I am excited to welcome Kat Enright, an associate agent with the Seymour Agency, to the EasternPennPoints Café today. Kat represents middle grade and young adult fiction (as well as books for adults). They will be joining us at our Fall Philly event on November 2 where they will be leading one of the breakout sessions and offering critiques.
Laura: Welcome to the Café, Kat. We’re excited that you could join us. What can we get you to drink and snack on?
Kat: I know this is so basic, but I can’t go wrong with an iced coffee. It’s my go-to. Oh, and a brownie!
Laura: Mmmm, I think I’ll have one of those brownies too. First off, tell us about the path that brought you to where you are now as a literary agent.
Kat: I think I always knew that I wanted to work in books, even if I didn’t know how. I moved to the NYC area and got a job with an independent publishing house, working in their Sales and Marketing department, but it wasn’t long until I moved over to Children’s Editorial. It was a great position, as I got to work along the entire spectrum of Children’s Lit. But unfortunately, in the Spring of 2018 the company underwent restructuring, and many positions were eliminated, including mine.
But that’s not the end of my story! It wasn’t long before Nicole Resciniti, president of the Seymour Agency, reached out. We had worked together many times in my time in editorial, and she thought that I would be a great fit for her team. And as agenting was something I had my eye on for a while, I agreed!
Now I’m here, and I couldn’t be happier.
Laura: I’m glad to hear it. Can you tell us what you’re looking for in a client?
Kat: As an agent who is very editorial, I look for clients who are willing to do the work. When I send a book out to editors, I want it to be in the best shape it can be—and I will take the time to work with you to get it there. I look for clients who are not afraid to be challenged—every revision, every new project, is a chance to grow, and I want to help my clients achieve everything they can.
That said, I’m not some strict taskmaster. I encourage my clients to take the time they need to do deep, thoughtful revisions, and I’m always available to answer questions and brainstorm. Any good author/agent relationship is a partnership, and I want to find clients who are looking for that as well.
Laura: What were some of your favorite middle grade and young adult books when you were growing up, and what are some recent favorites?
Kat: Oh, so this is going to be so obvious, but I grew up with Harry Potter—I was just the right age when the books came out, and I was one of the lucky generation that got to grow up with Harry and the crew. I probably wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for those books.
A book I recently finished that I absolutely loved was HOUSE OF SALT AND SORROWS. It’s got such a great atmosphere to it, and I really love that rich sense of gothic horror as we went through the mystery—it’s a gem, and I cannot wait to see more from the author.
Laura: That sounds right up my alley. I’ll have to check it out! So, if you could jump inside the head of the main character of any book, who would you choose and why?
Kat: Kaz Brekker! His head would be a twisting minefield of snakes, and I would be so fascinated to really get in there and figure out how he ticks. Also, if some of his heist-ing skills rubbed off on me, that would just be a bonus.
Laura: Can you give us a sneak peek at what you’ll be presenting at Fall Philly?
Kat: Yes, I can! I’ll be talking about worldbuilding and the choices we make around it, specifically around the different -isms and –phobias. I firmly believe that SFF can be a powerful lens to explore racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc., etc., but when we go into worldbuilding without a lot of active thought or intentionality, we can actually uphold the very systems we are attempting to explore and dismantle.
So, you know, something light and fluffy.
Laura: I can’t wait to hear what you have to say! Okay, it’s time for our lightning round. What is your favorite
Place to read: Literally anywhere I have 5 minutes to spare
Video game: Right now? Fire Emblem: Three Houses
Laura: Thanks so much for chatting with me. We’re looking forward to seeing you at Fall Philly!
Kat: Thank you so much for having me! I can’t wait.
For more information about our Fall Philly event and to register, click here. You can sign up for an optional critique with Kat or one of our other fantastic faculty members.
Kat Enright (they/them) is an Associate Agent at the Seymour Agency who represents both fiction and nonfiction. As someone who lives on the corner of many intersections, they are most especially interested in elevating voices of marginalized authors. For more information, please check out their MSWL on katenright.com, and they can be found on Twitter and Instagram (both, @katenright).