If you’re looking to be traditionally published, having a literary agent in your corner can significantly improve your chances. Not only can they pitch your manuscript to the most suitable publishers and negotiate the best possible deal, but they can also work with you editorially, handle subsidiary rights (such as film, TV, and audiobook), make sure you’re paid correctly, and champion you throughout your writing career.

To kickstart your agent search, we’ve put together a list of 30 top literary agents (in no particular order) for historical fiction writers, categorised by country (UK, USA, and Canada). But before we get to the list, here are our top tips for submitting to agents:

1. Check that the agent is open to submissions. Some agents periodically close their submissions and will delete any submissions unread during that time.

2. Do your research. While many agents have detailed manuscript wishlists on their agency website, others might be less specific. Looking at the agent’s client list can be a good way of gauging their interests, preferences, and any gaps in their list that you might just be the author to fill…

3. Follow the submission guidelines. Guidelines will vary from agency to agency. Agents receive a vast number of submissions each year, so follow the guidelines to give yourself the best chance of success. Don’t give an agent a reason to delete your submission without reading it first.

If you’re looking for more tips on how to query agents, make sure you download our exclusive guide on how to write a query letter by literary agent Felicity Trew, below.

How to write a query letter: an exclusive guide from The History Quill by literary agent Felicity Trew

Includes…

Insider tips from a literary agent with specialist knowledge of historical fiction

An introduction to writing a query letter and why it matters

A checklist for writing your query letter

Literary agents based in the UK

1. Giles Milburn

Agency: Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency

Giles Milburn is the managing director of the Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency. He is also a literary agent in his own right and is actively looking for new voices within a variety of historical fiction subgenres, including crime and thriller, book club, and fiction that gives a voice to those who were marginalised in history. His client list includes Helen Scarlett (The Deception of Harriet Fleet), LP Fergusson (A Dangerous Act of Kindness), and Ella Carey (The Lost Girl of Berlin). Find out more about Giles Milburn on the agency website.

2. Karolina Sutton

Agency: Curtis Brown

Karolina Sutton has represented various internationally bestselling and award-winning authors. She is actively seeking new fiction, both historical and contemporary. Her list mainly leans towards the literary end of the spectrum, but she also enjoys crime, thrillers, and book club fiction, amongst other genres. Historical fiction clients include Anthony Doerr (All the Light We Cannot See) and Imogen Hermes Gowar (The Mermaid & Mrs Hancock). Find out more about Karolina Sutton on the agency website.

3. Felicity Trew

Agency: Caroline Sheldon Literary Agency

Felicity Trew became a literary agent in 2015. She was named one of the Bookseller’s Rising Stars of 2016, and in 2021 she was shortlisted for the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Agent of the Year award. Felicity is keen to take on more historical fiction, and her clients include historical saga authors Poppy Cooper (The Post Office Girls) and Sheila Riley (The Mersey Girls), as well as timeslip author Kerry Barrett (The Smuggler’s Daughter). Find out more about Felicity Trew on the agency website.

4. Nelle Andrew

Agency: Rachel Mills Literary

Winner of the Bookseller’s Literary Agent of the Year award in 2021, Nelle Andrew represents various award-winning and internationally bestselling authors. Historical fiction authors on her list include Louise Hare (This Lovely City), Sara Collins (The Confessions of Frannie Langton), and Beth Underdown (The Witchfinder’s Sister). Find out more about Nelle Andrew on the agency website.

5. Judith Murray

Agency: Greene & Heaton

Judith Murray joined Greene & Heaton in 1995. She is passionate about beautifully written and well-researched historical fiction. Many of the authors she represents have been shortlisted for literary prizes, and her client list includes Sarah Waters (Fingersmith), Ian McGuire (The North Water), and Elizabeth Buchan (The Museum of Broken Promises). Find out more about Judith Murray on the agency website.

