Lisette Verhagen Taking Submissions

Lisette Verhagen

Lisette Verhagen

Literary Agent

Lisette Verhagen joined PFD in January 2020 after 5 years at David Godwin Associates, where she was Head of Rights.  She is originally from the Netherlands and previously worked in publishing in Barcelona and Amsterdam. Lisette is actively building a literary list with a strong focus on international clients for sale both to the UK and around the world. Her authors include Arundhati Roy, Hanna Bervoets, Flora Carr, Theresa Lola, Kübra Gümüşay and Lieke Marsman.

What I'm looking for...

I’m especially looking for literary fiction and narrative non-fiction with great international potential and narrative drive, fresh literary voices that just need to be shared with the rest of the world. I love sharp, voice-driven narratives with a sense of urgency, stories that are moving but aren’t sentimental or overwritten. I have a weak spot for character driven stories that tell us something new about ourselves and the world we live in and connect us with others, especially those from an immigrant perspective.

I’m drawn to stories concerning race, sexuality, specific cultural settings and notions on identity. I’m currently paying close attention to narratives that introduce me to worlds I don’t know anything about. For example, how Gabrielle Zevin’s novel ‘Tomorrow and Tomorrow and Tomorrow’ immersed me in the world of gaming, or how I learned more about the brutal world of a horse trainer in Kathryn Scanlan’s ‘Kick the Latch’. Although I’m open to everything and like to be surprised,  I would be excited to find a tender, unusual love story.

For nonfiction, my taste is broad and has always been a reflection of my own reading taste. I’m drawn to narrative nonfiction rooted in arts, social history, culture and politics. I’m always looking for strong essay writing, narrative histories and powerful memoirs such as Lea Ypi’s ‘Free’. I’m also keen to find a brilliant fashion writer with international appeal.

Submissions can be written in any language, as long as they have high potential to travel and are submitted with an extensive synopsis and author’s biography in English.  Making books travel has always been a dream to me, and I’m excited by the growing interest in international authors from publishers all over the world.

Writers I admire are  James Baldwin, Bernardine Evaristo, Jenny Erpenbeck, Mariana Enriquez, George Saunders, Jonathan Franzen, Raven Leilani, Han Kang, Natalia Ginzburg, Ocean Vuong,  Caleb Azumah Nelson, Carmen Maria Machado, Gabrielle Zevin, Natasha Brown and  many, many others. Nonfiction titles I love are ‘Why I’m No Longer Talking To White People About Race’ by Reni Eddo-Lodge,  Oliver Burkeman’s ‘Four Thousand Weeks’, ‘Empire of Pain’ by Patrick Radden Keefe, ‘Ways of Seeing’ by John Berger and  ‘Conversations on Love’ by Natasha Lunn.

Please note that I’m not considering any children’s, YA or genre fiction.