Get to Know an Agent in Attendance: Leslie Varney of Prentis Literary

Screen Shot 2019-12-26 at 12.09.15 PMLeslie Varney is a literary agent and co-president of Prentis Literary.

She specializes in adult speculative fiction — science fiction and fantasy — for adults, young adult, and middle grade. Leslie has also established herself as a specialist in genre-bending fiction, enthusiastically representing authors whose works defy easy classification.

“It was never my plan to learn to read. In fact, I resisted it with all my five-year-old might, which was fairly significant. My favorite times were when my dad would read to me and I was afraid that when I learned to read myself, those lovely times would end. But my dad’s plan was different and his will was equal to mine. After many knock-down battles, and lots of Dick and Jane, I reluctantly learned.”

“I grew up during the mid-70s on my family’s hippie farm, situated in a small middle-class town in the Hudson Valley. This would have made me unique in any case, but the fact that we had no television was downright bizarre. While all my friends were watching re-runs of the “Brady Bunch” (again), I was re-reading “A Wizard of Earthsea” (again). Or “Watership Down”, “A Wrinkle in Time”, “The Crystal Cave”, whatever was around. Luckily for me, there were always books around. And, since my dad’s favorite books tended to the fantasy and science fiction genres, my house was a fantastic playground of interesting ideas and wonderful stories. I was known as the weird kid who always had a book with her. If you couldn’t find me, I was probably hiding in Oz. Instead of doing my boring chores, I was Laura Ingalls Wilder, and her chores were exciting frontier adventures! There were no limits when it came to stories and there was always somewhere wonderful to visit.”

“I am pleased as punch that now I get to help authors bring new worlds, new ideas, and new magic to the literary world. I will always love the oral story-telling tradition, but my appreciation for the written work knows no bounds and I love being a part of bringing that passion to new readers. It turns out that my dad’s plan was better than mine after all.”

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