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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.
PW2019 YA #43: DAWN OF THE FIREBIRD (#OwnVoices Persian-Islamic Fantasy)
Sarah Mughal Rana
Mentored by:
Deborah Falaye and Ciannon Smart
Book Title:
2019 Entries
#OwnVoices Persian-Islamic Fantasy
Word Count:



Of all Dada’s lessons, becoming a killer is what Khamilla learned best.

So when her parents are murdered by the sultana’s spies, she’ll stop at nothing to avenge them.

Even if it means infiltrating the sultana’s elite military to train as a soldier.

Even if it means fighting on the wrong side of a brewing war.

Even if it costs her humanity.



The blade glistens in the dying light.

I dig my feet into the dirt as Dada’s calloused hands slice the poisoned bread into fourths. My uma once told me hands define one’s story. Are they soft and supple like a bird soaring high on its first flight? Or are they scarred from the world, rough like a hawk set on caging its prey?

Studying Dada’s marred hands, I think hawk.

He passes me one piece, and I draw it into my mouth. My tongue prods at the sodden bread as I take in my Dada, reading him like a language. 

His eyebrows are drawn together, with crease lines on his brown skin. His arms are crossed, legs closed too tightly like a taut blade against skin, eager for release. He’s irritated, judging by the leftward tilt of his body toward our hidden estate. Still, he betrays no flicker of revelation, nothing to inform me what sours the bread.

With his patience worn thin, Dada opens his mouth.

“Wait!” I plead. “I think I’ve figured it out.”

Clenching his jaw, Dada’s gaze touches mine. “You think, or you know?”

His words are always a test. I brush a finger against the dupatta wrapped loosely on the back of my head, seeking fortune in my red shawl.

With the bread reduced to tasteless mush, I spit it onto the weeds crusting the land.

22 responses to “PW2019 YA #43: DAWN OF THE FIREBIRD (#OwnVoices Persian-Islamic Fantasy)”

  1. Quressa Robinson says:

    I LOVE the Poppy War. This sounds amazing! Please query me at this link (QueryMe.online/QueryQuressa/PW20192020) and follow the directions. If more than one NLA agent requests work from you it is okay to query more than one of us, just give us a heads-up. Good luck!

  2. Eva Scalzo says:

    This is intriguing, please send query + full manuscript to QueryMe.online/evascalzo/PitchWars

  3. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to have a look! Kindly send the manuscript to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. Good luck, and have fun!


  4. There’s a lot of really nice tension in your opening and in your pitch. 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!

  5. Hannah VanVels says:

    This sounds great, and I’d love to take a look at a partial. Please upload the first 50 pages to: QueryMe.online/MarisaCorvisiero/PitchWars


  6. Hi, Sarah,

    Great first page! I’m hooked! Can you send me the full and a synopsis (2-4 pages)? Please use Times New Roman, size 12, black, double-spaced text, 1” margins all around, and ½” paragraph indents. Paste your pitch in the body of the email and attach the manuscript and synopsis as two separate Word documents (docx). Sent to: lynnette (at) theseymouragency (dot) com and add “Pitch Wars Request” along with your title in the subject line. Thanks.

    If more than one agent from The Seymour Agency likes your entry, please send requested material to the agent you feel will be the best fit. #OneAgentAtATime

    Looking forward to reading more.



  7. Natascha Morris says:

    I’m intrigued. I’d love to see more, Sarah. Please upload to feel free to query me to at QueryMe.online/natascha/PitchWars. Can’t wait to see the pages!

    Natascha Morris
    BookEnds Literary

  8. Amy Elizabeth Bishop says:

    Dear Sarah,

    This sounds incredible – could you send along your query and first 100 pages as a Microsoft Word attachment, with #PitchWars in the subject line, to abishop (at) dystel (dot) com?

    I look forward to reading!

    All best,


  9. Beth Phelan says:

    Omg yes

    please send the full manuscript (word doc) to querybeth@galltzacker.com with your query letter in the body of the email and “pitch wars” in the subject line. looking forward to reading!

    <3 beth

  10. Sabrina Taitz says:

    Please send your full manuscript in PDF format to staitz@wmeagency.com – thank you! Sabrina Taitz @ WME

  11. Marlo Berliner says:

    What a great start?! I’d love to read more! Please send the full with Pitchwars YA in the subject line to marlo.jdlit@gmail.com. Looking forward to reading!

  12. Samantha Wekstein says:

    I’d love to see your first fifty pages! If interested, please send them as an attachment to Samantha@thompsonliterary.com with your query in the body and #pitchwars in the subject. Thank you!

  13. Samantha Fabien says:

    Hi Sarah,

    For starters, congratulations on successfully completing Pitch Wars! You did it and deserve to celebrate this huge achievement.

    My name is Samantha Fabien and I’m an agent at the Laura Dail Literary Agency (LDLA). You had me at THE POPPY WAR. That series blew me away. I am so ready for this strong female character infiltrating the elite military, and all inspired by Persian and Islamic mythology and history.

    With that in mind, I’d love to read the full manuscript! Would you please send me your query in the body of an email, with the full manuscript attached as a Word doc? The subject of the email should be “PITCH WARS REQUEST: DAWN OF THE FIREBIRD” and you can reach me at sfabien(at)LDLAinc(dot)com. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you! 🙂

    If more than one LDLA agent requests your book, you are welcome to send to as many or few of us as you like. Just tell us in the query, and we’ll chat amongst ourselves.

  14. 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

  15. Lauren Spieller says:

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’d love to keep reading. May I please see the full manuscript + synopsis? It would also be great if you could include ‘Pitch Wars Request’ in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! 
    Lauren Spieller, TriadaUS Literary Agencylauren@triadaus.com

  16. Laura Crockett says:

    This sounds great! Please send an email with subject line containing “Pitch Wars,” your official query in the body of the email, and the first 50 pages in an attached Word doc to laura(at)triadaus(dot)com. Looking forward!
    -Laura Crockett, TriadaUS

  17. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi Sarah!

    I’d love to read this full manuscript! Please send it attached as a word document to: rena@thedeborahharrisagency.com

    Excited to read!

    – Rena Rossner

  18. Andrea Morrison says:

    Dear Sarah,
    I hope this finds you well! It was such a pleasure to read your concept and sample page for DAWN OF THE FIREBIRD. I fell for your prose and the voice here immediately (“My Uma once told me hands define one’s story…” – such a beautiful section.) I also read your Pitch Wars blog post and really enjoyed reading about your motivation for writing this particular book, as well as hearing about your Pitch Wars experience. I would love to read your full manuscript. If you’re interested in sharing, could you send it to me at amorrison@writershouse.com?
    I really hope to hear from you, and I hope to have the opportunity to read your book.
    My very best,

  19. Nicole Payne says:

    I would love to read more! Please send query, synopsis, and first 5 chapters in the body of the email to Nicole@goldenwheatliterary.com. Thanks!

  20. Melissa Nasson says:

    I’d love to keep reading. Please send the full manuscript 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

  21. Tamara Kawar says:

    Hi Sarah,

    I’d absolutely love to read DAWN OF THE FIREBIRD. Could you please send the full manuscript to tkawar[at]icmpartners[dot]com and include “PW2019” in the subject line?

    Thank you!



  22. Kerstin Wolf says:

    I love this pitch! And the title? Perfection! Revenge stories and morally gray characters are like my bread and butter. I can’t wait to read more and be drawn into this beautifully complex world you’ve created. I’d love to see the full manuscript of this. If you think we might be a good match, please submit your full manuscript using this link: QueryMe.online/kerstinwolf/Pitch_Wars