6. Liza DeBlock

Agency: Mushens Entertainment

Liza DeBlock is an agent at Mushens Entertainment, a leading literary agency founded by Juliet Mushens. The agency represents authors such as Jessie Burton (The Miniaturist), Stacy Halls (The Familiars), and Laura Purcell (The Silent Companions). Liza is on the lookout for historical fiction, particularly that which features fresh voices and perspectives. Find out more about Liza DeBlock on the agency website.

7. Kate Nash

Agency: Kate Nash Literary Agency

Kate Nash’s tastes tend towards the commercial end of the spectrum. Kate was named a Bookseller Rising Star in 2018, and in 2019 she was crowned Agent of the Year by the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Historical fiction authors represented by Kate include Andie Newton (The Girl from Vichy), Eimear Lawlor (Dublin’s Girls), and Anita Davison (Flora’s Secret). Find out more about Kate Nash on the agency website.

8. Isobel Dixon

Agency: Blake Friedmann

Isobel Dixon is MD and Head of Books at Blake Friedmann, and she has worked with a number of award-winning authors. Historical fiction writers on her list include Barbara Erskine (The Dream Weavers), Graeme Macrae Burnet (His Bloody Project), Edward Carey (Little), and Elizabeth Chadwick (The Coming of the Wolf). Find out more about Isobel Dixon on the agency website.

9. Victoria Hobbs

Agency: AM Heath

Representing the likes of Maggie O’Farrell and Conn Iggulden, Victoria Hobbs has worked with Sunday Times bestselling and prize-winning authors, some of whom she has represented for over twenty years. Her list is eclectic, covering a range of genres, and she enjoys hearing from new writers. Find out more about Victoria Hobbs on the agency website.

10. Sam Copeland

Agency: Rogers, Coleridge & White (RCW)

Shortlisted for Literary Agent of the Year at the British Book Awards in 2020 and 2021, Sam Copeland is a director of the RCW agency and represents a diverse list of authors. His historical fiction clients include Abir Mukherjee (A Rising Man) and Andrew Hughes (The Coroner’s Daughter). Find out more about Sam Copeland on the agency website.

11. Antony Topping

Agency: Greene & Heaton

Antony Topping has been with Greene & Heaton since 1995, having previously worked as a fiction buyer. His client list includes historical fiction heavyweights such as Andrew Taylor (The Ashes of London), C. J. Sansom (Tombland), Laura Shepherd-Robinson (Blood & Sugar), and Suzannah Dunn (The Testimony of Alys Twist). Find out more about Antony Topping on the agency website.

12. Caroline Hardman

Agency: Hardman & Swainson

Co-founder of the Hardman & Swainson literary agency, Caroline Hardman has a diverse list and accepts submissions at both the literary and commercial ends of the spectrum. Her client list includes historical fiction authors such as Dinah Jeffries (The Tea Planter’s Wife), Liz Trenow (The Poppy Factory), Louise Fein (People Like Us), and Nikola Scott (The Orchard Girls). Find out more about Caroline Hardman on the agency website.

13. Rebecca Ritchie

Agency: AM Heath

Rebecca Ritchie’s list tends towards the commercial end of the spectrum, including commercial women’s fiction and saga. She is always on the lookout for new voices and has represented a number of debut and bestselling authors. Historical fiction clients include Iona Grey (The Glittering Hour), Kate Riordan (The Stranger), and Jenny Ashcroft (Under the Golden Sun). Find out more about Rebecca Ritchie on the agency website.

14. Hattie Grünewald

Agency: The Blair Partnership

Hattie Grünewald was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2020. In the same year, she was crowned the Romantic Novelists’ Association’s Agent of the Year. Historical novelists on her list include Suzanne Fortin (The Forgotten Life of Arthur Pettinger) and Roxane Dhand (The Pearler’s Wife). Find out more about Hattie Grünewald on the agency website.

