InkWell is one of the world’s leading literary agencies, proudly representing major literary prize winners as well as many of the world’s bestselling and best-loved authors. We enjoy a considerable international reputation as a significant and innovative player in the industry.
In addition to its full-time agents and their assistants, the InkWell team includes a tireless foreign rights department and a meticulous contracts manager. We also join forces with leading literary agencies in every foreign market and have agents based in Australia, Boston, and Dallas. We continue to be excited by—and on the lookout for—original ideas, riveting stories and great writing.
Michael V. Carlisle began his career as a secretary in the literary department at William Morris Agency. Eighteen years later he left as a vice-president to start Carlisle & Company. Born in Paris, of Russian heritage, he graduated with honors from Yale College and holds a J.D. from Columbia Law School. The son of two writers, he brings a background of international law to his career. His best-selling authors have won the Nobel Prize for Literature, Pulitzer Prizes, The Man Booker Prize, the National Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award (fiction and non-fiction), the British Book Award, LA Times Book Awards, the PEN Award for first non-fiction, the NAACP Image Award for Literary Fiction, and the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award; one even has an asteroid named for her. A former director of the AAR, a not-for-profit organization of independent literary and dramatic agents, and a member of PEN, and the Council on Foreign Relations, Michael heads the non-fiction program at the Squaw Valley Community of Writers and serves on its Board of Directors. He also serves on the US Advisory Board of The London Book Fair.
Photo Credit: Miriam Berkley
Richard Pine is a co-founder of Inkwell Management. He works with leaders and writers who inspire, extend horizons, coin new terms, invent new worlds, and reach millions of people. Many of his clients do all of these things at once, including Adam Grant, Susan Cain, Tim Urban, Sal Khan, Simon Sinek, Angela Duckworth, Arianna Huffington, Martin Seligman, Amy Cuddy, and Reshma Saujani.
He represents authors, creators, and memoirists of particularly high originality, such as Bryan Cranston, Susan Orlean, Andre Agassi, Erin Morgenstern, Katherine Dunn, Suleika Jaouad, and Dean Koontz.
His commitment to books which evolve our popular understanding of health and wellness has led him to work with bestselling and groundbreaking practitioners such as Mark Hyman, Dr. Michael Greger, Andrew Weil, and Bad Manners.
He is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania. In 2014, Richard was inducted into the Books for a Better Life Hall of Fame.
His interest is with the long-term success of his clients. He therefore endeavors always to help them create relationships with the very best partners in publishing and beyond. As a result, he has helped his clients sell millions of books, inspire and entertain millions of readers, and
establish careers that last lifetimes.
Kimberly Witherspoon, at age 26, founded her own literary agency, which quickly became one of the most prestigious and successful agencies in Manhattan, with clients who are frequently published around the world. Over the past 15 years, she has represented critically acclaimed and bestselling authors of both fiction and nonfiction, including: José Andrés, Kate Atkinson, Anthony Bourdain, David Chang, Cindy Crawford, Janine di Giovanni, Lena Dunham, Amity Gaige, Gabrielle Hamilton, Martin Hagglund, Eloisa James, Neil Jordan, Sophie Kinsella, Dean Koontz, Yotam Ottolenghi, Peter Meehan, Julie Orringer, Ivy Pochoda, Jason Rezaian, Arundhati Roy, Kathryn Schulz, Lionel Shriver, Lalita Tademy, Christina Tosi, and David Vann. She graduated from Brown University in 1984 with a BA in International Relations. She is a founding board member of The Bronx Academy of Letters, a member of the Authors Guild and the editor of two anthologies, including: DON’T TRY THIS AT HOME: Culinary Catastrophes From the World’s Greatest Chefs.
