Philippa is President of the agency, where, after graduating from Boston University, she began her career over 40 years ago as the receptionist. Philippa represents journalists, nonfiction writers and novelists, and is most interested in current events, memoir, science, politics, biography, and women’s issues. Authors she represents include James McBride, author of The Color of Water and The Good Lord Bird, winner of the National Book Award; the late Richard Ben Cramer, author of What It Takes and Joe DiMaggio: The Hero’s Life; and Senator John McCain, author of Faith of My Fathers, Why Courage Matters and Character Is Destiny among others. She represents several Pulitzer Prize-winning journalists, distinguished politicians, and award-winning novelists.
Laurie Liss is Vice President and Partner at Sterling Lord Literistic. She represents authors of commercial and literary fiction and nonfiction whose perspectives are well developed and unique. She has made it a point of her career to nurture young and unpublished authors, as well as self-published and ‘under-published’ writers. Her list represents her broad-based tastes, but generally she looks for books with heart, which will positively impact society. Among her nonfiction clients are doctors, journalists, athletes, chefs, comedians and clergy. Her novelists include full-time writers, journalists and lawyers. Her clients include: Richard Paul Evans, Rachel Maddow, Dave Pelzer, Clark Howard, Malachy McCourt, Shankar Vedantam, Darcie Chan, Matt Richtel, Obert Skye, Francesca Lia Block, Hillary Carlip, Dr. Steve Schlozman, Janet Reitman, Julie Shigekuni, and Michael Morris.
Peter founded Literistic in 1979 and is Co-Chairman of the agency. He has always had a diverse client list, reflecting his abiding interest in storytelling, whether in the service of history, fiction or the sciences. He is particularly sensitive to the language of the storyteller, the many ways to draw the reader fully into the narrative, and the essential nature of all storytelling to this, or any, culture. The books he has represented included Dee Brown’s Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Malcolm Lowry’s Under the Volcano, and John Irving’s The World According to Garp. He has represented 17 books by Mary Gordon, 46 by Ruth Rendell, and 19 by William Trevor. His interest in historical narrative is shown by such clients as Barry Lopez, Max Hastings and Alan Brinkley.
Co-Chairman of the agency, Sterling has been representing authors for more than sixty years and continues to accept new clients. His authors over the years have included Jack Kerouac, Ken Kesey, Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Dick Francis, David Wise, Frank Deford, Tony Summers, Jimmy Breslin, Gloria Naylor, Bill Nack, and Howard Fast. He has represented four United States Cabinet members and Judge John Sirica, as well as one of the largest selling college textbooks on American government, Democracy Under Pressure. In the area of children’s books, Sterling represents the Berenstain family, whose Berenstain Bears books have sold over 300 million copies in the United States and Canada alone. According to Publishers Weekly, Sterling’s own memoir, Lord of Publishing, is “one of the great publishing memoirs of the modern era.”
Nadyne Pike, Managing Director
Nadyne joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2009, and oversees the financial, human resource and operational affairs of the company. In her role as Managing Director, Nadyne is responsible for the strategic planning, budgeting and supervision of the daily functions of the agency, as well as the training and guidance of staff and management of all vendor relationships. Before joining SLL, she worked across the entertainment field in television, theater and advertising. She brings knowledge from those industries to her position at Sterling Lord Literistic, where she gets to indulge in her favorite pastime – reading interesting, award-winning books by the exceptional authors this agency represents.
Neeti has been an agent for almost 20 years and represents a wide range of authors, among them #1 New York Times best sellers Lisa Lillien (Hungry Girl) and Jenny Lawson (The Bloggess), Container Store Founder Kip Tindell, biographer Gretchen Holbrook Gerzina, and novelist Tommy Hays. Her books run the gamut from the commercial to the cerebral. She is drawn to memoir, journalism, popular culture, lifestyle, women’s issues, multicultural books and virtually any intelligent writing on intriguing topics. Neeti is on the lookout for the types of books she loves as a reader—page turners that keep her up until 3 AM, thoughtful writing on important issues that interest her, and irreverent books that make her laugh.
