Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency

Client Testimonials

“I couldn’t be more proud to have Jennifer Lyons as my agent in her impeccable Jennifer Lyons Agency. I highly recommend the team. The astonishing breadth and diversity of clients has been true since the agency’s existence, for a standard and example today’s arts and culture entities must follow. All writers can benefit from its traditional values and professionalism, where the writer’s life and soul is respected as the source of the work, and both are approached as more than a commodity.”

Kalisha Buckhanon
Author of Speaking of Summer

“I’ve had a number of agents over the years, but none were even half as good as Jennifer Lyons—it’s been a night and day difference.  It was the luckiest day of my life to find her, and no sooner had I done so than she found a publisher for my most recent book which my former agent didn’t like and wouldn’t take it on!  Jennifer knew what editor would like it, she sent it to that publisher (a very good one), the book was accepted right away, the advance I got was enormous, and all, literally, within a few days. I’ve had responses from many readers who like the book….Jennifer was right, my former agent was wrong. She’s also a wonderful person, very kind, very capable, very understanding. She answers emails right away!  She reads the manuscripts before she sends them and, if necessary, she offers good suggestions. And she cares about her clients. I’ve never been happier, and I recommend her in the highest possible terms. Whoever has her as an agent is very fortunate indeed.”

Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Bestselling author of The Hidden Life of Dogs

“What aspiring authors need most in a literary agent is someone who believes in their work utterly and who will fight to see that it gets published. I’m grateful and blessed to have that in Jennifer Lyons, whose quiet confidence in my fiction has always bolstered my own confidence whenever it goes wobbly. For more than two years she shopped The Beachhead around, ever positive and absolutely determined to find it the right publisher. And she not only found it the perfect home, she secured for us a two-book deal—selling Ocean of Storms, a novel I coauthored, to boot! Jennifer is the total package: incredibly professional, briskly intelligent, kind, warm, steadfast. Fellow authors, your hunt is at an end. You’ve found the best of the best.” 

Christopher Mari 
Author of The Beachhead

“Jennifer Lyons has been an outstanding literary agent first for me, Lori Marie Carlson, and now for my husband, the Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist, Oscar Hijuelos. When my husband decided to seek new representation, after having been a client of a well-known agent for nearly 20 years, he chose Jennifer based on my praise for her character as well as her professionalism. She is truly dedicated and works very hard to get the best results for her authors. She possesses a keen intellect. And while she is a kind and gentle individual, she is fierce in her protection of her authors. In addition, she is an excellent businesswoman. She can fight—in a gentle but persistent manner—when strong action is necessary. She is effective, truly.”

Lori Marie Carlson
Author of Cool Salsa (Henry Holt Books for Young Readers, 1994) and Voices in First Person (Atheneum, 2008)

Oscar Hijuelos
Author of The Mambo Kings Play Songs of Love (Hyperion anniversary edition, 2010), for which he won the Pulitzer Prize, Dark Dude (Atheneum, 2008), and Thoughts Without Cigarettes: A Memoir (Gotham, 2011)

“I am the luckiest writer in the world because I have Jennifer Lyons on my side. Jennifer is a savvy negotiator and a top-notch book broker. Plus, she throws in some extras: editor, manager, friend. The editors I’ve worked with consistently praise her. If you are an author considering working with Jennifer, you can stop your search now. If you are an editor, surely you already know about Jennifer’s sterling reputation and if you don’t, you are in for a treat.”

Leora Tanenbaum
Author of You Are Not a Slut (Harper Perennial, forthcoming), Slut! (Seven Stories, 1999 & HarperCollins, 2000), Catfight (Seven Stories, 2002 & HarperCollins, 2003), Taking Back God (Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 2008), and Bad Shoes and the Women Who Love Them (Seven Stories, 2010)

“I have worked with other literary agents and can honestly say that Jennifer Lyons stands head and shoulders above them. Her professional experience, business acumen and genuine feel for literature combine to make her an outstanding agent. She has the pulse of publishers and readers across the world, and the ability to adapt the talents of the writer to the demands of the market while enhancing – and never compromising – artistic integrity. She manages this all with a warm and engaging manner, contagious enthusiasm and a keen awareness of the interests of all concerned, to our enduring satisfaction. Success is never guaranteed in this business, but Jennifer Lyons can significantly weigh the odds in favor of the writer to the benefit of the industry and the public at large. My search for the best possible agent is over – in Jennifer Lyons I have found a true partner and friend.” 