Stephen Barbara was born and raised in New Haven, Connecticut, and graduated from the University of Chicago with a B.A. in English language and literature, winning awards for writing and student leadership while at the college. He began his publishing career in 2005 as an editorial assistant at HarperCollins, and then worked for three years as the Contracts Director of the Donald Maass Agency. Following six years as a literary agent at Foundry Media, he joined InkWell Management at the start of 2015. Stephen works with writers, storytellers, thinkers, and entertainers of talent and ambition. A sampling of his clients includes New York Times and international bestseller Lauren Oliver, USA Today bestseller and British Fantasy Award winner Paul Tremblay, Newbery Medal winner and New York Times bestseller Laura Amy Schlitz, National Book Award nominee Lisa Graff, Printz Honor awardee Susann Cokal, bestselling fantasy graphic novelist Ethan Aldridge, and children’s author Minh Lê , whose picture book Drawn Together appeared on more than 20 “Best Of” Lists at the end of 2018; he also represents nonfiction authors Meghan Cox Gurdon, Eleanor Herman, and Tom Venuto. In his capacity as agent for media and content company Glasstown Entertainment, Stephen has worked with actress Krysten Ritter, activist Dylan Farrow, novelist Alma Katsu, and bestselling fantasy author Sara Holland, among others. Film/TV is a stated area of interest for Stephen. In the spring of 2019, Amazon Studios announced their first-ever YA series, Panic, based on Lauren Oliver’s novel; two other novels based on books represented by Stephen have been adapted into films, and many other projects based on books of his are in active development. While selective in taking on new clients, Stephen is always drawn to compelling stories that marry quality writing to bold, imaginative concepts.
Lyndsey Blessing started her career in publishing in 1995 as an intern in the subsidiary rights department of Grove/Atlantic. She has since worked at the literary scouting agency Maria B. Campbell Associates, rising to Senior Scout and Deputy Director, a position she held for four years. There she worked closely with publishers from around the world, recommending American books for translation. She also lived in Europe for a number of years, working freelance in publishing in Paris and Berlin and teaching English for three years at Berlitz in Berlin. Lyndsey is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in English and American Studies. She joined InkWell Management in 2009 as Co-Director of Foreign Rights.
William is agent and editor at InkWell Management. He represents writers from a range of disciplines and backgrounds.
Catherine Drayton graduated from the University of Sydney with a BA in English Literature and a Bachelor of Laws. After graduating from the University of NSW with a Master of Laws she worked as a litigation lawyer specializing in copyright and libel law at a major international law firm. But novels, not legal precedents, were always top of her reading pile so in 1998, after a brief stint as a literary scout, she joined Arthur Pine Associates which subsequently became InkWell. She represents a wide range of fiction from around the world for both adults and children as well as some non-fiction on subjects that intrigue her. Her bestselling and award-winning clients include Markus Zusak, Beth Hoffman, John Flanagan, Becca Fitzpatrick, Gavriel Savit, Cath Crowley and Karen Foxlee. Many of her clients are published in multiple territories and sold for film. She particularly loves working with debut authors and is looking for writing that is memorable and enduring. Catherine is InkWell’s Sydney affiliate and when she isn’t reading, she can be found swimming, surfing, hiking and cooking for family and friends.
Naomi Eisenbeiss graduated with a dual degree in Political Science from Sciences Po in Nancy, France and Freie University in Berlin, Germany. Prior to InkWell, she spent three years as Manager of the Shanghai International Literary Festival in China. She speaks English, Japanese, German and conversational French and Mandarin. Her interests include literary fiction, narrative nonfiction, and memoir.
David Forrer began his career in publishing in 1997 after receiving a Masters in Creative Writing (fiction) from Boston University. He has been an agent with InkWell Management since it was created in 2004. His areas of interest and representation range from literary, commercial, historical and crime fiction to suspense/thriller, humorous non-fiction and popular history.
Claire Friedman joined InkWell in 2016. Originally from Salt Lake City, Claire spent three years working for her local indie bookstore, The King’s English, before moving to New York to attend Columbia University. Claire graduated with degrees in English and History, and continues to have stress dreams about the core curriculum. Prior to joining InkWell, Claire interned at Don Congdon Associates. She enjoys reading fiction with a commercial hook, narrative nonfiction, and young adult and children’s books.
