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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.
PW2020 YA #02: SOMEWHERE SOFT FOR US (#OwnVoices Contemporary)
Juliet Lubwama
Mentored by:
Kit Frick and Carlyn Greenwald
Book Title:
2020 Entries
#OwnVoices Contemporary
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Passage of aphobic language, discussions of aphobia


Nothing means more to Ivy League first-year Meredith Kalumba than family: both her proud Ugandan parents and her online community, The Gourd, a confessions blog she runs for queer teens of color. Meredith isn’t ready to explain her safe space—or her asexuality—to her parents, but running The Gourd is work, and her grades are suffering. When her parents become suspicious about the blog, Meredith scrambles to find a balance before her two communities collide and she loses them both. LET’S TALK ABOUT LOVE meets AMERICAN PANDA.



the-clay-gourd (Follow)

writing this, I know you’ll never read it, but I wish I didn’t have to call you. the phone lines could collapse and I’d never hear your voice again, but at least we’d end with something good. somewhere before the fall. yes, I know, you crossed an ocean for us. yes, I know, one bad conversation could never kill the way hunger or sadness can. so I’ll pick up the phone. I’ll take everything you give me, like I always have. I know I don’t deserve it, but give me tonight.


Black tea may not prevent the inevitable, but it can distract me from the cherry red 58% on the front of my chem midterm.

I sip my tea, burning my tongue again, laptop balanced on my knees. Caffeine either boosts your mood or crashes you into Earth’s core—my head’s too fuzzy to remember—but in times of distress, focusing on absolutes is supposed to help. At least, according to my dad. 

So this is what I hold onto: Black tea is earthy. Warm like a hug, summer break, sixty days of Auntie Wilma’s samosas and laughter at family parties until chem and biology take you in their teeth again.

27 responses to “PW2020 YA #02: SOMEWHERE SOFT FOR US (#OwnVoices Contemporary)”

  1. Kelly Peterson says:

    Hi Juliet! This sounds amazing and you have a phenomenal voice! Can you send me your query, synopsis, and full manuscript to http://querymanager.com/kellypeterson/pitchwars?

    I’m so excited to dive in and read your story!

    – Kelly

  2. Tara Gilbert says:

    I’d love to see the first three chapters! Please use this link to send in the materials. QueryManager.com/TaraGilbert/PitchEvent

  3. Tamara Kawar says:

    Dear Juliet,

    I’d love to read SOMEWHERE SOFT FOR US. If you’re interested in sending, could you please email the full manuscript to tamara.kawar@icmpartners.com and make sure to include “PW2020” in your subject line?

    Thank you!


  4. Larissa Melo Pienkowski says:

    I would love to take a look at this! Please feel free to send me this query and the first 50 pages as a Word attachment to larissa@jillgrinbergliterary.com, with your name, title, genre, and “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. (Also, if you have requests from two or more of us at JGLM, please do pick and send to only one of us.)

  5. Hannah VanVels says:

    Juliet, this sounds amazing! I’d love to take a look when you’re ready! If more than one agent from Belcastro Agency likes your pitch, please submit to the one that you feel is the best fit.


    Good luck!
    Hannah VanVels

  6. Laura Crockett says:

    This sounds intriguing! Could you send me your official query in the body of the email, subject line containing “Pitch Wars,” and attach the first 50 pages (Word doc preferred) to laura(at)triadaus(dot)com? I look forward to reading!
    -Laura Crockett, TriadaUS Literary Agency

  7. Tara Gonzalez says:

    Hi Juliet! I would love to keep reading SOMEWHERE SOFT FOR US. If you could send me a query with the full manuscript attached to tara@emliterary.com, with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line, that would be fantastic.

    Tara Gonzalez
    Associate Agent
    Erin Murphy Literary Agency

  8. Victoria Wells Arms says:

    Hi Juliet,
    I’d be so delighted to read your manuscript! You can email a full MS word document to me at victoria@hgliterary.com and cc my assistant Chanelle at chanelle@hgliterary.com also please. Looking forward to reading it!
    Very best,
    Victoria Wells Arms

  9. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d love to take a look! Kindly send the manuscript along to me at jmccarthy at Dystel dot com. A Word attachment is most preferable if possible. If more than one DGB agent requests, please feel free to send to the agent of your choice and just let us know who else at the agency requested. Thanks so much, and happy Pitch Wars!

  10. Tamar Rydzinski says:

    Hi Juliet,

    I would love to read your manuscript! Please send the whole thing to querytamar@contextlit.com, making sure to write “Pitch Wars Request” in the subject line.

