MASSIE & McQUILKIN is a full-service literary agency that focuses on bringing fiction and non-fiction of quality to the largest possible audience. We work closely with our clients at every stage of a project’s development, submission, and placement—staying involved in all issues of design, publicity and sales, long after the ink has dried on a contract, to ensure that the author’s needs are being met by his or her publisher.
In 2012, MMQ acquired the venerable literary agency Russell & Volkening, Inc. Founded in 1940 by publishing legends Diarmuid Russell and Henry Volkening, and later acquired by Timothy Seldes before its acquisition by MMQ, Russell & Volkening joined MMQ intact as a corporate entity. With its list have come the works of some of the most noted writers in the history of American publishing, including Eudora Welty, Bernard Malamud, George Plimpton, Barbara Tuchman, and South African Nobel Prize winner Nadine Gordimer. These writers and others joined MMQ’s own growing list of acclaimed fiction and nonfiction writers.
After attending Duke University, MARIA MASSIE (agent) joined Kim Witherspoon in creating Witherspoon Associates, which grew rapidly during the 1990’s, representing many prize-winning and bestselling writers. Overseeing all foreign rights for the agency and managing its business affairs, Maria soon began to build her own client list as well. She now brings to MMQ over two decades’ worth of experience in representing authors and helping to make sure that they can be read around the world. She specializes in literary fiction, memoir, and cultural history.
A graduate of Phillips Academy and Columbia University, ROB McQUILKIN (agent) started out in publishing at Warner Books (now known as Grand Central Publishing), where he acquired the paperback rights to books including Primary Colors, by Anonymous (Joe Klein). He left Warner Books for Anchor Books/Doubleday, where, as Editor, he acquired books by and/or worked closely with writers including Anita Hill (Speaking Truth to Power), Phillip Lopate (Totally, Tenderly, Tragically), and Lois Gould (Mommy Dressing), also acquiring the paperback rights to bestsellers such as Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. Rob cut his teeth as an agent while working with Ike Williams and Jill Kneerim at The Palmer & Dodge Agency (now known as Kneerim & Williams), before leaving to start his own agency. He specializes in fiction, memoir, history and cultural criticism.
JASON ANTHONY — agent (joined 2008) — is a former film executive who joined Massie & McQuilkin after a three-year affiliation with Zachary Shuster Harmsworth. As a film executive, Anthony worked for the Disney, MGM and Sony Pictures studios and ran the New York offices of Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin and Men in Black director Barry Sonnenfeld. In his ten-year career in film, Anthony specialized in developing film and TV properties from books. Before becoming a literary agent in 2004, he worked in London as a film consultant for the TBWA/Chiat-Day advertising agency and originated the popular “Hollywood Reader” column for Publishers Weekly, the industry’s most influential trade magazine. Anthony graduated from Columbia University in 1993 with a B.A. in film and is the co-author of five published books. He specializes in young adult and commercial fiction and most areas of non-fiction, including pop culture, memoir, true crime, and general psychology.
ETHAN BASSOFF — agent (joined 2012) — attended Emerson College and later managed Brookline Booksmith, a prominent Boston bookstore where he also hosted reading events. He then joined InkWell Management, where for six years he worked with award-winning authors including recipients of the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Man Booker Prize, and finalists for the Story Prize. At MMQ he continues to represent both emerging and established writers of literary and crime fiction and narrative nonfiction including history, science, humor, and sports writing. His clients include winners of the Whiting Award and PEN/USA Book Award for Creative Nonfiction as well as many other honors. He keeps store browsers in mind when signing new authors and brings a strong editorial approach to all proposals and manuscripts, understanding that great ideas must also tell compelling stories.
LANEY KATZ BECKER — agent (joined 2013) —was an agent at Markson Thoma Literary Agency and Folio before joining MMQ. Prior to becoming an agent, Laney was an advertising copywriter and freelance journalist, as well as an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. Laney’s debut authors have made the New York Times, national and International bestsellers’ lists. They have also been selected by the B & N Discover Great New Writers program and Target Book Club. A graduate of Northwestern University, and a native Ohioan, Laney is married and the mother of two grown children. She enjoys reading, writing, playing tennis, (watching) baseball, sewing and snuggling with her pooch. Laney gravitates toward “book club fiction,” (i.e. novels with substance that you’re eager to talk about); novels with a great voice; character-driven stories; and smart, psychological thrillers and novels of suspense. She is open to practical nonfiction and memoir, but only if the author has a strong platform. She’s always on the prowl for narrative nonfiction (especially from journalists or experts). She does NOT represent romance, cozy mysteries, sci-fi, fantasy, paranormal or dystopian fiction, nor does she handle young adult, children’s, middle grade or poetry.
RAYHANÉ SANDERS — agent (joined 2014) — attended NYU and began her publishing career at Newsweek Magazine. She then moved to book publishing, working first for Penguin’s Dutton and Gotham Books and then for William Morris Endeavor, where she worked with New York Times bestselling authors and recipients of such honors as the PEN/Hemingway Award, PEN/New England Award, Guggenheim and Wallace Stegner Fellowships, and National Endowment for the Arts grants, among others. Rayhané began to represent authors at Wayne Kabak’s WSK Management, where she worked with a slew of internationally bestselling authors and broadcast journalists, and added a New York Times bestseller and winners of, among others, the Hopwood Award, Oregon Book Award, and Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association Award to her list. She represents and is on the lookout for literary and historical fiction, upmarket book-club fiction and comic novels, select YA (no speculative elements, please), propulsive narrative nonfiction, linked essay collections, and select memoir. She likes projects that are voice-centered and site-specific, whether that be a place, profession, or subculture. Though quality of writing is the most important factor, she is particularly interested in fresh voices telling fresh stories we haven’t heard before (including for YA audiences), and is fond of immigrant stories and stories concerned with race, sexuality, specific cultural settings, cross-cultural themes, and notions of identity.
STÉPHANIE ABOU — agent (joined 2015) — hails from France, where she worked for fashion magazines while finishing her degree in comparative literature from the Sorbonne, thinking she would pursue a career in journalism. Upon arriving in NYC in the late 1990’s she landed an internship at Farrar, Straus and Giroux, which convinced her to make a career out of her passion for literature. Starting at The Joy Harris Literary Agency, and most recently at Foundry Literary + Media, she has developed a dual career as a foreign rights director and a domestic agent. Multi-lingual and multi-cultured, she particularly enjoys works that celebrate the resilience of the human spirit while also depicting the experience of “the other.” She specializes in character-driven fiction, memoirs, crime fiction, and narrative nonfiction. She enjoys a close editorial rapport with her authors, and believes that strong writing must be put in the service of great storytelling to birth a successful book.
RENÉE ZUCKERBROT — agent (joined 2016) — became an agent after working as an editor at Doubleday. She is a member of the AAR and Authors Guild. She serves on PEN‘s Membership Committee, and is a Board member of the Community of Literary Magazines and Presses (CLMP) and Slice Magazine. You can read an interview with Renée and her colleagues at Poets & Writers and see her top ten list of short stories at Storyville. Authors represented by Renée have won or been nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, the PEN/Robert W. Bingham Prize for Debut Fiction, the PEN Jacqueline Bograd Weld Prize for Biography, the National Magazine Award, the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, the NYPL Young Lions Fiction Award, B&N’s Discover Great New Writers Award, the Story Prize, the PEN/O. Henry Prize, the Shirley Jackson Award, the Locus, the Hugo, the Nebula, the Pushcart, and others.
JULIE STEVENSON — agent (joined 2016) — was an agent at Sobel Weber Associates and Waxman Leavell Literary before joining Massie & McQuilkin. She received her bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Washington University in St. Louis and an M.F.A in Creative Writing from Sarah Lawrence College in New York. She also worked in the editorial departments of Tin House and Publishers Weekly. She is drawn to fiction with unforgettable characters, an authorial command of voice, and a strong sense of narrative tension. She loves outsiders, weirdos, and innovators. She looks for work that explores the depths of human experience and the many facets of ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, social class, and regional backgrounds. Julie loves editing and contemplating craft and storytelling with clients. She takes pride in connecting writers with editors and ultimately with readers. She’s agented books that have won the Pulitzer Prize, the MWA Edgar Award, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the Carnegie Medal for Excellence, and the Tim McGinnis Award for Humor. She represents literary and upmarket fiction, suspense and thrillers, memoir, narrative nonfiction, and YA.
ELIAS ALTMAN — agent (joined 2018) — was raised in Vermont, attended Concord Academy, interned at the Huffington Post in 2006, and graduated from the University of Vermont magna cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in art history and English in 2007. Having co-founded the still-active student newspaper, The Water Tower, during his senior year, Altman moved to New York City to work for one of his heroes, Lewis Lapham. Altman served as a senior editor at Lapham’s Quarterly for seven years, working on the magazine’s first thirty issues and editing anthologized essays by writers like Anne Fadiman, Pico Iyer, Simon Winchester, and Michael Wood. In 2015 he became an agent at Zachary Shuster Harmsworth (now Aevitas Creative Management) and three years later he joined Massie & McQuilkin. Altman has written criticism and personal essays for, among other publications, the Columbia Journalism Review, the Nation, the Georgia Review, and Vogue. As an agent Altman specializes in sharp, moving narratives featuring psychological insight, timeless themes, and strong characters, whether in reported non-fiction, popular history, memoir, or literary fiction.
NEIL OLSON—agent (joined 2019)–has been in the publishing business for more than thirty years, primarily at the agency eventually known as Donadio & Olson, where he rose from assistant to partner. Authors with whom he has worked include New York Times bestsellers, as well as winners of the the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Edgar Allan Poe Award, the William Dean Howells Medal, and many others. He is primarily interested in fiction, history, biography, travel and environmental issues.
JADE WONG-BAXTER – junior agent and foreign rights associate – got her start in publishing at Writers House, W. W. Norton, and Folio Literary Management. A graduate of Vassar College, she joined MMQ in 2017. She’s looking for adult literary/upmarket fiction and narrative nonfiction, with an emphasis on narratives by and about people of color, as well as the perspectives of marginalized identities.
MAX MOORHEAD (agency assistant and contracts manager) previously worked in the publicity department at Chelsea Green Publishing in Vermont, and as a publishing and development fellow at The New Republic. He is a recent graduate of The New School, where he studied Literature with a concentration on Non-Fiction Writing.