All finalists will be sent to the full panel of agents/editors.
** Judges list being finalized – please check back soon **
Mary Altman, Senior Editor, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Mary Altman discovered Romance in the 4th grade, when her best friend smuggled a copy of A Knight in Shining Armor to the lunchroom, and she’s been a convert ever since. A giant and unrepentant nerd, Mary spends her free time playing video games, watching “Critical Role,” and reading about fantastical worlds. She started her post-college life studying law before coming to her senses and settling happily in a decade-long editorial career. She has a passion for travel and lives outside of Chicago with her partner and an overflowing to-be-read pile.
Sarah Blumenstock, Associate Editor, Berkley Books
Sarah Blumenstock joined Berkley in 2016. Prior to joining Berkley, she sold foreign and domestic rights for Penguin Young Readers. Sarah acquires commercial women’s fiction and romance—both historical and contemporary. Some recent and upcoming titles include The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany by New York Times bestselling author Lori Nelson Spielman, A Touch of Flame by USA Today bestselling author Jo Goodman, Bringing Down the Duke by Evie Dunmore, and Faker by Sarah Smith.
Mara Delgado-Sánchez, Acquiring Editorial Assistant, St. Martin’s Press
Originally from Puerto Rico, Mara Delgado Sánchez spends her time creating and cruising through imaginary worlds, and enjoying the verdant parts of New York City. She holds a BA in English Literature from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez and an MFA in Creative Writing from Rosemont College. She is currently looking for romance in all categories, women’s fiction, and YA.
Claire Draper, The Bent Agency, Agent
After studying Queer Diversity in Children’s Literature at New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study, Claire continued her pursuit of great books for young readers by interning at Rare Bird Lit and the Children’s Book Council, and eventually joined InkWell Management and wore many hats in her time there. In early 2019, she moved to the Bent Agency as an agent of graphic novels and a mix of fiction and nonfiction for children of all ages. For romance novels, she wants books with diverse characters that have personality and spunk. She loves historical, paranormal, contemporary, nearly any genre. If it’s queer or body positive, all the better.
Jennifer Grimaldi, Literary Agent, Chalberg & Sussman
Jennifer Grimaldi, formerly an editor at St. Martin’s Press/Thomas Dunne and now an agent with Chalberg & Sussman, is building a list of historicals, romance, horror, and YA & adult sci-fi and fantasy. Across all genres, Jennifer loves strong, voice-driven novels, dark and romantic themes, and books that make her think—and learn. She is particularly excited by books that explore gender and sexuality, especially those with diverse, LGBTA+ leads, and own-voice writers. Aspects sure to delight her include: cities and urban-planning, anecdotal histories, that trope where there were supposed to be two rooms at the hotel but they’re all booked up so the leads have to share, spies, thieves, mythological retellings, witches just trying to get by, weird obsessions, and puns.
Kelly Peterson, Literary Agent, Rees Agency
Kelly Peterson is a West Chester University graduate with a B.S.Ed in English and Literature. She worked as a Junior Literary Agent for two years before moving to Rees Literary Agency, continuing to champion her authors and the manuscripts she loves. Kelly seeks manuscripts in various genres within Middle Grade, Young Adult, and Adult age ranges. In Middle Grade, she loves fantasy, sci-fi, and contemporary that touches on tough issues for young readers. Her Young Adult preferences vary from contemporary to high fantasy, sci-fi (not the space kind) to paranormal (all the ghost stories, please!), and historical all the way back to rom-coms. Kelly is proud to continue to represent Adult manuscripts in romance, fantasy, and sci-fi. She is very interested in representing authors with marginalized own voices stories, witty and unique characters, pirates, witches, and dark fantasies.