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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.
Kristen Gaerlan
Mentored by:
Hudson Lin
Book Title:
2020 Adult Entries
Memoir in Essays
Word Count:


MINOR FEELINGS x ME TALK PRETTY ONE DAY: After a decade as an advertising professional, you’d think I’d be an expert in knowing my own brand. But, how could I be when I’ve buried so much of my identity? My immigrant upbringing. My Asian ethnicity. My Filipinx culture. This memoir-in-essays is an honest, self-deprecating look at my brand as a woman of color in America. With long-lost relatives, bigoted boyfriends, and revelations in the motherland, I explore all the joys and complexities of my hyphenated life.



As I painted my grandmother’s nails, I savored the moment knowing it would be one of the last times she’d remember me.

Grandma Connie, however, didn’t think twice. She never did.

Unlike me, she remained undaunted by her recent dementia diagnosis . She didn’t hesitate in presenting me with her hands and snuggling into my mom’s queen-sized bed. She closed her eyes and let out a sigh of satisfaction as if she was back home in Manila and I was her personal manicurist hired for fifty pesos — including tip.

My mom had asked if I could watch Grandma Connie for the day. Partly so she could work her twelve-hour shift in the emergency room, partly so she could take a break from her mother’s demanding illness. Being familiar with dementia after witnessing my paternal grandmother’s decline, I agreed without hesitation. I packed an overnight bag, hopped on the subway to my mom’s place, and created an at-home spa day to keep my grandma’s deteriorating mind occupied.

My mom’s nail kit was in the same place it always was: the bottom-left corner of the walk-in closet. However, while my childhood apartment was largely as I remembered it, a few changes had been made since I moved out. Band posters no longer covered my bedroom

5 responses to “PW2020 Adult #13: UNBECOMING OF A LADY: REBUILDING MY BRAND AS A HYPHENATED AMERICAN (Memoir in Essays)”

  1. Anya Goncharova says:

    Dear Kristen, wow, I am so curious to read more of your essays. I love the way that you write, and I would be so excited to learn more about your story. Could you please send through the first 50 pages/first three essays of your MS for our consideration? My email is anya@peonyliteraryagency.com. Really looking forward to reading more, and I hope you are doing very well! All best, Anya; Peony Literary Agency

  2. Grace Ross says:

    I feel like I’m right in the room with you and your grandmother. I’d love to read more. Would you send the full manuscript to grace@rhaliterary.com? Please include Pitch Wars in the subject line. Thanks!

    Grace Ross, Regal Hoffmann & Associates

  3. Chelsey Emmelhainz says:

    Hi Kristen,

    I would love to read the first 50 pages of UNBECOMING OF A LADY: REBUILDING MY BRAND AS A HYPHENATED AMERICAN! To submit to me through Copps Literary Services, please use Query Manager and note “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line: QueryManager.com/ChelseyEmmelhainz/PitchWars

    If you receive multiple requests from the agency, please refer to our Teams page to choose which agent feels like the best fit for you and your work: https://www.coppsliterary.com/our-team.

    All best,

  4. Jennifer Unter says:

    Hi Kristen,
    This sounds right up my alley – I’d love to read! Please forward the opening 50 pages, as a Word attachment, along with your query in the body of an email to jen.nadol@theunteragency.com.

  5. Jessica Felleman says:

    Hi Kristen! Your memoir sounds just like the kind of memoir I like, funny and unwaveringly honest. I’d love to take a look at your query letter, synopsis and the full manuscript (or proposal if that’s what you have). Please send them over to me at jfsubmissions@jenniferlyonsliteraryagency.com and mention I requested via Pitch Wars in the subject line. The query and synopsis can either be attached or in the body of the email, but please send the manuscript as a Word Doc attachment. Looking forward to reading! -Jessica Felleman