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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 #39: THE BEASTS THEY FED (#OwnVoices Southern Gothic/Contemporary Fantasy)
Xan Kaur
Mentored by:
Kylie Schachte
Book Title:
2020 Entries
#OwnVoices Southern Gothic/Contemporary Fantasy
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Mention of family member’s suicide (off-page), homophobic & racist attitudes, mention of child abuse (off-page), animal death (not a pet), body horror


SADIE x Southern Gothic MIDSOMMAR

Every thirteen years, the ultra-exclusive Lake Clearwater community opens its gates for the Cicada Festival—a decadent, no-rules celebration of the insects’ long-awaited arrival. All Neera Singh wants is to prove herself as a musician and save her family’s motel from going under. Her only option is to enter the festival’s open mic competition, and she’ll do anything to win the recording contract prize—even make a deal with the devil. 

But the people of Lake Clearwater didn’t earn their riches by chance, and every thirteen years, the beast responsible must be fed.




Season 4: Teaser 

(Intro theme song)


Down in rural Georgia, there’s a sleepy town called Corinth. It’s in this town, every thirteen years, that millions of cicadas burrow out of the earth, rising from their extended slumber. As a unified, writhing swarm, they crawl across the forest floor and climb the nearest trees.

Then, as one, they begin to scream. 


Now I ain’t lived in Corinth in some years, but I still remember the sound of those damned things. Make you go deaf, if you not careful. But let me tell you this: those cicadas bring nothin’ good. And that’s all I’m gonna say on that.

(Phone call ends abruptly) 


What makes a town? Is it the people that live there, or the secrets they keep? 

In this season, we will explore the history of a dying small town in Georgia, the wealthy lakeside community that keeps the region afloat, and the mysterious deaths that occur every thirteen years. 

Because for the townspeople of Corinth, the arriving cicadas are more than just a scientific marvel. They’re an omen. 

34 responses to “PW2020 YA #39: THE BEASTS THEY FED (#OwnVoices Southern Gothic/Contemporary Fantasy)”

  1. Mary C. Moore says:

    Would love to read more! Please use this link to send: QueryManager.com/Mary_C_Moore_KCA/PitchWars

  2. Lauren Spieller says:

    Oh, yes please. I’d love to read more. If you think we’d be a good fit, please send your query + full manuscript to Lauren@triadaus.com, and put “PW Request” in the subject line. I look forward to hearing from you! ~Lauren

  3. Megan Manzano says:

    This is absolutely what I’m looking for right now and I LOVE the atmosphere of this opening!

    If you decide to query me, please send your query, synopsis, and first 50 pages to the following: QueryManager.com/MeganManzano/PitchWars

    If anyone else at D4EO requests your work, choose the best agent for you!

  4. Hannah VanVels says:

    Xan, you had me at Southern Gothic, and the rest of this pitch is the icing on the cake. It sounds so nice and creepy, and the concept is 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

  5. Karyn Fischer says:

    Hi Xan! Wow–this immediately got my attention. I love that you used the show as a storytelling device. Gothic novels are a big love of mine, so I’d love to take a look at the full manuscript, if you’re interested in sending. If so, please query me at QueryManager.com/KarynFischer/PitchWars. Thanks, and I look forward to reading!

  6. Erica Bauman says:

    Hi Xan,

    Horror and podcasts are two of my favorite things, and I’d love to read the full manuscript! Could you please send along with your query letter to ebauman@aevitascreative.com (and put Pitch Wars somewhere in the subject line)? Looking forward to reading!

    All best,

  7. Haley Casey says:

    Dear Xan,

    This description of your work immediately had me hooked. I would love to read more!

    Would you please send your full manuscript, a synopsis of the project, and a short bio about what you do and any of your previous publications to Haley@CMALit.com? Each should be a separate attachment in Microsoft Word or PDF format. To ensure your email doesn’t get lost in the shuffle, please include “Pitch Wars” in your subject line.

    The two other agents at Creative Media Agency, Paige Wheeler and Shannon Snow, are participating in Pitch Wars with me. Should one of them also request your manuscript, we would appreciate it if you would choose the agent you’d most prefer to work with and only send them the requested materials. Should they pass on the project for any reason, and you find yourself still seeking an agent, then you are of course free to resubmit to another member of CMA.

    Thank you for taking the time to send me more of what you’ve written!

    Haley Casey

  8. Samantha Fabien says:

    Hi Xan,

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! You must be thrilled.

    I am obsessed with this premise and the tone of the story so far. I’ve recently fallen in love with the haunting and beautiful storytelling of gothic stories. With that said, I’d love to request the full manuscript and continue reading.

    If you’d like to share it, please sent the query in the body of an email, with the full manuscript and synopsis attached as a Word doc.

    The subject of the email should be “Pitch Wars Request: THE BEASTS THEY FED for Root Literary” sent to submissions@rootliterary.com.

    Although not all of Root Literary is participating in Pitch Wars, please feel free to query whoever feels like the best fit! We’re happy to coordinate internally.

    All the best,

  9. Hannah Schofield says:

    Dear Xan,

    I am obsessed with this concept and have been looking for a multi-format novel ever since I read and loved SADIE. I’d really love to read your full manuscript. If you’d like to submit to me please send me a query letter, the full manuscript, and a synopsis to hannahsubmissions@lbabooks.com, including ‘Pitch Wars’ in the subject line. Thanks!

    All the best,

  10. Claire Friedman says:

    Hi Xan! This sounds right up my alley! I’d love to consider. Please send the full manuscript to claire@inkwellmanagement.com. Excited to read!