Jessica Jiji
Author of Diamonds Take Forever (HarperCollins, 2005) and Sweet Dates in Basra (HarperCollins, 2010)

“Jennifer Lyons is an extraordinary literary agent. She’s both an idealist and a pragmatist, idealistic about the art of writing and pragmatic about the business of writing. That’s precisely the combination a writer wants in a literary agent. Jennifer believes that books of the highest quality can still find a place in an ever more commercialized environment. And through her eloquent advocacy ,both of contemporary talents and estates of classics such as Isaac Babel, she has done much to enrich American literary culture. Any writer who is lucky enough to be represented by Jennifer Lyons will find a vocal advocate, a steady advisor and a true friend. I certainly have. There’s nobody better.” 

Jed Perl
Art critic, The New Republic, and author of New Art City (Alfred A. Knopf, 2005) and a forthcoming biography on Alexander Calder (Knopf)

“Jennifer Lyons has been my agent for more than a decade, for all of my non-fiction books and for the television and movie projects stemming from those works. As far as I am concerned, she’ll go on being my literary agent until I stop writing books. She has worked hard and in a flexible manner to place my books profitably with high- quality publishers. We put the first book up for auction, which was successful. She then found me a stable situation with an excellent editor, Jack Macrae of Henry Holt & Co. for the next two. As Jennifer and I shared the ups and down over the years we became good friends. I consider myself lucky to have her on my side.”

John N. Maclean
Author of The Thirty-Mile Fire (Henry Holt, 2007) and the forthcoming The Esperanza Fire (Counterpoint)

“Business is business and Jennifer Lyons knows that world as well as anyone I have ever met. But she also knows and cares about literature. It’s a rare and splendid combination.” 

Melvin Bukiet
Professor of Creative Writing, Sarah Lawrence College, and author of Strange Fire (W. W. Norton, 2001) and the forthcoming Undertown (Abrams)

“Jennifer Lyons is not just a highly competent book agent but an exceptional human being as well, warm, professional, transparent with extensive contacts in the publishing universe. It is a pleasure and honor to work with her.” 

Fawaz A. Gerges
Commentator on CNN, ABC World News Tonight, Nightline, and Good Morning America, and author of Journey of the Jihadist (Harcourt, 2006) and Obama in the Middle East (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012)

“Jennifer Lyons is extraordinary. A tireless advocate on behalf of literature, she possesses a keen insight into both the publishing world and the writers she represents. And while many agents understand their jobs as taking a client’s particular project to publication, Ms. Lyons recognizes her writers must find sure footing with their careers. How do you understand yourself as a writer; where do you see your writing life five years from now; ten? Her experiences make it possible for her to navigate not only film and foreign rights, but also the subtle nuances of an opening sentence. But most importantly, Jennifer Lyons intimately understands true literature can not only find a publishing home, but an expansive audience. Simply put, there are none like her—not in breath of knowledge, passion of literary advocacy, comprehension of the publishing world. To work with her; to see her work, humbles the thinking writer since it is rare to witness someone who appreciates what many understand as thankless. More empathic this time, but heartfelt, I must repeat myself: Jennifer Lyons is extraordinary.” 

April Reynolds
Author of Knee Deep In Wonder (Henry Holt, 2003), winner of PEN Beyond Margins Award

“Jeff Ourvan is a black belt of an agent. Working with Jeff, I’m constantly impressed by his passion for quality writing and lasting literature. As an editorial agent, he takes time to ensure my projects are submission quality. He’s an excellent listener and provides insights into my work that I would never have seen on my own. When he takes on a project, he believes in it and champions it tirelessly. He knows how to navigate the publishing maze to get my work into the right editor’s hands. With Jeff as my agent, I know my work and career will continue to grow, and I’m excited for what the future holds.”

Christina Farley
Author of Gilded (Skyscape, 2014)

“I am grateful beyond measure to the Jennifer Lyons Literary Agency, and in particular to Jeff Ourvan, who sought out a suitable publisher for my book. For almost two years I tried in vain, unsolicited, to find a publisher for my manuscript. By a fortunate chance I contacted Jennifer, who not only agreed to represent me after having read the manuscript, but put me under Jeff’s wing.  He has helped me in so many ways to improve my manuscript and present it in the best light possible to a number of publishers, one of which was the prestigious Oxford University Press, who accepted it for publication. Most amazing (to me) was that the submission and acceptance was accomplished in only one month’s time. I could not be more pleased with their representation.”

Bill Firshein
Professor Emeritus, Wesleyan University, and author of the forthcoming The Infectious Microbe (Oxford University Press, 2013)