Emma Parry

People category

Emma Parry
Literary Agent

I’m looking for unforgettable storytellers and original thinkers. Strong plots and new ideas. I love writers who extend empathy, resist tyranny, make change and entertain.

I’ve worked with winners of the Shiva Naipaul Prize for Travel Writing, the National Book Critics Circle, the Man Booker, the Pulitzer and the Nobel - and I'm actively looking for more massively talented and ambitious writers to join my list.

I love memoir, reportage, history, science, and narrative - all non-fiction with the power to surprise and gratify.

I love novels with irresistible plots, distinctive voices, fresh perspectives, big characters, historical insights, heart and wit.

After Cambridge, I joined the graduate program of Ogilvy & Mather before being rescued from advertising by the legendary British literary agent Gillon Aitken. I worked with Gillon on Sebastian Faulks, Helen Fielding, Germaine Greer, Ian Hamilton, and V.S. Naipaul while building my own list of writers including Kathryn Flett and Toby Young.

At 24, I came to New York at the invitation of FSG to complete a six-week international editorial internship. Later that year I moved permanently to the States with a lovely letter of recommendation volunteered by V.S. Naipaul.

I joined Carlisle and Company, selling a fast growing list including Sacha Baron Cohen, Bernardine Evaristo, John Guy, Sarah Hall, Alan Hollinghurst, David Kennedy, Marian Keyes, Hari Kunzru, Paul McCartney, Maggie O’Farrell, Gavin Pretor-Pinney, Tom Shone, and Kamila Shamsie.

In 2003, I founded a new agency with Christy Fletcher, Fletcher & Parry, and our associate Donald Lamm. Over five fun and productive years in a little Carriage House off Union Square, we sold up a storm, and I helped launch the careers of new writers including Rebecca Godfrey, Stephen Grey, Jonah Lehrer, Dan Lyons, Alexander Rose, Andrew Smith and Douglas Smith. We also co-produced a first film, “The Rite”, starring Anthony Hopkins. Late 2007, a timely offer of investment afforded the opportunity to sell my half of the agency; with the financial tide going out and two small daughters, I took the lucky break.

I worked from the home my husband and I had built in the Hudson Valley, mostly ghostwriting, before joining Janklow & Nesbit, five years to the day since selling my agency. I still miss writers and agents I let go to enable the sale, but I could not love, like, admire or enjoy my daughters more; the sabbatical was refreshing and the work I did during that interval has hugely contributed to my skills and empathy as an agent.

Since re-entering, I've used all my experience to create lucrative series for authors, and to generate and develop many projects from first seed to established - even bestselling -- success. I'm proud of the many new writers and influencers I’ve been able to help in recent years, and the former clients with whom I’ve reconnected. I’m excited to see the publication of work in the pipeline for 2019, 2020 and beyond.

I work closely with my excellent colleagues in London and long-term associates in editing, collaborative writing and film/tv. I strive to maintain an international and independent perspective, and to continue to innovate in an industry that presents fresh challenges and opportunities every day.

I love to help writers make money, achieve the best possible iteration of their work, get the most rewarding publishing experience in every respect, and reach and captivate the maximum audience out there.


Selected authors

  • Marina Benjamin
  • Rutger Bregman
  • Tara Isabella Burton
  • Glory Edim
  • Hannah Fry
  • Sarah Knott
  • Sally Kohn
  • Peter McGough
  • Jodie Patterson
  • Samantha Silva
  • Andrew Smith
  • Bhu Srinivisan
  • Nell Stevens
  • J. Michael Straczysnski