Agent Confidential: Erzsi Deak

Erzsi and her book Pumpkin Time!
Name: Erzsi Deak

AKA: Chick Hen

Agency: Hen&ink Literary Studio

Genres represented: The children’s bookshelf: picture books, graphic novels, middle-grade and teen fiction and non-fiction. New Adult and some adult fiction and non-fiction.

Authors you represent and titles of books: I represent about 35 authors and illustrators, both new and established talent : Doug Cushman (Pumpkin Time!) Bridget Strevens-Marzo (Tiz & Ott’s Big Draw); Siobhan Curham (True Face); Susan Montanari (My Dog’s a Chicken); Andrea Zuill (Wolf Camp); Kate Banks (Noah Builds an Ark); Ann Jacobus (Romancing the Dark in the City of Light); Joseph Lee (working title, Shadows of the Dark Crystal); Laura Gehl (Peep & Egg series); Whitney Stewart (Big Sky Mind).

Recent Deals: Picture books and YA lately with a middle-grade non-fiction project we are excited about and about to sign, but that we can't quite discuss yet.

Wish List: Great voice no matter what – both in words and pictures. I love when I find something fantastic that I didn't know I was looking for – originality, voice and the unexpected are key.

The next Open Coop Day (limited open submission calls), I would be very happy to see:
  • Richly woven middle-grade stories in the vein of Holes, The Penderwicks, Three Times Lucky, A Snicker of Magic;
  • Smart funny tween girl scripts that whisper that the protagonist might be Georgia Nicholson’s half-cousin twice removed and a character so self-deprecating, honest and funny that the reader cries from laughing – possibly with black-and-white illustrations;
  • New and innovative chapter books;
  • Illustration samples that complement the Hen&ink list: sweet but not saccharine, whimsical, a great line, lots of movement, superb use of colour, and a dash of spirit; possibly cartoony, but still beautiful.
Your favourite books: There is an ever-growing list at, but for starters, a few titles that touched me as a kid and still resonate with me: Charlotte’s Web, Where the Wild Things Are, Blueberries for Sal, From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil Frankweiler,The Story of Ferdinand… And a hodgepodge of books I've read over the last few years: The Kingdom of Silk series, Legend, Olivia, The Book of Three, Plant a Kiss, Duck & Goose, Dear Dylan, My Life Next Door, Frog & Toad, The Wind in the Willows, A Year Down Yonder, Throne of Glass, Ball…I’m a total fan of a blue donkey called Ariol from France.

Agent Style: Everything is individual in the end. That said, we have a “Coop” community and there is a good amount of exchange and sharing of news, tips, etc between Hen&ink authors and illustrators. I am an editorial agent and have been known to work an author through a number of revisions before submitting, so embracing revision is a plus. Once the author and editor have established a working relationship, I step back and am on-call, as needed.

How to submit: We are currently only open to submissions from writers and illustrators met at conferences; by professional recommendation; and during Open Coop Days. Full submission details are available at

Note: SCBWI Winchester 2014 picture book attendees are invited to a Private Open Coop. Please look for the flyer at the conference.

Submission tips: We only accept email submissions and I cannot emphasize the need to study the favourite books list and to pay attention to the guidelines on the Hen&ink submission page, (for example, if it says, no cover letter, please don't send one. We will get in touch via email if we would like to see more of your work and learn more about you, promise!).

Twitter: @ErzsiDeak

Upcoming events: I am on a book tour in the US, dropping in on Portland, Oregon; San Diego and San Francisco, California; and the Texas book festival in Austin and meeting with publishers in the U.S.

Do you have questions for Erzsi? Leave them here in the comments. You have more than 140 characters!

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