2020: JGLM’s Year in Review

Nothing could have prepared us for what lay ahead post our 2019 recap…this has been an entirely unfathomable year, but we feel fortunate to have been able to move our operations remotely in March without much upheaval, and continue to work on behalf of our clients while also seeking out new and exciting writers and illustrators.

This year, JGLM expanded to welcome two new agents: Larissa Melo Pienkowski and Jessica Saint Jean. Both have quickly established themselves as incredible spotters of talent, while Jessica helped launch a new gallery section on our website to share the stunning artwork of her new list of illustrators (including Federico Fabiani, who created our gorgeous holiday card, above!).

Our ongoing collaborations with writers and artists, and our agency mission, have buoyed us in these times. We want to take a moment as we close out the year to honor and celebrate the accomplishments of our clients and our agents in 2020.

Domestic and Foreign Deals

Our authors’ work generated nearly 150 deals across foreign, domestic, audio, film, and other subsidiary rights.

We made more than 70 foreign deals in 25 languages, and had two first-time language deals:

Ukranian (Marissa Meyer’s Instant Karma and Kara McDowell’s One Way or Another

Icelandic (John Marsden’s Tomorrow When the World Began and sequels)

Film, TV and Multimedia

We made strides in new media this year, and had multiple exciting projects announced. 

Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies will be adapted into a Netflix feature film starring Joey King (The Act, The Kissing Booth) and directed by McG. Netflix will also be producing a film adaption of Jesse Q Sutanto’s highly-anticipated rom-com Dial A for Auntieswith Fresh Off the Boat creator Nahnatchka Khan directing and producing.

Jennifer and Matt Holm’s Squish animated series will air on HBOMax starting in early 2021.

We did our first videobook deal for Leil Lowndes’s How to Talk to Anyone, and a unique inspiration-oriented audio original deal for Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg with SoundsTrue.

Audio continues to be a booming space, and we are thrilled to have made a number of exciting deals this year for both frontlist and backlist titles, including a major deal in the spec-fic category for Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid Chronicles series.

Awards and Nominations

We’re thrilled that our authors were honored with several awards and nominations this year.

Rachel DeWoskin won the National Jewish Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Book Award for Someday We Will Fly; Garth Nix’s Angel Mage was a Locus Award Finalist for Best Young Adult Novel and won the Aurealis Award for Best Fantasy Novel and The Left-Handed Booksellers of London was one of two Highly Commended titles for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Award and has been longlisted for the Australian Indie Book AwardMargo Lanagan’s Stray Bats was shortlisted for the Aurealis Award for Best Collection; Hood Feminism by Mikki Kendall was longlisted for the Brooklyn Public Library Literary Award and was the runner-up for the Goodreads Choice Award for Nonfiction. Illustrator Tohby Riddle was selected as Australia’s nominee for the prestigious Hans Christian Andersen Award.


Our authors hit the New York Times and IndieBound bestseller lists:

Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism became a New York Times bestseller and spent four weeks on the Hardcover Nonfiction list and an incredible 24 weeks on the IndieBound Nonfiction bestseller listMarissa Meyer’s Instant Karma debuted onto the Young Adult Hardcover list at #3, and debuted at #1 on the Young Adult IndieBound Young Adult bestseller listGarth Nix’s The Left-Handed Booksellers of London also spent ten weeks on the Indie bestseller list and over a month on the Australian bestseller list.

There is so much more to celebrate when it comes to our authors and their accomplishments in 2020, including but certainly not limited to — 

The incredible reception for Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism, including an appearance on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah and being named a TIME and NPR Best Book of the Year

The resurgence of coverage for Colin Woodard‘s perennially relevant American Nations in the lead-up to the 2020 presidential election

Alissa Quart‘s incredible work as director of the Economic Hardship Reporting Project, which provided many grants and opportunities for writers whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic

Sajni Patel‘s contribution to Together Apart, a YA anthology of pandemic stories that provided some lightness in a grim time 

The scores of amazing virtual events that our authors did this year including, Barbara Dee‘s numerous school and library visits; Marissa Meyer and Garth Nix‘s virtual tours and convention appearances for Instant Karma and The Left-Handed Booksellers of London, and Mikki Kendall‘s dozens of virtual speaking engagements

Kara McDowell being interviewed on Good Morning America and promoting One Way or Another after a photo of her son’s exhaustion with virtual learning went viral

Alaya Dawn Johnson‘s adult literary debut Trouble the Saints being named a best book of the year by Kirkus and NPR

Newly announced repackages of the beloved Uglies and Old Kingdom series

A new book by Dr. Henry Gee — chronicling the history of life on earth — that has already sold in almost 10 foreign territories 

Rabbi Danya Ruttenberg‘s viral work on repentance and the sale of her new book on the topic

We’ve been so pleased with the reception of the JGLM website this year, and to have this space to share our authors’ accomplishments. This year, we also joined Instagram! We hope that you’ll follow along as we continue to build out that space.

It is hard to find the words to describe how deeply proud and appreciative we are of all of our authors for their genius, their tenacity, and their resilience through this year. There is much to forward to in 2021 — we’ll be launching some fabulous titles this Winter season, like Jenni Holm‘s next standalone middle grade novel The Lion of Mars (already the recipient of two starred reviews), Alaya Dawn Johnson‘s debut story collection ReconstructionSajni Patel‘s debut YA novel The Knockout, and Jesse Q Sutanto‘s rom-com debut, Dial A for Aunties, among others!

Wishing you warmth, health, and tranquility this holiday seasonSee you here in the new year.

Jill Grinberg, President & Literary Agent
Denise Page, Head of Operations
Katelyn Detweiler, Literary Agent
Sophia Seidner, Head of Rights, Contracts & Legal and Literary Agent
Sam Farkas, Foreign Rights Associate and Literary Agent
Larissa Melo Pienkowski, Literary Agent
Jessica Saint Jean, Literary Agent
Evan Goldfried, Agent-at-Large