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Sep 14, 2020

Agent Spotlight Series: Danya Kukafka

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A warm welcome to literary agent Danya Kukafka! Danya is a graduate of New York University’s Gallatin School of Individualized study, and the author of the novel Girl in Snow. She began her publishing career at Riverhead Books as an acquiring assistant editor, where she worked with authors like Meg Wolitzer, Paula Hawkins, Lauren Groff, Brit Bennett, Emma Straub, Gabriel Tallent, Helen Oyeyemi, Maile Meloy, Sigrid Nunez, and many, many more. Released in 2017, her debut novel Girl in Snow was a national bestseller.

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CM: You are a published author yourself! Tell us, why did you decide to switch sides and become an agent? Any surprising facts about being an agent that as an author you were not aware of?
Danya: I wrote and published Girl in Snow while working full-time in publishing—in some ways, this is the life I know best. When I left my editorial position at Riverhead Books to write, I found I missed so many aspects of publishing: the people, the editorial work, the mechanics of the business. I do my best writing when I’m collaborating, when I’m entrenched in work with writers I love, and when I’m able to have an identity and ego outside of creating art. I haven’t switched from writer to agent—instead, I’ve combined the skills. I bring my clients the empathy and intimate knowledge of the author’s experience, as well as the editorial and developmental expertise. I help my authors shape their books using the skills I’ve acquired in shaping my own. 

CM: Think about the next book whose author you could represent. Give use three emotions you want their book to evoke.
Danya: Longing, thrill, nostalgia.

CM: Addressing the elephant in the room… COVID-19. How has your work as an agent changed during the pandemic?
Danya: Agents have long been encouraged to live in New York— I’ve lived in Seattle for three years, and thanks to COVID, I’ve been able to make more connections with editors and colleagues over Zoom, since everyone is stuck at home. Lemons, lemonade, etc.

CM: Name a book you recently read and can’t stop thinking about.
Danya: Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. This novel is so out there—so innovative and bizarre and brilliant—and I have such admiration for the author’s confidence and intentionality. It completely blew me away.

CM: When you send the manuscript to publishers, do you confirm with your client where to shop it?
Danya: Absolutely.

CM: How hands-on are you in the editing process before you send the manuscript out to publishers?
Danya: I am extremely hands-on—I want every author to send out their strongest possible writing. I’ll often put in many rounds of editorial work to make sure we get there. 

Aevitas Creative Agency's Clients
(This list includes affiliate links)

Algonquin Books - 2019
Doubleday - 2020

How to query Danya:
Query Danya by clicking the “Contact Danya” button found under her profile: