Joanna Volpe

President and Literary Agent

Joanna represents all brands of fiction from picture books to adult novels.  Her picture book taste is the most eclectic, ranging from sweet to fun to smart to quirky. For other fiction (both adult and children's) she has an affinity for stories that have a darker element to them, whether they be horror, drama or comedy. She's not the kind of reader that needs a romance in her novels, though she does appreciate a good one. 

On the non-fiction side her tastes are much more specific.  For children she looks for topics that captivate kids: biographies, animal-related stories, all sciences and history, etc. Joanna also has an affinity for morbid, weird or offbeat topics. In her adult non-fiction tastes she tends toward all things geek-related, foodie books, travel books, and general pop-culture and pop-science. 

Overall, she's looking for anything that highlights under-represented characters. More diversity, please!

For more info on her clients and projects, please go here.

Read 20 Questions with Joanna here

Follow her on twitterfacebookpinterest, or instagram.

Pouya Shahbazian

Director of Film & Television

Pouya Shahbazian heads up New Leaf's film & television division and is the point of contact for all film, television and new media inquiries for New Leaf clients, books and projects.

In 2013, The Hollywood Reporter named Shahbazian to its Next Gen "35 under 35" list of industry up-and-comers.

His entertainment experience includes the representation of screenwriters, authors and playwrights as well as the development and production of film, TV and literary projects. After working as an attorney in Los Angeles, he entered the entertainment industry at Warner Brothers and later joined The Broder-Webb-Chervin-Silbermann Agency's motion picture literary department. He co-founded ManDown Pictures & Management in 2007, where he developed and produced film and television projects, including the Independent Film Channel (IFC)'s travel series YOUNG, BROKE & BEAUTIFUL, which concluded its first season on the air during the summer of 2011.

As a producer, Shahbazian's projects include:

  • the adaptation of Veronica Roth's #1 New York Times bestseller DIVERGENT. Directed by Neil Burger and released in March of 2014, DIVERGENT, which starred Shailene Woodley, Theo James, and Kate Winslet, earned over $288 million at the worldwide box office. The sequel to DIVERGENT, INSURGENT, was released in March 2015.
  • upcoming Macmillan lead title, AMERICAN BLOOD by Ben Sanders. Sold in a bidding war, Warner Bros purchased the rights to the series with Bradley Cooper attached to star and Andrew Sodroski set to adapt.
  • New York Times bestselling author Patrick Lee's RUNNER. Sold in a heated bidding war, RUNNER is set up at Warner Bros with Justin Lin attached to direct, Adam Cozad adapting, and Michael De Luca producing.
  • Victoria Aveyard's #1 New York Times bestseller RED QUEEN, the first of a trilogy, which is set up at Universal Pictures with Benderspink producing.
  • Sony Pictures' APOLLO RISING, based on a spec screenplay by Victoria Aveyard. 
  • ARCLIGHT by Josin McQuein. Set up at Universal with Imagine Entertainment producing and Matt Sand adapting.
  • acclaimed writer/director Andrea Arnold's AMERICAN HONEY, inspired by a New York Times article.
  • Evan Mandery's Q: A NOVEL, which is set up at Sony Pictures with Matt Tolmach producing and David Gordon Green attached to write & direct.
  • Dan Krokos' PLANET THIEVES, set up at Warner Bros with Heyday Films (HARRY POTTER series) and Benderspink producing.
  • Leigh Bardugo's New York Times bestseller SHADOW & BONE, set up at Dreamworks with Heyday Films producing.

*Please note: Pouya does not accept or view any unsolicited queries.

Follow Pouya on twitter.


Kathleen Ortiz

Director of Subsidiary Rights & Literary Agent

Kathleen is the Director of Subsidiary rights, overseeing audio, translation and digital rights for the agency's titles. She regularly attends book trade shows around the world to sell titles to translation publishers and looks for new medium opportunities for our clients' books.

Kathleen is also a Literary Agent and is actively seeking to sign more authors and illustrators, specifically fresh, new voices in YA and animator/illustrator talent. In YA she gravitates more toward beautiful and exceptional world building as well as contemporary stories whose main characters stay with the reader far beyond the pages. She would love to see a beautifully written YA set within other cultures and experiences. 

On the illustration side, she loves animator/illustrators and their unique way of storytelling. Kathleen is not currently seeking middle grade, screenplays, or adult projects not listed above.

For more info on her clients and projects, please go here.

Follow Kathleen on twitter and check out her blog.

Suzie Townsend


Director of Literary Services & Literary Agent

Suzie represents all brands of children's and adult fiction. She is actively looking to build her list. In adult, she's specifically looking for new adult, romance (all subgenres), fantasy (urban fantasy, science fiction, steampunk, epic fantasy) and crime fiction (mysteries, thrillers). In Childrens' she loves YA (all subgenres) and is dying to find great Middle Grade projects. Suzie loves strong characters and voice driven stories that break out of the typical tropes of their genres.

For more info on her clients and projects, please go here

Read Suzie's blog here and follow her on twitter.

Mackenzie Brady Watson

Literary Agent

Mackenzie got her start in publishing as an intern at Farrar, Straus & Giroux and FinePrint Literary Mgmt. She then cut her teeth as an agent at Charlotte Sheedy Literary Agency before moving to New Leaf in 2014. 