  11. Katelyn Detweiler says:

    Xan, I am so intrigued by this pitch and excerpt! I would love to read more. Could you please send the query and full manuscript to me at katelyn@jillgrinbergliterary.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line? (Please note, if multiple agents from Jill Grinberg Literary Management request your ms, we ask that you only share with one.) Thank you! 

  12. Maggie Kane says:

    Hello Xan,

    I would love to see the full manuscript! Please send it as a Word Document to maggie.queries@irenegoodman.com. 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!

    Thank you!

  13. Shannon Hassan says:

    Dear Xan, I’d love to read more. Please send a query letter + 50 pages to shannon@marsallyonliteraryagency.com. Thanks for the chance. Best, Shannon

  14. Hi, Xan. I was immediately hooked by the setup here. Having lived in the South myself and being a bit of a bug nerd, I’m also immediately drawn to the setting and premise. Add a deal with the devil to it? I’m sold. I would love to read more. If you’re interested, please submit a query at QueryManager.com/SavannahBrooks and be sure to mention that this was a Pitch Wars request. I look forward to seeing more!

  15. Tamar Rydzinski says:

    Hi Xan,

    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,

  16. Sarah Gerton says:

    Hi Xan, I hope you’re having a great PitchWars so far! I loved the podcast format and the combination of summer sun with creeping dread in your pitch and sample page. I’d love to read more–you can check out my bio at curtisbrown.com/agents and if you’re interested, send me the full manuscript at sg@cbltd.com (please put “PitchWars” in the subject line). Thank you so much!

  17. Caitlin White says:

    You had me at “Southern Gothic Midsommar”! I’d love to read the full. If you send your query and first pages to me (Caitlin White) on QueryManager at this link, I will request the full right away: https://querymanager.com/query/caitlinwhite

    Please put “Pitch Wars” in the “referred by” space. I represent projects at Emerald City Literary Agency alongside Mandy Hubbard and Linda Epstein. You can check me out on Twitter @caitforestell

  18. Allison Hellegers says:

    I love what I’ve read of this so far. If you’d like to submit to me, please go to https://www.stimolaliterarystudio.com/Submissions and attach the full manuscript and your query. Do make sure to put PITCH WARS in caps above your query. Thanks!

  19. Em Lysaght says:

    Hi Xan, I would love to see more material for this project! If you would like to submit to me, please send me your query letter, synopsis, and first 3 chapters/50 pages (whichever is longer) at the following link: QueryManager.com/emlysaght/Pitchwars2020

  20. Dorian Maffei says:

    This hits so many things on my wish list! I would love to request the full manuscript! 🙂 You can send the query and manuscript through my online submission form: QueryManager.com/dorianmaffei/Request.

    If more than one agent from KC&A has requested your work, please mention this in your submission. Thank you!

  21. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    So spooky! Dying to see where this goes. If you find us a fit, please send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript to QueryManager.com/KaitlynJohnson/Contests

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  22. Laurel Symonds says:

    Love the podcast vibe. I’d like to read more! Please send the first 25 pages to symondsqueries@thebentagency.com and include “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. If more than one agent from The Bent Agency requests, you’re invited to send to all of us. Just let us know—thanks!

  23. Chelsea Hensley says:

    Hi Xan! This looks great, I’d love to read more. If you’re interested, you can send the full manuscript and a complete synopsis to chelseaquery@Kt literary.com. Please put Pitch Wars in the subject line.

  24. 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: THE BEASTS THEY FED (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 reading.

    Pete Knapp // Park & Fine Literary and Media

  25. Cortney Radocaj says:

    Hi Xan,

    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

  26. Andrea Somberg says:

    I enjoyed these opening pages and would love to take a look at the full manuscript! Please feel free to send it along as a word document to andrea@harveyklinger.com. Include the query letter in the email, and put “Pitch Wars Requested Manuscript” within the subject line. And if multiple agents at Harvey Klinger have requested, please feel free to send along to all of us but just let us know who else is considering. Thanks! – Andrea Somberg, Harvey Klinger Inc.

  27. Isabel Kaufman says:

    Hi Xan, what an amazing and compelling pitch! I would love to see more. Could you please email your query letter and the first 5 pages of your manuscript in the body of the email to submissions@foxliterary.com, with ATTN: Isabel and Pitch Wars in the salutation of your email? So hoping to keep reading!

  28. 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

  29. Penelope Burns says:

    Hi Xan,

    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,

  30. Zabé Ellor says:

    I love this pitch, and how it offers a new twist on old tropes! It would be great to see more.

    Please could you send the query and first fifty pages to me, as an attachment, at zrellor.books@gmail.com? Please paste your query on the first page of your attached sample pages, and also in the body of the email, and include PITCH WARS in the subject line. If more than one JDLA agent requests, feel free to first submit to the one you think is the best fit.

  31. Dana Murphy says:

    Hey there – I would love to read more of this! Please follow querying instructions here: http://www.thebookgroup.com/submissionguidelines — and include both my name and “Pitch Wars” in the emails subject line. Thanks!

  32. Cindy Uh says:

    I’m intrigued! Please send the first 100 pages as an attachment to cindy.uh@caa.com with “Pitch Wars” in the subject line. If you are submitting to more than one agent at CAA, if you could just make note of it, that would be great.
    Looking forward to reading!
    Cindy Uh

  33. Chloe Seager says:

    Dear Xan,

    I’m a big horror fan and this sounds really interesting! Please email the synopsis and first three chapters to childrens@madeleinemilburn.com, including ‘Pitch Wars submission’ somewhere in the subject line.

    All best,

  34. 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.