Lucy Cleland

Lucy Cleland is a literary agent at Kneerim & Williams, representing idea-driven and narrative nonfiction of all stripes (history, social science, psychology, philosophy, reportage, etc.) as well as upmarket fiction, historical fiction, and select children’s/YA projects. A southern transplant to Boston from Atlanta, Lucy joined the agency in 2013 after graduating magna cum laude from Wellesley College with honors in English and studio art. While building her own list, she served for six years as the Dramatic Rights Manager, coordinating relationships with co-agents and negotiating deals with major studios and streamers, and as Jill Kneerim’s editorial associate, supporting and shaping the work of some of the agency’s prize-winning and bestselling authors.

Lucy works with a range of writers, from scholars to debut novelists, and has sold books to trade and academic publishing houses including Farrar, Straus & Giroux, W.W. Norton, Random House, Chronicle, Grand Central Publishing, HarperCollins, Sourcebooks, Melville House, and University of North Carolina Press. Her taste is eclectic—little “c” catholic. Whatever the category, she is looking for authors with sharp opinions who embrace bold concepts and write lucid, textured prose. She’s drawn to unconventional and untold stories, the lives of creatives and rebels, and questions about identity and inheritance. She is actively seeking diverse stories and #ownvoices material.

In nonfiction, Lucy loves narrative-driven projects from scholars and journalists undergirded by deep research that builds to exciting take-aways for readers; literary narrative nonfiction that leverages personal story and voice to investigate a unique subject and make readers think; histories that revisit and crucially revise what we think we know or unfold lesser-known histories from across the globe; purposefully modern takes on biographical nonfiction; projects built around a single book, crop, artwork, or object; and cultural criticism and idea-driven books that carve out new territory in contemporary conversations, particularly in feminism, law, philosophy, technology, and education.

In fiction, Lucy is most interested in sweeping historical fiction about women's lives; historical fiction that immerses us in spaces fully outside of traditional western settings; upmarket commercial fiction driven by an edgy, political, or speculative concept; and emotion-packed commercial fiction for post-2020 readers with fresh ideas about our society and love. Right now, she'd particularly love to see a private detective series driven by a Black female lead and set Atlanta or another major southern city; absolutely anything about Korea's Joseon period (from a 'Wolf Hall'-style take on court intrigue, to something with a speculative twist); or fiercely feminist or queer twist on a classic romcom trope that questions our social norms. [As of May 2021, she is closed to queries for children's and YA.]

Lucy Cleland