Meet the Agent: Anjali Singh of Ayesha Pande Literary

Anjali Singh grew up splitting time between New Delhi, India (her father’s hometown), and Alexandria, VA (her mother’s), while spending summers on the Rhode Island coast with her grandmother. A graduate of Brown University, Singh went on to study Hindu, Urdu, and French in Wisconsin and Paris, and took time to travel around India before eventually settling in New York City. She did editorial stints at various publishing houses—including Vintage Books, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, and Simon & Schuster—then turned her focus to agenting, joining Ayesha Pande Literary in 2015.

Singh works in Harlem and lives on the Upper West Side with her husband and two daughters.

Seeking

“Graphic novels (YA and adult)—particularly stories we haven’t seen before, memoir, literary fiction.”

Dream Project

“Any project that opens up a new world to readers. I’d love to find another truly great graphic novel or young adult book that is at once very personal but opens up an important piece of history. I’d also love to read and represent more books that contribute to our understanding of the minority/immigrant experience in America, or a book like Patti Smith’s, at once very personal and also beautiful, while illuminating a certain time and place.”

Writing Tips

“Build a community.”
“Practice your craft.”
“Read widely, know who you’re writing for.”

 

Pitch Tips

“Be able to describe your book succinctly in one or two lines.”
“Have a sense of who your audience might be and which authors have inspired you.”
“Know what it is you want to say, what your books is contributing to the world and why it’s important.”

Query Pet Peeves

“Speaking about yourself in third person.”
“Using more than 350 words to describe your book.”
“Not being able to compare your book to any others (it’s unlike anything else ever written).”

Mentor

“My colleague, Ayesha Pande. She was an editor long before I was, and then modeled for me the kind of agent I want to be in the world. [Her best advice:] Represent projects you find meaningful, and always treat others—authors and colleagues—how you would want to be treated.”

Why She Agents

“I started out in publishing because I loved reading and writing. I’ve stayed because it’s a wonderful community to belong to, and being an editor—and now an agent—has allowed me to help people whose stories I believe in become published writers.”

Clients

Sherine Hamdy and Myra El-Mir, an untitled graphic novel about growing up Muslim in America (forthcoming from Dial Books for Young Readers)

Bridgett M. Davis, author of What Does Happiness Play For? (forthcoming from Little, Brown)

Arif Anwar, author of The Storm (co-agented with Ayesha Pande; forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada and Atria in the U.S.)

Fun Facts

“I love biking around NYC. Citibike has changed my life!”
“My favorite vacation would involve a good long hike along a seaside cliff or forested mountain trail followed by an afternoon in a hammock with a good book.”

Favorite

Drink: “Manhattan”
Blog: “The Millions (themillions.com)”
Living author: “Patti Smith. I just heard her interviewed and was reminded again of what an amazing artist and human being she is.”
Dead poet: “Michael S. Harper”
Poem: “‘A Blessing’ by James Wright”
Mantra: “Don’t compare your insides to anyone else’s outsides.”
Place: “South County, Rhode Island”

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