    Looking forward,

  11. Claire Friedman says:

    Hi Juliet! Wow, what a fantastic pitch this is! I’d love to consider. Please do send the full manuscript to claire@inkwellmanagement.com. Excited to hear from you!

  12. Alexandra Weiss says:

    Hi Juliet! I absolutely love this pitch and really enjoyed your writing sample. I’d love to request the full manuscript, which you can submit here: https://querymanager.com/query/AlexandraWeiss/PitchWars2021

    Looking forward to reading more!

    Alex Weiss
    Azantian Literary Agency

  13. Hi, Juliet. I love how this manuscript ties in the virtual world and the very real ways it affects our analog world. This first section brought me back to my own failing college grades in the best worst way. I’d love to read more. If you’re interested, please visit QueryManager.com/SavannahBrooks and be sure to mention that this was a Pitch Wars request somewhere in the query. Thanks!

  14. Jennifer Unter says:

    Hi Juliet,
    We’d love to read! Please forward the opening 50 pages, as a Word attachment, to jen.nadol@theunteragency.com, including your query in the body of the email. Thanks!

  15. Jennifer Weis says:

    I would love to read this! Such an original style in these sentences. Hope you will try me. Jenniferweis@rossyoon.com
    Always looking for original voices.

  16. Michaela Whatnall says:

    I’m so excited to see ace representation! This sounds wonderful, and I would love to read more. Please send your query and the first 50 pages as a Word doc attachment to mwhatnall@dystel.com. I’m looking forward to reading!

    Please note that if more than one agent from Dystel, Goderich & Bourret has requested your work, we ask that you choose which of us you’d like to submit to first, and let that agent know who else from our agency made a request. Thanks very much!

  17. Ameerah Holliday says:

    Hi, I’d really love to see more. Please send your query. bio and first 50 pages to Ameerah@serendipitylit.com

  18. Peter Knapp says:

    This sounds great! I’d love to read more. Please send a query in the body of the email to queries@parkfine.com with “Pete Knapp – Pitch Wars: SOMEWHERE SOFT FOR US (YA)” in the subject line. Please attach the manuscript as a Word document, and include a short synopsis (either in the beginning of the same document as the manuscript or as a separate attachment). Thank you, and I’m looking forward to considering.

    Pete Knapp // Park & Fine Literary and Media

  19. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Juliet,

    I love your pitch and sample!! Could you please submit your query, synopsis, and first 50 pages to my Query Manager?


    Please mention this is a PitchWars request at the beginning of the query, or in the referral section of the form. If another Belcastro agent requests, please make sure to only submit to one of us (we’re good at sharing!).

    I look forward to seeing your pages!!


    Cortney Radocaj
    Literary Agent
    Belcastro Agency

  20. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi there! I’d love to take a closer look at the first 50 pages! Please send them attached as a word document to: rena (at) dhliterary (dot) com


    – Rena Rossner
    The Deborah Harris Agency

  21. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Juliet,

    I’d love to see this! If you’re interested, can you send your query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com, with PitchWars in the subject line? Thank you!

    All best,

  22. Lee OBrien says:

    This sounds awesome–I would love to see the rest!

    To query me, you can send the query and full MS to lee.queries@irenegoodman.com with the words “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. If another agent at Irene Goodman requests your manuscript, please submit to just one agent at a time. If they pass, you are welcome to resubmit to another.

  23. Ashley Blake says:

    Hi Juliet! I am in love with this voice and excited that this is a college YA! I’d love to see more, so if you’d like to query me, please include your query letter and upload your full manuscript using the link below. If you query more than one agent at Rees, that’s fine, just let us know you did so in the query. Thanks and I look forward to reading. Congrats on all your hard work!


  24. Analieze Cervantes says:

    Hi! I would love to read more 🙂 Please paste your query, synopsis, and upload the first 15 pages of your manuscript, here QueryManager.com/AnaliezeCervantes/PitchWars

  25. Erin Harris says:

    I would love to consider this manuscript! Please send as a Word Doc to eharris@foliolit.com. Many thanks, and looking forward.

  26. Janine Kamouh says:

    Amazing pitch and I just want to read more, Juliet! Please send me a full MS as a word attachment, along with a query and bio to jkam@wmeagency.com. Please write Pitch Wars in the subject line alongside your title and name. Thanks so much and looking forward to reading!

  27. Christa Heschke says:

    This sounds so good! I’ve been actively looking for more YA set in college and I am big fan of one of your comps, AMERICAN PANDA! Please send the full manuscript, synopsis and query to chquery@mcintoshandotis.com with Pitch Wars request and the title of the manuscript in the subject line. –Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis