Janell Walden Agyeman is a literary agent with Marie Brown Associates literary services. Since 1992, when her first book deal was published, she has represented fiction and non-fiction books for children and adults. Her client list includes New York Times bestselling children’s author Sharon M. Draper and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist and novelist, Leonard Pitts, Jr. A self-described “literary midwife” with eclectic tastes, she has played multiple roles in her career, serving individuals and institutions as editor, publishing consultant, book shepherd, program manager, literacy advocate and agent.
At an early age, Janell discovered her passion for helping to disseminate uplifting, empowering information she found in the many books, magazines, advertisements and comic books she read. By her teens, she was contributing and editing articles, and helping to typeset, layout, print and distribute her high school newspaper. She later contributed articles and helped produce a student newspaper during college. Her book publishing career began following graduation from the S. I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University when she entered the Trainee Program at Doubleday & Company. Editorial positions at Doubleday and Howard University Press followed, interspersed with a stint as Contributing Author to the ground-breaking project, Contributions of Black Women to America, 1777-1976. While at Howard, she enlarged her passion for education by administering the Howard University Press Book Publishing Institute.
For nearly fifteen years during her residence in Miami, Florida, Janell was a board member of the Miami Book Fair International. She also worked with the Pan African Bookfest and Cultural Conference, and the Friends of Faulkner storytelling guild, actively promoting a love of story and the importance of reading and books. Now based in Atlanta, Georgia, Janell remains eager to discover exciting, new voices that artfully describe and interpret the human experience.
Janell has presented at writers' conferences throughout the nation, and is a member of the Authors Guild and the Independent Book Publishers Association. In August 2013, in recognition of her contributions to the literary legacy of African American authors, she was named “Agent of the Year” by Black Pearls Literary Magazine.