Laura Phy Hill began her career in the book industry as a bookseller at the legendary Dutton’s Books in North Hollywood, CA. She owned Reading Rock Books, near her hometown in Tennessee, for 10 years. Laura has a BA in Literature from Western Kentucky University and has joined us as a Royalty and Accounting Assistant. She most often reads literary fiction and children’s books.
Alexis Hurley started her career in 1998 and has been at InkWell since its inception in 2004. Alexis works in the dual capacity of Co-Director of Foreign Rights and agent of domestic works in the areas of literary and commercial fiction, memoir, narrative non-fiction and more. She is a native of the Berkshires and a graduate of Dickinson College where she received her BA in English and Art History and a minor in Italian.
Nathaniel Jacks joined InkWell Management after graduating from Columbia University. His clients include New Yorker contributor Nicola Twilley, Guggenheim Fellow Donald Ray Pollock, bestselling author Lynn Vincent, New York Times journalist Jim Tankersley, sociologist Lisa Wade, neuroscientist Stephen Fleming, and psychologist Nathan DeWall. He welcomes the opportunity to represent ambitious new book projects that enlighten, surprise, and excite readers. Additionally, he oversees contracts management at InkWell.
A Columbus native and forever Buckeye, Hannah Lehmkuhl graduated in 2020 from The Ohio State University with an English major and a Business minor. She joined InkWell in September as a member of the foreign rights team. Prior to InkWell, Hannah interned with Writers House, Folio, and Liza Dawson Associates. Hannah is most drawn to upmarket fiction, but she’ll read anything she can get her hands on.
During a transatlantic career spanning more than three decades, George Lucas has variously packed books in the warehouse, marketed travel guides and dictionaries, sold subsidiary rights, and acquired and edited thrillers at Hodder & Stoughton, Ballantine and Pocket Books/Atria. Turning to agenting in 2003, he now represents a wide range of acclaimed international historians, classicists, Arabists, scientists, journalists and suspense writers, as well as the Literary Estate of P G Wodehouse.
Michael Mungiello is from New Jersey and graduated from Georgetown University. His interests include intellectual histories, counterintuitive social science, literary criticism, and jazz.
Jessica began her career interning everywhere from Writers House to Open Road Media and joined InkWell Management in 2017 after working in foreign rights at Janklow and Nesbit for two years. She has a BA in English: Creative Writing from Binghamton University and a MS in Publishing degree from Pace University. Her interests include but are not limited to: women’s fiction, cookbooks, crafting and do-it-yourself books, multicultural and LGBTQIA+, children’s and young adult fiction.
Charlie Olsen started his publishing career at InkWell in 2007 and has been building his client list since. He is interested in fiction, children’s books, graphic novels and illustrated works, and compelling narrative non-fiction. Prior to Inkwell, Charlie studied print journalism at Rider University, covered a beat at a newswire in the District of Columbia, and wrote for two newspapers in New Jersey. He works with award-winning graphic novelists, including New York Times bestseller Matt Kindt, New York Times bestseller Jeff Lemire, and National Book Award finalist Noelle Stevenson; distinguished children’s book authors including New York Times bestseller Andrea Cremer, Amy Ewing, and Gus Gordon; and also represents non-fiction—both illustrated and traditional prose—like Whisk(e)y Distilled by Heather Greene (Viking, 2014); a book about the seven would-be assassins of Queen Victoria called Shooting Victoria by Paul Thomas Murphy (Pegasus,2012); and The Warren Commission Report: A Graphic Investigation into the Kennedy Assassination by Dan Mishkin, Ernie Cólon, and Jerzy Drozd (Abrams, 2014).
Tizom Pope joined InkWell in 2020 as a Royalty and Accounting Assistant. Before entering the publishing industry, Tizom gained his administrative and accounting experience by managing a growing New York restaurant group’s corporate office. He enjoys cookbooks, humor, literary fiction, and creative writing in the fantasy genre.
