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Profile Summary

Molly Ker Hawn is one of two UK agents at US firm, The Bent Agency.  She is based in London and represents US and UK writers.  Molly specialises in young adult, middle grade, chapter books and non-fiction for ages 8-18.

Her publishing career has seen her take on editorial roles at Chronicle Books and Dial Books for Young Readers, social media development for a teen magazine, and a post as National Programs Director at the American Children's Book Council.  She is a former board member of the United States Board on Books for Young People.

•Molly’s young adult list covers thrillers, comedy, romance and science fiction.  She is actively building her list and represents a number of debut authors.  Clients include Stephanie Kate Strohm (‘Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink’ and ‘Confederates Don't Wear Couture’); Simon P Clark (debut middle grade novel, 'Eren'); and Kat Ellis (‘Breaker’ and ‘Purge’) 

•In fiction, she is interested in books set in India and Ireland. Molly like books ‘whose characters explore religion in unexpected ways’.  Performing arts stories, strong sibling relationships and unusual settings will also catch her eye.

•In non-fiction she would like to see middle grade and YA which focuses on ‘social issues and contemporary topics’.  She’s looking for fiction that is ‘inventive, well-crafted, and rich with emotion’. 

•Humour is a bonus (as long as it's not toilet humour!) and she tends to prefer books with literary appeal. 

•Please note, Molly doesn’t represent adult trade fiction, adult non-fiction, new adults (18-25), or picture books.

•Her favourite children’s authors include: Ellen Raskin, Edward Ormondroyd, Margo Lanagan, Maureen Johnson, Jack Gantos, Jacqueline Woodson, Catherynne Valente, Chris Crutcher, Francesca Lia Block, Noel Streatfeild, Gene Luen Yang, and Susan Cooper. 

•Email Molly with a brief biography and a ‘solid pitch’ for your book.   Make sure you paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email (the agency don’t accept attachments or postal queries)


Detailed data

The Bent Agency
Agent since:
Short biography:

My time in the children's publishing industry has included editorial roles at Chronicle Books and Dial Books for Young Readers, early social media development for a major teen magazine, and serving as National Programs Director at the Children's Book Council, the trade association of American children's book publishers. I've also been a bookseller, and I'm a past board member of the United States Board on Books for Young People. I live in London and I work with authors and publishers both in the U.K. and the U.S. I've bounced back and forth from America to England since I was a teenager: I grew up in Northern California, lived for a time in the West Country, read English at Cambridge University, spent many years in New York City, and now live a stone's throw from the River Thames. I'm looking for middle grade and young adult fiction that's inventive, well-crafted, and rich with emotion. I'm also interested in non-fiction for readers ages 8-18. I like wit, but not snark; I prefer books that lean more toward literary than commercial, but of course, my perfect book neatly bridges the two. The books on my list all share a strong sense of authentic place, whether real or imaginary. If you've got a terrific story, well-told, I want to read it.

Client list status:
Keen to build client list
Genres this agent is interested in:
Young adult fiction, Children's fiction, Children's & YA non-fiction
Authors & books liked:

Some of my favorite (non-client) authors are Ellen Raskin, Edward Ormondroyd, Margo Lanagan, Maureen Johnson, Jack Gantos, Jacqueline Woodson, Catherynne Valente, Chris Crutcher, Francesca Lia Block, Noel Streatfeild, Gene Luen Yang, and Susan Cooper. And in the non-children's/YA pantheon, my favorites include Maeve Binchy, AS Byatt, Mollie Panter-Downes, Agatha Christie, Ray Bradbury, Laurie Colwin, and Judith Krantz.

Other loves & passions:
No Data
How to make a submission:
Please send me: Young adult fiction Middle grade fiction Chapter books Non-fiction for ages 8-18I'm not currently considering queries in the following genres: Adult trade fiction Adult Non-fiction New Adult(18-25) Picture books
Other advice and background:

An Interview with Molly

Q. What books/authors do you love in children’s fiction? (Crime, women’s) Give us some examples and say why you liked these books/authors.

My tastes are varied, to a certain extent — but most of the time, they veer toward the literary.

Some of my favorite middlegrade novels:

The Westing Game, by the great Ellen Raskin. It’s a tricky puzzle of a book, with a cast of largely adult characters seen from the perspective of thirteen-year-old Turtle Wexler.

The Dark Is Rising sequence, by Susan Cooper. There’s no one like Cooper – her books are superbly researched and plotted, elegantly written, and full of characters that just burst with life.

Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell is another favorite. The voice is a gorgeous mix of whimsy and melancholy, and the story is classic and fresh and genuinely touching, all at the same time. 

Jack Gantos’ Joey Pigza books are terrific: funny and engaging. I think a lot of kids can see something of themselves in Joey, and his struggles feel very real to them.

In YA fiction, I think Margo Lanagan is hard to beat. Her voice is singular, her imagination is boundless, and she has crucial things to say about gender politics and human relationships.

Stephanie Perkins’ Anna and the French Kiss is my shining example of a romantic YA novel. She captures that delicious tension of first love so naturally.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein is one of the most extraordinary novels you’ll ever read. It’s an edge-of-your-seat wartime novel, but it’s also a heartbreaking depiction of female friendship, which I always I find compelling.

I’m not really a good fit for any fiction that relies on bathroom humour, and I don’t easily connect with animal protagonists. Other than that, though, I’m open to anything, as long as the writing is top-notch.

Q. On the non-fiction side, are there particular areas that interest you? Does your non-fiction list have a particular slant to it?

I’m interested in non-fiction for the MG and YA audiences, especially projects that focus on social issues and contemporary topics. 

Q. Is there anything in particular you’d love to see at the moment?

I’d really like to see a middlegrade or YA novel that plays with narrative structure in a clever, unexpected way. I was really taken with Todd Hasak-Lowy’s recent novel, ME BEING ME IS EXACTLY AS INSANE AS YOU BEING YOU – it’s told entirely in lists, and it managed to surprise me with its inventiveness while still delivering an emotional punch.
I’m always hopeful that today will be the day I find the kind of high-stakes fantasy I crave —something like Marie Rutkoski’s THE WINNER’S CURSE, or Rae Carson’s THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS. I want political intrigue, I want complicated characters, I want a world that feels new and fully developed.And I’m constantly looking for great MG and YA contemporary fiction with a literary slant.

Q. What’s your biggest turn-off in a covering letter? What would you really hope to see?

Too much information is worse than not enough, I find. Seven paragraphs on the author’s life story detracts from what’s really important: the book. A solid pitch is so much more appealing.

Q. What are your biggest peeves in an opening page or opening chapter? And what do you love to see?

The usual disappointing suspects: The main character’s alarm goes off, waking her up. The main character examines himself in a mirror. The main character is late for something. Clichés, clichés, clichés.

Q. Do you have any unpredictable loves?

I’m drawn to novels set in India and Ireland. I like books whose characters explore religion in unexpected ways.  Performing arts stories are a good bet. Strong sibling relationships. Unusual settings.

Q. Would you take on an author who had self-published? What kind of self-pub sales would make you sit up?

If I thought the book was really special, sure, I would.

Q. How many submissions do you see annually? And how many of those submissions will end up on your list?

I get about 5000-6000 submissions each year, and take on maybe 4 or 5 clients in that same timeframe – but I don’t have a quota. I can go months without signing anyone, and then discover two promising writers in a week.

Q. Do you look for social media and online presence? Do you care?

Oh, sure. It’s not a prerequisite for success, but an online presence that’s unprofessional or unpleasant is a warning sign. I’m not sure I’d want to work with someone who was always angry or complaining.

Q. When people are pitching the concept for a book to you, what do you find is the most common failing?

Waffling. Be concise – give me the one line pitch and the comp titles (e.g., “it’s Downton Abbey meets The Lord of the Rings”). 

Q: What character (from any book) would you be and why?

Lizzie Bennett, please. 

Q: Which 3 famous people (alive or deceased) would you invite to a dinner party and why? 

Emma Thompson. Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Michelle Obama. I think with a couple of bottles of wine, we could definitely put the world to rights.

