We’re delighted that five top-tier literary agents have volunteered their precious time and seasoned eyes to serve as judges for the Tall Poppy Writers Perfect Pitch contest. Authors will always be our passion but nobody has better taste than a great agent!


Claudia Cross, Folio Literary Agency

Advocate, adviser, ally, coach, counselor, and negotiator: an agent, at times, can play one or all of these roles in the literary life of an author. In responding to the changing needs of the writers she represents, Claudia brings to each a high level of individualized attention. She began her career at William Morris, and then joined Sterling Lord Literistic, where she worked for just over a decade before joining Folio and becoming a partner. She has worked with a range of authors in both fiction and nonfiction, from CEOs, chefs and debut writers to New York Times bestsellers. Among the diverse clients she represents are the literary Estate of Mother Teresa; entrepreneur and designer Emily Ley; art historian and Renoir scholar Barbara Ehrlich White; and novelists Rachel Gibson and Christina Lynch.

Liza Fleissig, Liza Royce Agency

Liza Fleissig is a founder of the Liza Royce Agency (LRA), a full-service literary agency. Liza Royce Agency is a cross-platform company providing development, representation, and strategic career management for clients in all media with goals to represent clients in all stages of their careers, from the most established to those developing their craft, as well as debuts. Liza brings decades of negotiating experience thanks to being a partner at a NYC litigation firm prior to launching LRA. From the start, LRA books have won awards and made waves.

Shannon Hassan, Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Shannon Hassan brings a depth of business and editorial experience to her role as agent, having worked in publishing and law for more than 15 years. She represents authors of accessible literary and commercial fiction, young adult fiction, and middle grade fiction. She is drawn to fresh voices, compelling characters, and crisp prose, and enjoys both contemporary and historical settings. She received her JD from Harvard and her BA from George Washington University. She lives in Boulder, Colorado, and serves on the board of The Dairy Arts Center.

Barbara Jones, Stuart Krichevsky Literary Agency

Barbara Jones represents authors behind a range of fiction and nonfiction, from highly literary works to much more commercial fare, with an emphasis across all forms on voices from previously underrepresented communities and on durable talents and stories.

Barbara became a literary agent after several decades as an editor, first in magazines (Grand Street, Harper’s, Vogue, Real Simple) and then in books (as editorial director at Hyperion Books and, most recently as executive editor at Henry Holt). She has also led writing workshops for thirty years, at Yale University, New York University, Queens University of Charlotte, and elsewhere.

Margaret Sutherland Brown, Folio Literary Agency

Previously Margaret was an agent at Emma Sweeney Agency, LLC, and transitioned to represent many of ESA’s clients at Folio in January 2020. Before becoming an agent, she spent the first seven years of her career in editorial, primarily at Thomas Dunne Books, an imprint of St. Martin’s Press, where she worked on a wide range of fiction and non-fiction. As an agent, she uses her insider knowledge of how a publishing house operates to her clients’ advantage, and her editorial background informs how unusually closely and thoroughly she works with clients to develop a project before ever submitting to publishers. She is proud to work with immensely talented authors. Among many other accolades, her clients have won the American Book Award, been finalists for the National Book Award and the PEN/ Hemingway Award, and been awarded Guggenheim Fellowships.

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