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 perspectives and voices.
In nonfiction, Lucy loves working with scholars and journalists drawing on deep original research or reportage to bring exciting ideas and stories to readers. She's interested in histories that revisit and crucially revise what we think we know or unfold lesser-known stories from across the globe; literary nonfiction that leverage personal story and voice to investigate a unique subject and make readers think; 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 readers in non-western settings; upmarket commercial fiction driven by an edgy or speculative concept; and novels with fresh ideas about our society and love. Currently, she'd love to see a heart-pounding, X-files-ish mystery anchored by a female detective lead and anything about Korea's Joseon period.
[As of May 2021, Lucy is closed to queries for children's and YA.]