Doug has been an agent at Sterling Lord Literistic since 2003. His list is made up primarily of fiction for all ages, from the innovatively literary to the unabashedly commercial. Recent bestselling and award-winning books from Doug’s list include The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick, The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin, Slade House by David Mitchell, The Middlesteins by Jami Attenberg, Harmony by Carolyn Parkhurst, Delicious Foods by James Hannaham, Bobcat by Rebecca Lee, and The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida. On the children’s side, Doug is proud to represent Jane O’Connor of Fancy Nancy fame, the author of the Stick Dog and Stick Cat series Tom Watson, as well as the team behind the bestselling Ladybug Girl series, Jacky Davis and David Soman.
George Nicholson (1937 - 2015)
Before joining Sterling Lord Literistic in 1995, George founded Delacorte Press and Yearling Books, and was Publisher of Books for Children at The Viking Press, as well as of Bantam Doubleday Dell Books. Among his clients are: Tony Abbott, Joan Bauer, Betsy Byars, Cathleen Bell, Lois Duncan, Kevin Emerson, Alexandra Flinn, Patricia Reilly Giff, Jan Greenberg, Michael Harmon, Sandra Jordan, Peter Lerangis, Laura and Tom McNeal, Leonard Marcus, Harry Mazer, Rune Michaels, Philip Nel, Alice Provensen, Deborah Kogan Ray, Susan Goldman Rubin, Sergio Ruzzier, Clete Smith, and Zilpha Keatley Snyder as well as the literary estates of Don Freeman, Hardie Gramatky, Marguerite Henry and Lois Lenski. He taught and lectured widely, and was on the Board of The MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, New Hampshire.
Jim represents formally adventurous and stylistically diverse authors of fiction including Sheila Heti (How Should a Person Be), Alissa Nutting (Tampa), Yelena Akhtiorskaya (Panic in a Suitcase), Affinity Konar (Mischling), Eleanor Henderson (Ten Thousand Saints), Charles Bock (Alice & Oliver), and Teddy Wayne (The Love Song of Jonny Valentine) as well as a variety of journalists and critics whose non-fiction work examines an array of cultural and historical subjects including Jay Caspian Kang, Kent Russell (I Am Sorry to Think I Have Raised a Timid Son), Mark Binelli (Detroit City is the Place to Be), Lauren Sandler, and Gary Greenberg (The Book of Woe). He has been with SLL since 1998.
Celeste has developed a reputation for negotiating six- and seven-figure book deals for high-profile authors with big ideas and strong platforms. Her clients include New York Times bestsellers JJ Virgin, Dave Asprey, Sara Gottfried, MD, Rocco Dispirito, Izabella Wentz, Robb Wolf, Kellyann Petrucci, Pedram Shojai, Dave Kerpen, Susan Albers, Psy.D, Michelle Bridges, Michael Dow, PhD, Yuri Elkaim, and Jackie Warner as well as the creator of the MIND diet Laura M. Morris, ScD, co-author of The China Study Thomas M. Campbell, MD, father of natural medicine and founder of Bastyr University Joseph Pizzorno, ND, founder of DailyWorth.com Amanda Steinberg, first female Four-Star General Ann Dunwoody, and founder of Mindvalley Vishen Lakhiani. Her authors have sold millions of copies around the world. Celeste is always looking to champion big authors, big ideas, and big impact. Celeste graduated from Harvard University in 2002. To learn more about Celeste and her clients, visit celestefine.com.