15. Kate Burke

Agency: Blake Friedmann

Prior to becoming a literary agent in 2012, Kate Burke worked as editor at Penguin, HarperCollins, and Random House. This editorial background has given her a hands-on approach to working with authors. Kate is looking for historical fiction set from 1800 onwards (particularly WW2 and beyond) that will appeal to the book club market, along with historical women’s fiction. Her clients include Jean Fullerton (A Ration Book Christmas), Fiona Ford (Christmas at Liberty’s), and Kate Thompson (Secrets of the Homefront Girls). Find out more about Kate Burke on the agency website.

How to write a query letter: an exclusive guide from The History Quill by literary agent Felicity Trew

Includes…

Insider tips from a literary agent with specialist knowledge of historical fiction

An introduction to writing a query letter and why it matters

A checklist for writing your query letter

Literary agents based in the US

1. Elaine Spencer

Agency: The Knight Agency 

Elaine Spencer is Vice President of Operations and a literary agent at The Knight Agency. She represents USA Today bestselling historical fiction author Sara Ackerman (Radar Girls) and is interested in fiction within a wide range of genres, including women’s fiction and romance. Find out more about Elaine Spencer on the agency website.

2. Stefanie Lieberman

Agency: Janklow & Nesbit

Stefanie Lieberman is interested in upmarket fiction with commercial appeal. She particularly enjoys novels with a distinct sense of time and place, as well as plot-driven stories that feature a distinctive voice. Clients include New York Times bestselling authors Fiona Davis (The Lions of Fifth Avenue) and Sarah Penner (The Lost Apothecary). Find out more about Stefanie Lieberman on the agency website.

3. Laura Bradford

Agency: Bradford Literary Agency

Laura Bradford founded the Bradford Literary Agency in 2001. She is actively building her client list and takes an editorially hands-on approach with her authors, who range from debuts to award-winners and bestsellers. Historical fiction clients include Ellen Lindseth (The Long Path Home) and Madeline Martin (The Last Bookshop in London). Find out more about Laura Bradford on the agency website.

4. Elisabeth Weed

Agency: The Book Group

Elisabeth Weed has worked with clients whose novels have graced the New York Times and USA Today bestseller lists, but she also loves discovering new voices. She enjoys plot-driven novels that feature a strong sense of place and atmosphere. Historical fiction authors on her list include Joy Jordan-Lake (A Tangled Mercy), Ariel Lawhon (Code Name Hélène), and Greer Macallister (The Arctic Fury). Find out more about Elisabeth Weed on the agency website.

5. Kristin Nelson

Agency: Nelson Literary Agency

Kristin Nelson has represented over forty-five New York Times bestselling titles and a host of USA Today bestsellers. She is on the lookout for historical fiction that features narrative voices and stories that are underrepresented in history. Historical novelists on her list include Gail Carriger (The Parasol Protectorate series), Courtney Milan (The Duchess War), Stacey Lee (The Downstairs Girl), and Sherry Thomas (Lady Sherlock Historical Mysteries). Find out more about Kristin Nelson on the agency website.

6. Ellen Levine

Agency: Trident Media Group

Ellen Levine is the Executive Vice President of TMG and has represented many award-winning and internationally bestselling authors, such as Michael Ondaatje (The English Patient), Stephen P. Kiernan (The Baker’s Secret), and Esi Edugyan (Washington Black). Find out more about Ellen Levine on the agency website.

7. Amanda Jain

Agency: Bookends Literary 

Amanda Jain represents historical fiction in the romance, mystery, and fantasy subgenres – and more besides. Historical fiction clients include Marlowe Benn (Passing Fancies) and Emily Sullivan (A Rogue to Remember). Find out more about Amanda Jain on the agency website.

8. Rayhané Sanders

Agency: Massie & McQuilkin

Rayhané Sanders joined Massie & McQuilkin in 2014. Her list includes bestselling and award-winning historical fiction authors such as Janet Beard (The Atomic City Girls) and Devin Murphy (The Boat Runner). Find out more about Rayhané Sanders on the agency website.