A native of St. Louis, Eliza Rothstein began her career in publishing at The Susan Golomb Literary Agency after studying Comparative Literature and Art History at the University of Pennsylvania and attending the Columbia Publishing Course. At InkWell, she represents memoir, literary and commercial fiction, and a wide range of journalists and non-fiction authors who seek to generate deep conversations, inspire social and systemic change, or advance our understanding of our minds and bodies. In addition to finding publishers for their books, she helps writers expand their reach by placing essays and journalism in publications ranging from The New York Times and The Atlantic to National Geographic and Sports Illustrated. She is particularly interested in the intersection of narrative writing with topics of psychology, medicine, science, food, technology, business, humor and pop culture. She is also drawn to literary fiction that explores diverse communities or intergenerational stories, commercial fiction that crosses genre borders, and fiction from Latinx and Spanish-speaking writers.
David Hale Smith is looking for mind-blowing commercial fiction and compelling nonfiction. Prior to joining InkWell in 2011, he operated his eponymous literary agency in Texas, which he started just a few years after graduating from Kenyon College. His fiction list includes thriller phenom Matthew FitzSimmons, Gary Phillips (writer for hit FX series Snowfall), Chad Zunker and The New York Times Bestselling novelists Greg Rucka (creator of ABC’s Stumptown, and the #1 Netflix smash hit The Old Guard, starring Charlize Theron) and Blake Crouch, author of the smash genre-benders Recursion, Dark Matter and the multi-million selling Wayward Pines trilogy (adapted into the FOX television show). In nonfiction, Smith represents Evelyn Tribole and Elyse Resch, co-authors of the classic Intuitive Eating; Jordan Mackay, Rajat Parr, Daniel Vaughn and Robert Sietsema; Top Chef stars John Tesar and Isaac Toups; and New York Times Bestsellers Skip Hollandsworth and barbecue superstar Aaron Franklin. Smith enjoys developing projects from concept to finished book, and is active in selling film and television rights for his clients, making numerous annual trips to the West Coast to pitch projects to managers, agents and producers. He lives in Dallas, Texas and commutes to New York.
Jessie Thorsted joined InkWell Management in 2017 and is a Royalty and Accounting Associate. She earned her BA in English Literature from Arizona State University and her MA in English from Northern Arizona University. Before coming to InkWell, Jessie interned at Liza Dawson Associates and worked for Strand Book Store. She enjoys reading young adult literature.
Kristin van Ogtrop, the former editor-in-chief of Real Simple, has joined InkWell Management as a literary agent. Under her stewardship, Real Simple became the #1 American women’s lifestyle magazine brand with a print and digital reach of 25 million and was nominated for 15 National Magazine Awards. Kristin’s blog, “Adventures in Chaos,” was nominated for a Media Industry Newsletter “Best of the Web” award, and in 2014, she was named by Fortune magazine as one of the “55 Most Influential Women on Twitter.” She is a contributor to the New York Times bestseller, The Bitch in the House and the author of Just Let Me Lie Down, published by Little, Brown. As an agent, she represents memoir, commercial women’s fiction, humor, lifestyle and big idea books driven by counterintuitive thinking.
Maria graduated from University College Dublin with a BA in English and Drama, then obtained her Masters in Modern Literature from the University of Edinburgh. She moved from Dublin to New York in the hopes of pursuing a career in publishing. Before joining InkWell, she worked as a Foreign Rights Assistant at Janklow & Nesbit and interned at Akashic Books. Maria enjoys literary fiction, magical realism, upmarket women’s fiction and humor, as well as non-fiction, revolving around peculiar topics especially overlooked facets of society.
Jenny Witherell, Business Manager, is a graduate of Simmons College in Boston where she received a B.A. in English and Economics. She received her M.B.A. from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. Before joining InkWell, she worked in investment research. She has also coached collegiate rowing.