Robert Guinsler has been with Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc. since 2000. His general curiosity in all things has allowed him the opportunity to represent a wide variety of prize-winning and New York Times bestselling nonfiction authors and projects. From the geopolitical mosaics of journalists Rania Abouzeid and Mikhail Zygar, to the impassioned memoirs of Alexandria Marzano-Lesnevich and legendary gay rights activist Cleve Jones, to the comedic collections of Sarah Colonna, Phoebe Robinson and Egypt's own Bassem Youssef, most every avenue of the nonfiction spectrum can be found on his list. Other authors include Wendy Lawless, Harvard Humanist Chaplain Greg Epstein, Sil Lai Abrams, founder of Truth in Reality, Charles London (also known as Alex London and C. Alexander London), Brian Farrey, John Renehan, and Anna Jean Mayhew, among many others, round out a diverse group of literary, commercial, and YA fiction authors that Robert represents as well. Additionally, he represents the Estate of Jack Kerouac and the Estate of Anne Sexton.
Martha joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2015. She began her career at Richard Curtis Associates before founding Martha Millard Literary Agency in 1980. She has worked with a wide variety of authors of both fiction and non-fiction and has a particular interest in well-written science fiction, and crossover fiction, representing many Hugo and Nebula and Shirley Jackson Award-winning authors, including William Gibson, Michael Swanwick, Allen Steele, and Elizabeth Hand among many others. YA titles she has represented include a National Book Award Finalist and Prinz Award-winner and a series by multi-British SF Award-winner Ian McDonald. Non-fiction on her list include the childcare classic Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child by Marc Weissbluth, M.D., Passport on a Plate by Diane Simone Vezza, and Outside Passage by Julia Scully. Nothing makes her happier than working closely with an author to build a career, except possibly selling an author’s first book. If your idea is truly original and you are passionate about your book, Martha wants to hear from you. She is a graduate of Drew University and is the mother of two daughters. She is a running enthusiast and has run the New York City Marathon and dozens of other races, from 5Ks to half-marathons.
Alison MacKeen joined Sterling Lord in 2015, after holding editorial positions at several publishers, including Basic Books, Princeton University Press, and Yale University Press. She is interested in idea-driven non-fiction books that use original research to re-think fundamental aspects of human experience, past and present; nonfiction that presents the history of ideas, science and innovation in narrative form; and memoirs, essays, and travel writing that introduce readers to under-covered issues, people and places. Her authors are thought leaders in the social sciences and humanities and established experts in the health, business, lifestyle, and design worlds. Areas of special interest include work; learning and education; status and inequality; psychology; the history of science and technology; relationships, including parenting; philosophy; and literature and the arts. Alison was raised in Nova Scotia, and studied literature at McGill University and the University of Oxford.
Szilvia Molnar, Foreign Rights Manager
Szilvia Molnar joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2011 as the Foreign Rights Manager. Previously she was a literary agent at Salomonsson Agency in Stockholm, working with a range of internationally prominent writers, including Sofi Oksanen. She interned for A.M. Heath & Co. and Weidenfeld & Nicolson in London, but it was during her time at ICM Books London that she discovered her abiding interest in foreign rights while assisting the Foreign Rights Director. Szilvia graduated from University College London with First Class Honors. She is fluent in Swedish and Hungarian but wishes her French was sharper.
Mary joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2006 and works with Laurie Liss, representing and co-representing literary fiction, memoir, and narrative nonfiction. Mary has a strong interest in psychology, popular science, and cultural commentary, and is particularly drawn to memoir that is both incisive and insightful. In terms of fiction, she gravitates toward work that explores new forms of storytelling and/or employs a strong or unusual voice. Mary seeks work that is psychologically and emotionally nuanced; whether investigating an author's own life or their characters’ lives, honesty and rigor are always key. Work that is of-the-moment (with an awareness that we are speaking from a specific cultural POV) is especially welcome, as is writing that illuminates through humor or by playing with genre. Mary received her MFA in Fiction from Columbia University. Her other interests include art and design.
