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Pitch Wars Showcase

Please note: These are the entries for the Pitch Wars season beginning in 2021 and continuing through 2022. Please note that our Agent Showcase ends at 9:00 p.m. ET on Monday, February 14, 2022. Agents will not be able to leave comments requesting material after that time.
Jesse James Keitel
Mentored by:
Eric Bell
Book Title:
2019 Entries
LGBTQ Contemporary (#OwnVoices)
Word Count:


President Penelope Pennington has a nice ring to it. But the PTA doesn’t want a transgender sixth grade class president - they’ve circulated a petition to keep her off the ballot. Even with cupcakes, posters, and getting rid of sporks, she can’t win if she can’t run! And she’s got to win to ensure every kid in school feels like they can succeed - especially kids like her.



I walked up to the board. There it was. Stuck in the middle like a turkey on a tightrope. It read:

Do you want to run for president of your class?


Do you have ideas that will change your community?


Are you a natural born leader?


I didn’t even know sixth grade could have a president, but this was it! I’ve been waiting for this for so long. Ever since I could talk I’ve wanted to be president. As president, you can have a real impact on the world and really make a difference. I’m going to be practical. I’m going to be persistent. And I’m going to be President Penelope of the United States of America.

President Penelope Pennington. Doesn’t that have a nice ring to it? Being president means you have a lot of tough choices you need to make—like, do you allow pancakes to be served at dinnertime? Do you try and keep bald eagles from going bald? Do you investigate how much wood a woodchuck chucks? I’m perfect for the job because everyone already likes to do what I say. I once had kids sing happy birthday to me at a birthday party that wasn’t even mine! Some kids tell me I’m bossy but my mother Joan says I have great leadership skills. I’d call them exceptional, but that’s just me.

22 responses to “PW2019 MG #15: PENELOPE’S PECULIAR PRESIDENTIAL PREDICAMENT (LGBTQ Contemporary #OwnVoices)”

  1. Tara Gilbert says:

    Yes, yes, YES! I love this. Please use the link below to submit the full along with a synopsis and query letter.

    Thank you for considering me! If more than one Corvisiero agent shows interest, please choose one of us submit to and let them know who else liked the pitch, so that we can share it with each other.


  2. Laura Bradford says:

    The personality of this character just leaps off the page and I adore the last line of your excerpt. Fun all the way through. I’d love to read more of this!

    Please email me the full ms + synopsis and make a note in the subject line that this is a Pitch Wars entry. laura at bradfordlit dot com. Can’t wait to see more!

    Laura Bradford
    Bradford Literary Agency

  3. Penelope is adorable. I love her voice in this opening, and I’d love to read more. If you could please send your query, full manuscript and a complete, detailed synopsis to hilaryquery@ktliterary.com with “Pitchwars: Your Title” in the subject field. Can’t wait to dive in!

  4. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Jesse! President Penelope Pennington does have a great ring to it! I’m hooked and would love to read more. Please send the full manuscript to me at http://queryme.online/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2019.

    Thanks so much!
    Alexandra Weiss
    The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency

  5. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to have a look! Please send it along to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. Thanks! And good luck!


  6. Natascha Morris says:

    I love Penelope! Her attitude is amazing and living in Texas right now, we definitely need more books like this in the MG space. Jesse, please send me this manuscript: QueryMe.online/natascha/PitchWars.
    I cannot wait to see if Penelope wins her presidential seat!

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  7. Naomi Davis says:

    Yes yes yes! This looks fantastic. Can you please send me a query, synopsis, and full manuscript to ndavis@bookendsliterary.com? I already think Penelope will be the best President ever.

  8. John Cusick says:

    I’m loving this so far! Could you please send a query and your first three chapters to john [@] foliolit.com? I can’t wait to read more.

  9. Melissa Edwards says:

    Hi Jesse,

    I’d love to take a look! Please send the ms as a doc to medwards at stonesong dot com.


    All best,

  10. Caitlen Rubino-Bradway says:

    I’d like to see more of this! Please send a full ms and synopsis to crubinobradway AT lkgagency DOT com.

  11. Jennifer Unter says:

    Great concept and voice – I’d love to read more! Please forward the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to jen.nadol (at) theunteragency (dot) com with PW Request in the subject line. Thanks!

  12. Ashley Blake says:

    Hello Jesse, I’d love to read more of this! If you’d like, send the full manuscript to ashley@reesagency.com and put QUERY PITCH WARS in the subject. Hope to hear from you soon!

  13. Christa Heschke says:

    I’d love to see this. It sounds wonderful! Please send the full manuscript and query to chquery [at] mcintoshandotis [dot] com. Please put “Pitch Wars request” and the title in the subject line. Can’t wait to read!
    _Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  14. Ginger Clark says:

    I would love to take a look at this. Can you email me the first fifty pages as either a PDF or DOCX or RTF? Put the words “Pitchwars 2020 request” in your subject line. Thank you so much!

  15. Kari Sutherland says:

    I’d love to see this! Penelope is such a confident, charismatic character and I already love her. Can you please query me via my form on QueryManager: https://querymanager.com/query/Kari_Sutherland_Query_Form so I can request the full? Please put PitchWars in the Subject/Query Title line. Looking forward to reading!

  16. Karly Caserza says:

    Please query me at QueryMe.online/Karly/, place “PitchWars Request” before your title, and I’ll request a full upon receiving it.

    Excited to read. Thank you

  17. Melissa Nasson says:

    This made me laugh! Please send the first 50 pages as a Word doc or PDF attachment to melissa@rpcontent.com with Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thank you!

    -Melissa Nasson, Rubin Pfeffer Content

  18. Zabé Ellor says:

    Wow! I love this voice and the energy in this excerpt! Can’t wait to see more

    Please send the query and synopsis (in the body of an email), and full manuscript (as an attachment) to zrellor . books @ gmail . com. I’m looking forward to diving in!

  19. Laurel Symonds says:

    Hi! I’d love to see this. Please send a query and 25 pages to symondsqueries@thebentagency.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. I’m looking forward to reading more!

  20. Allison Remcheck says:

    Dear Jesse James,

    I would love to have a look at PENELOPE’S PECULIAR PRESIDENTIAL PREDICAMENT. Please feel free to be in touch with me–with a synopsis and your first three chapters–via my box at this link:


    It would be great if you could write REQUESTED MATERIAL at the top of your e-mail.

    Thank you so much; I’m looking forward to it!

    Best wishes,

    Allison Remcheck

  21. Claire Draper says:

    I’d love this! Please send to claire@thebentagency.com.

  22. Great concept! Please send this pitch in the body of an email, synopsis and first fifty pages attached as a Word doc, with MG PITCHWARS and your title in the subject, to Jennifer@theseymouragency.com.