions specific to their project and talk about what really matters—their books!


Close Encounters of the Literary Kind

This is a remarkable opportunity for you to meet one-on-one with one of our literary agents for 15 minutes to discuss your book ideas. Since our inception, our literary agents have secured major publishing contracts for a number of our conference attendees. Whether your ideas have been rendered into a formal proposal or are in the conception stage, you’ll find these sessions valuable. If your idea is well formed, we recommend you bring a one- to two-page synopsis of your book proposal to the session. Additional sessions may be purchased upon request to Jo Ann Livingston, our writing contest coordinator, who arranges appointment times for all conferees. You can view her contact information below.

The cost of each session is $50.

What to bring to the Close Encounters session

Each writer signing up for a one-on-one agent meeting should come prepared to verbally pitch his or her book project and bring supporting material. Our agents will give you an honest assessment, and offer suggestions for shaping your story into a proposal.

  • a one- to two-page synopsis of your book idea, with a brief bio of yourself that supports your being the best person to write the book

Our Saturday morning agent panel: Unveiling the Mystery/Writing, Editing and Publishing for the Literary Market

Included with your conference registration is free admission to our agent panel, which is slated as the first session Saturday morning. Writing a book and building a career in literary nonfiction publishing requires an understanding of the larger literary world – a Byzantine and mysterious world to most of us. What sort of ideas grab a nonfiction book editor’s attention? How do you shape that idea into a book proposal? Do you really need a literary agent to help you prepare and sell the proposal, or can you do it on your own? And if you need them, how do you get them interested in your book idea? The panel, which includes the literary agents on hand for the conference, will address these and other questions. Want to build a career in literary publishing? Your journey begins here.


Notification of one-on-one agent appointments

The Mayborn Conference will notify writers in advance by e-mail of the time and location for the consultation at the Hilton hotel. You will be reminded of your assigned time when you check-in at registration. Sign-up is available through online registration. Conference attendees are strongly encouraged to sign up for a one-on-one in advance as we are unable to guarantee any open slots once the conference is under way.

Jo Ann Livingston
Writing Contest Coordinator


The literary agents and longtime Mayborn supporters who will join us at our 2018 conference include:

Farley Chase became a literary agent in 2002 after working at The New Yorker, the New Press, and as an editor at Talk Miramax Books. Read More >>

Jim Donovan is the founder and president of Jim Donovan Literary, a literary agency in Dallas. Since starting the agency in 1993, he has sold hundreds of books for dozens of writers, negotiating publishing contracts with a multitude of publishers. Read More >>

Jim Hornfischer, the president of Hornfischer Literary Management, is a literary agent with a strong track record handling a broad range of serious and commercial nonfiction and select fiction. Read More >>

David R. Patterson is an agent with Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency in New York City. Read More >>

BJ Robbins opened her Los Angeles-based literary agency in 1992 after a multifaceted career in book publishing, first at Simon & Schuster and later at Harcourt, where she was marketing director and senior editor. Read More >>