John Maas represents serious nonfiction clients. He has a particular interest in the subject areas of health, personal development, science, self-help, business, memoir, food, history, biography, and current events. He focuses on helping high-profile clients transform the key messages of their work into fresh and compelling proposals that will resonate with top editors and general readers alike. John specializes in working with authors who have strong national and international platforms, including popular keynote speakers, organizations with a unique voice and message, groundbreaking researchers and academics, and other established experts and thought leaders. Previously, John was an editor at Wiley, where he edited and worked closely with CEO-level business book authors. Originally from small-town Wisconsin, John holds a BA in creative writing from Stanford University and lives in Brooklyn.
Sarah Passick represents commercial nonfiction in the celebrity, food, blogger, lifestyle, health, diet, fitness and fashion categories. With close ties to Hollywood, Sarah looks for authors with great media potential and also has a strong interest in finding exciting talent among successfully self-published authors. Sarah helps her clients craft strong and detailed book proposals that kick start an exceptional publishing experience. She prides herself on being an advocate for her authors and is thrilled to be part of Celeste’s exciting team. Sarah previously worked at Stonesong for three years after graduating cum laude from Tulane University with a BA in English. Sarah now lives in the best city in the world, New York.
Jenny joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2012 and represents food writers, organic farmers, culinary photographers, memoirists, bloggers, journalists, and chefs. She is always on the lookout for cookbooks that focus as much on design as they do on quality recipe development, practical lifestyle projects, transportive travel and nature writing, and creative nonfiction. She works closely with Alison MacKeen on her client list and with Nadyne Pike on agency operations. Raised on an island in Maine, Jenny graduated with a degree in English literature and film from Colby College and has completed internships with Markson Thoma Literary Agency and Islandport Press.
Danielle Bukowski joined the foreign rights department of Sterling Lord Literistic in 2014 and works closely with Szilvia Molnar to promote SLL’s titles abroad. Danielle graduated from Vassar College with Distinction for her senior English thesis on postmodern literature and spent a semester at University College London. She is looking for upmarket women’s fiction, smart commercial fiction, and literary fiction. She is particularly interested in stories from marginalized voices and narratives that balance plot and voice. Forthcoming titles include Bryan Washington’s short story collection Lot with Riverhead Books and Keziah Frost’s The Reluctant Fortune Teller by Park Row/HarperCollins. When she’s not reading, Danielle can be found running in Central Park.
Brian is curious about all things real and imagined. If there is one common denominator Brian necessarily seeks out, it could be called ingenuity. Satire, genre-bending, and general risk-taking of all kinds rank high on his list of preferred fiction. In the realm of non-fiction interests, Brian is a morally conscious opportunist. From personal essay to social science, technology to the humanities, anything concept-driven is welcome. Otherwise, graphic novels and conceptual books that experiment with form and design are always encouraged. Brian earned a BFA in film from Syracuse University in 2010 and began working at Sterling Lord Literistic in 2013; he works with Jim Rutman and Robert Guinsler.
Nell joined Sterling Lord Literistic in 2016 and works with Philippa Brophy and Martha Millard. She is looking for literary fiction, psychological thrillers, character-driven young adult novels, poignant and funny middle grade books, and books about language and linguistics. Originally from Australia, Nell holds a Bachelor of Laws and a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Melbourne and an MFA in Fiction from The New School in New York.
Cara joined SLL in 2016. She works with agents Doug Stewart and Neeti Madan, and also manages the agency’s website and social media accounts. Her reading tastes include literary fiction and narrative nonfiction—particularly women’s literary fiction, short stories, historical fiction, essays, memoir, and intersectional feminist nonfiction. She is interested in hearing from voices who are underrepresented and whose storytelling is so engrossing that she misses her subway stop. Cara graduated from the University of Maryland in 2016 with honors and two Bachelor’s degrees—one in English literature and another in Romance Languages—before receiving a certificate in publishing from Columbia University. She began working at SLL after interning at the agency and at Grove/Atlantic. She speaks (and sometimes reads in) Italian and Spanish. Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, she now lives in Brooklyn.
Photo Credit: Jeyhoun Allebaugh