She was a microbiologist in her pre-publishing life, so she's always on the hunt for projects that bring new or wild facets of science to light. She is endlessly fascinated by the human body, especially the heart. Her taste in non-fiction extends beyond science books to memoir, lost histories, investigative journalism, epic sports narratives, and gift/lifestyle books. She is particularly interested in projects that move the cultural conversation forward and have a lasting impact on readers. If you've written the next Brain on Fire, The Power of Habit, Random Family, The Boys in the Boat, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, Autobiography of an Execution, or Young House Love, she wants to see it. 

On the fiction side, Mackenzie represents a very select list of upmarket commercial/literary adult and YA novels (think: Everything I Never Told You, Station Eleven, and The Spectacular Now). She also represents illustrators with or without book projects of their own.

For more on her clients and projects, please visit Publisher's Marketplace or follow her on twitter for the play by play.

Peter Knapp

Literary Agent

Peter Knapp joined New Leaf as an agent in July 2015. Previously, he worked at The Park Literary Group, and prior to that he was a story editor at Floren Shieh Productions, consulting on book-to-film adaptations for Los Angeles-based movie and TV entities. He graduated from NYU summa cum laude and lives in Brooklyn.

At New Leaf, Peter will continue to represent authors of middle grade and young adult fiction across all genres, and he's also seeking out smart adult fiction. He is genre-agnostic, as long as the writing is great—meaning a standout voice, complex characters, and plotting that keeps the reader engaged from the first page through to the very end. In middle grade, he likes literary award-contenders, epic adventures (fantastical or not) and everything in-between. He has a special place in his heart for middle grade that is spooky, funny, irreverent—or all three. In YA, he wants character-driven contemporary, magical realism, science fiction, realistic stories with some type of twist (speculative, fantastical or otherwise—such as THE RAVEN BOYS, BONE GAP, WE WERE LIARS, etc.) and literary novels that defy categorization. For adult fiction, he wants smart, voice-driven writing along the lines of JoJo Moyes, Tana French, Gillian Flynn, Vanessa Diffenbaugh, Karen Thompson Walker, Tom McNeil, etc. He is also seeking smart, grounded science fiction.

To learn more about Peter's favorite books, clients and wish list, or to ask questions, visit him at or follow him on twitter.

Danielle Barthel

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Coordinator of Team and Client Services

Following her completion of the Denver Publishing Institute after graduation, Danielle began interning at Writers House. While there, she realized she wanted to put her English degree and love of the written word to work at a literary agency. She worked as a full-time assistant for three years, and continues to help keep the New Leaf offices running smoothly in her role of Coordinator of Team and Client Services.

In her downtime, she can be found with a cup of tea, a bar of chocolate, or really good book...sometimes all together.

Follow Danielle on twitter!

Jaida Temperly


Literary Agent

Jaida is actively building both her Children’s and Adult list. She has a particular love for all things Middle Grade, especially those that are a bit quirky, strange, and fantastical (a la The Mysterious Benedict Society, Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, Snicker of Magic, Cavendish Home for Boys and Girls, etc.). She's also open to YA submissions (all genres), and picture books by author-illustrators with completed dummies.

For all other fiction (both Adult and Children's) she has an affinity for magical realism, historical fiction, and literary fiction, as well as stories with a strong mystery and/or religious undertones (The Westing Game, A Discovery of Witches, The DaVinci Code, Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell, Outlander, The Rule of Four, etc.). 

On the non-fiction side, she’s actively seeking topics that are offbeat and a bit strange (Stiff: The Curious Lives of Human CadaversSmoke Gets in Your Eyes, etc.), as well as photography projects that offer unique insight into the human experience (Humans of New York, The Scar Project, etc.).

Prior to joining New Leaf Literary, Jaida grew up on a Wisconsin dairy farm, studied classical ballet, and briefly attended medical school. She loves art history, traveling, logic puzzles, horticulture, and numerous other topics that come in handy for Trivia Night and crossword puzzles.

You can follow Jaida on Twitter and find her Pinterest #mswl here.

Jackie Lindert

Literary Assistant

Jackie earned her B.A. in English in her home state of Wisconsin before trekking to Colorado to attend the Denver Publishing Institute. Her first job in publishing was as a Subsidiary Rights assistant at Penguin Random House, following an internship at none other than New Leaf Literary. After spending two years back at New Leaf as a literary assistant, Jackie now directly assists Joanna Volpe.

Fun Facts: She grew up in the Water Park Capital of the World and has a cat named Humphrey Bogart.

Follow her on twitter or  pinterest!

Chris McEwen


Story Editor

Chris McEwen is New Leaf Literary & Media's Story Editor in the department of Film & Television -- a position where he works with writers to develop projects in house, scouts for new material to be brought in for adaptation, and helps package New Leaf materials for eventual production. Chris grew up in Montclair, New Jersey, where he cultivated his lifelong passion for filmmaking, storytelling, and all things related to the movie business. He studied Media, Culture, & Communication at New York University. Prior to his start at New Leaf, he worked in the development department at Scott Rudin Productions.

He’s really into Shane Black, anamorphic lenses, iced espresso, Steven Soderbergh, and the cheeseburger at Paul’s in the East Village -- though he maintains that the best in the city is probably still a toss up between Odeon and Cafe Luxembourg.

Follow Chris on twitter!