Attends Festival of Writing or other WW events?
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Interesting links:
Albertalli, Becky Allen, Rachael Allen-Vath, Ami Allure, Kate Ashby, Amanda Bache, Ellyn Baldwin, Christopher Bateman, Scott Blake, Liora Bottoms, Greg Brady, Kate Brock, Kimberly Cannon, Katy Carr, Susanna Charman, Katrina Chernesky, Felicia Sanzari Childs, Tera Lynn Choo, Yangsze Clark, Simon P. Cole, Scarlett Colleen, Marcie Collins, Katana Condit, Sonja Cooley, Josh Costa, T.L. Crawford, Brent Crawford, Susan Delahanty, Katie Dickinson, Lynn Downey, Jen Swann Ellis, Kat Fifield, Richard Fitzgerald, Ruth Ford, Keri Frampton, Megan Fury, Shawn Gallam, Claire Gamble, Paul Garton, Sam Gaus, P. L. Glass, Seressia Gordon, Gina Grau, Sheila Greenland, Shannon Greenwood, Emily Guarente, Gabe Hamilton, Alwyn Hammerle, Julie Harmon, Elizabeth Hay, Sam Haymore, Jennifer Heilig, Heidi Herron, Rita Hill, Sandra Hitchcock, Bonnie-Sue Hosie, Donna Howard, A.G. Janz, Jonathan Jones, Anna Newell Jones, Lisa Renee Khorana, Aditi Kindred, Laura Kitchings, Taylor Knepper, Nicole Lariviere, Sarah Lerman, Philip London, Julia Lydon, Alexandra Manning, Jo Martin, Barry McDowell, Marta McLane, LuAnn McLaughlin, Jen McMinn, Suzanne Moldavsky, Goldy Moran, Jan Myles, Marina Nord, Cindy Notaro, Laurie O'Bryant, Robin O'Hara, Mo Ormsbee, K.E. Patel, Ayesha Pattillo, Beth Peaflor, Lygia Day Pounder, Sibeal Pullen, M.J. Revell, Mike Ricks, Ingrid Rivenbark, Celia Rosenberg, Liz Roy, Lori Sands, Lynsay Scanlon, Nancy Schmidt, Jamie K. Schulz, Heidi Seymour, Ingrid Shea, Hunter Sheehan, Jacqueline Spielman, Lori Nelson Spiro, Ruth Stevens, Robin Stewart, Martin Stirling, Tricia Strohm, Stephanie Kate Sutton, Jenna Thompson, Vicki Lewis Tobin, Paul Tougas, Shelley Tyre, Lisa Van Tiem, Victoria Watkins, Sam Waugh, Sandra Weingarten, Lynn Wilde, Lori Zebedee, Jo
Full client list:
Email address:

Agents of: The Bent Agency

Agency details

About the agency:
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Address for submissions:
The Bent Agency / London 21 Melliss Avenue Kew, Richmond TW9 4BQ
Office address:
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Email address:
Phone number:
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Number of agents:
Accepts email submissions:
Submission type:
Other - see details
Further submission info:
Email only; see Submission type: Email only: query + first ten pages, both pasted into body of email message (no attachments) If you know you're a great writer with a story to tell, we hope you'll be in touch with us. Please review these submission guidelines before you contact us. First, review our agents' bios and decide which of us you'd like to query. Please do not simultaneously query our agents; submit your work to only one of us. If she passes, feel free to contact another. Second, email your chosen agent and tell her briefly who you are, about your book, and why you're the one to write it. Include the title of your project in the subject line of your email. Then paste the first ten pages of your book in the body of your email (not as an attachment, please). If you're submitting a picture book, please include the complete text; for illustrations, please also include a link to your website if available, or two or three PDFs or JPEGs of your work. For graphic novels, please paste the first ten pages of your script in the body of your email, as well as the first five pages of your dummy. The dummy doesn't need to be entirely finished, but if it's not, please include up to three samples of your finished work, or a link to your online portfolio. Please do not send an exclusive query. Queries are meant to be shared with multiple agencies. The Bent Agency ONLY accepts email queries. If you send your query by postal mail, it will be recycled and not returned to you. It is our goal to respond to every query. If you don't receive a response within a month, please resend your query and indicate that you're sending it again. If the agent is interested in your work, she will respond with instructions for sending the rest of your material. If we do request material from you, we ask that you check back with us before accepting representation elsewhere. The Bent Agency is grateful for all queries and submissions. We understand that your work is important to you and we thank you for considering us.
More info on this agency:
The Bent Agency is based in the United States, however two of their agents are based in the UK. For this reason we feel they are important to include on Agent Hunter. "At The Bent Agency, we work with authors to map the publishing career of their dreams and work with them to make it a reality. We pay careful attention to every detail, from the terms of a first contract, editorial work and cover design, to the publisher's marketing and publicity plan, royalties and sales figures. We offer the kind of representation that can only be born of years of agent experience in the atmosphere of a smaller boutique firm where every client gets our combined and total focus. We pride ourselves on nurturing and discovering authors whom we can help propel to the top of their category. We have represented over 30 New York Times bestselling titles, with many more on USA Today, Publishers Weekly, and other regional lists."
Average response time:
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