9. Kevan Lyon

Agency: Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Kevan Lyon is a founding partner of Marsal Lyon. She’s been a literary agent for more than ten years, and prior to that she worked in the retail and buying side of publishing for over seventeen years. She represents various internationally bestselling authors of historical women’s fiction, such as Kate Quinn (The Alice Network), Stephanie Dray (The Women of Chateau Lafayette), and Jennifer Robson (The Gown). Find out more Kevan Lyon on the agency website.

10. Mitchell Waters

Agency: Brandt & Hochman

Mitchell Waters has been a literary agent for over twenty-five years and has a particular interest in historical fiction. He represents both literary and commercial fiction and particularly likes historical mysteries and suspense. Historical fiction authors represented by Mitchell include Natalie Jenner (The Jane Austen Society), Allison Montclair (Sparks & Bainbridge mysteries), and Kim Van Alkemade (Bachelor Girl). Find out more about Mitchell Waters on the agency website.

How to write a query letter: an exclusive guide from The History Quill by literary agent Felicity Trew

Includes…

Insider tips from a literary agent with specialist knowledge of historical fiction

An introduction to writing a query letter and why it matters

A checklist for writing your query letter

Literary agents based in Canada

1. Rachel Letofsky

Agency: Cooke McDermid

Rachel Letofsky has been with Cooke McDermid since 2010 and is on the lookout for historical fiction for adults, along with middle-grade and young adult titles in all genres. Clients include Natalie Morrill and Ellen Keith. Find out more about Rachel Letofsky on the agency website.

2. Helen Heller

Agency: The Helen Heller Agency

Prior to establishing the Helen Heller Agency in 1988, Helen Heller worked as an editor and publisher. Authors represented by the Helen Heller Agency include Khaled Hosseini, Bruce Holsinger, and Nadia Hashimi. Find out more about Helen Heller on the agency website.

3. Beverley Slopen

Agency: Beverley Slopen Literary Agency

The Beverley Slopen Literary Agency doesn’t take on many new authors but is still accepting submissions, including from historical fiction writers. Historical fiction authors represented by Beverley Slopen include Donna Morrissey and Roberta Rich. Find out more about Beverley Slopen on the agency website.

4. John Pearce

Agency: Westwood Creative Artists

John Pearce is a literary agent at WCA and previously worked at Doubleday and Random House of Canada. His tastes generally veer towards the literary end of the spectrum, and he is looking to add more historical fiction to his list. Find out more about John Pearce on the agency website.

5. Carly Watters

Agency: PS Literary

Carly Watters is a senior literary agent at PS Literary. She began her publishing career at the Darley Anderson agency in London and has been with PS Literary since 2010. She represents both debuts and bestsellers. Authors she has worked with include Taylor Jenkins Reid (The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo) and Susie Orman Schnall (The Subway Girls). Find out more about Carly Watters on the agency website.

Rachel Smith is The History Quill’s executive editor. She previously applied her love of storytelling to a career in communications before her passion for historical fiction finally became too great to ignore. Now, she is The History Quill’s lead content editor and manages our editing and group coaching operations, as well as our content and resources. She has a degree in English literature and creative writing, and she lives by the sea in Essex, UK.

How to write a query letter: an exclusive guide from The History Quill by literary agent Felicity Trew

Includes…

Insider tips from a literary agent with specialist knowledge of historical fiction

An introduction to writing a query letter and why it matters

A checklist for writing your query letter

How to write a query letter

Enter your details below to receive your guide on how to write a query letter by email. If you want to develop your skills as a historical fiction writer, you can also join our email list for more free resources, regular writing tips, and promotions.

Would you like to join our email list? *

By submitting your details, you agree to the processing and storage of your data in accordance with our privacy policy.

DO YOU WRITE HISTORICAL FICTION?

Join our email list for regular writing tips, resources, and promotions.