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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.
PW2021 MG #10: IF ELEPHANTS COULD TALK (Contemporary Novel in Verse)
Ranjeeta Ramkumar
Mentored by:
Cindy Baldwin and Amanda Rawson Hill
Book Title:
If Elephants Could Talk
Middle Grade
Contemporary Novel in Verse
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Death of a parent, Animal cruelty



If elephants could talk

they would narrate tales

of abuse.

If Meenakshi could speak

she would narrate tales

of loss.

After 12-year-old Meenakshi's mother dies, she loses her will to talk. Misunderstood by friends and bullied by classmates, she bonds with Ganeshan, the elephant at the temple her father works at who, like Meenakshi, understands loneliness and abuse. But when Ganeshan dies of neglect, Meenakshi must overcome grief and use her skills in dance to advocate for temple elephants—even if it means going against her community and religion.




The bathroom door opens

and Amma steps out

in a simple, pale blue saree,

the light behind

forming a halo around her:

a vision of innocence

and compassion.

A familiar, sweet fragrance

of mixed scents

wafts around her:

coconut oil from her hair

sandalwood from her soap

and lavender from her talc.

She kneels down

hands folded in respect,

eyes closed in concentration,

before a lighted oil lamp

in front of

Krishnan, Ganapathy, Saraswathi

and all the other deities

arranged neatly

in our small,

crammed altar,

which is just

one of the cupboards

in the kitchen.


with a short smear

of the grey bhasmam

on her forehead,

and a long, proud one

of the red powdery kumkumam

in the middle partition

of her hair,

she’s done.


An exaggerated sigh

slips from her mouth

as she plops down under the fan,

all her work

for the day complete.

She removes the white towel

from behind her neck,

wound into a bun

along with her

long, wet hair,

and shakes her head,

allowing the shorter curls

to free themselves

and frame her lovely face.

18 responses to “PW2021 MG #10: IF ELEPHANTS COULD TALK (Contemporary Novel in Verse)”

  1. Melanie Figueroa says:

    Hi Ranjeeta,

    Congrats on completing Pitch Wars! I’d love to take a look at IF ELEPHANTS COULD TALK. You can query me directly using this link: QueryManager.com/melaniefigueroa/pitchwars


  2. Andrea Cascardi says:

    Good morning! Your pitch and this first part of the novel really moved me. I’d love to continue reading! I hope you’ll send it to andrea@transatlanticagency.com, as an attachment with “pitch wars middle grade request” in the subject line. Thank you! Can’t wait to read more.

  3. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d be happy to dive into this. Please feel free to send the manuscript to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. If other DGB agents ask for this, choose whoever you’d like to send to and let us know about the other requests, and we’ll work it out in house!

  4. Amy Giuffrida says:

    This is going to make me cry, isn’t it?! Your verse sample is absolutely beautiful, and I would love to read the rest. Please send me the query, synopsis, and full manuscript to me at this QM link: QueryManager.com/AmyGiuffrida/PitchWars Since we ask that you only submit to one of our agents at a time, if you receive multiple request from agents at The Jennifer De Chiara Literary Agency, please choose which one best fits you to submit to. I’m excited to get reading! Amy

  5. Kristin Nelson says:

    I have to admit, your pitch alone was enough to get me all choked up. This sounds amazing. Please copy/paste your pitch or query letter as the first page of your manuscript, and then click on this link to submit:


    If you encounter any issues, please email query@nelsonagency.com and we will assist you. Thank you!

  6. Hi, Ranjeeta,

    This premise is AMAZING!!! I love what I’ve read so far and would love to read more. 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). Send 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. This sounds fascinating! Please send the first approx 15 pp (c & p into email) to greatriverliterary@gmail.com Looking forward to seeing more.
    Mary Cummings

  8. Andrea Morrison says:

    Dear Ranjeeta,
    I really enjoyed reading your sample pages, and I think your concept is absolutely wonderful. I also enjoyed reading your Pitch Wars interview. I’d love to read your manuscript if you’re interested in sending it along. I am at andreasubmissions (@) writershouse.com. (We just ask that creators only send to one Writers House agent at a time.) In any case, I really appreciated the chance to read your lovely pitch, and I wish you all the very best with this process!
    Very best,
    Andrea Morrison

  9. Bonnie Swanson says:


    Hello! I am very interested in reading your manuscript. Could you please send it to me in a word doc at querybonnies@gmail.com?



  10. I’d love to read more! You can send your query letter, a synopsis, and the full manuscript to me directly at maria@psliterary.com. One document (attached to the email) that contains all three items is preferred. Please include “Pitch Wars” and your manuscript’s title in the subject line of your email. (If another agent at P.S. Literary requests your manuscript, please submit to only one of us.)

  11. Kaitlyn Johnson says:

    This sounds so very beautiful. I would love to see the full manuscript. If you find us a match, please send query, synopsis, and pages to QueryManager.com/KaitlynJohnson/Contests

    Kaitlyn Johnson
    Belcastro Literary Agency

  12. Andrea Somberg says:

    I enjoyed these opening pages and would love to take a look at the manuscript if you’d care to send it along! Word document to Andrea[at]harveyklinger.com would be great, with PitchWars Requested Manuscript in the subject line. Thanks! -Andrea Somberg/ Harvey Klinger Inc./ http://www.andreasomberg.com/ http://www.harveyklinger.com

  13. Michaela Whatnall says:

    This sounds like a powerful and heartfelt story! I would love the opportunity to consider this project. Please send a query and the first 50 pages as a Word document to me via Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/michaelawhatnall/PitchWars2021 If you have any trouble using the link, you’re welcome to email me instead at mwhatnall@dystel.com.

    If you’ve received a request from more than one Dystel, Goderich & Bourret agent, please only submit to the agent here that you feel would be the best fit, and let that agent know about any other requests you received from our agency. Thank you!

  14. D. Ann Williams says:

    Hi Ranjeeta,

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! Your excerpt is so beautiful, and I would love to take a look at the full manuscript. Please feel free to send me your query, full manuscript, and synopsis (if you have one) to QueryManager.com/DAnnWilliams/PitchWars2022

    Please let us know if you get multiple requests from ECLA agents, and we will coordinate internally if one (or more!) of us falls in love with your manuscript.

    Have a great showcase!

    D. Ann Williams (she/they), Associate Agent, Emerald City Literary Agency

  15. Rena Rossner says:

    Hi there!

    I’d love to read this full manuscript! Please send it attached as a word document along with your query pasted into the email to: rena@dhliterary.com


    Rena Rossner
    The Deborah Harris Agency

  16. Becca Langton says:

    Hi Ranjetta

    Your writing is really arresting, I’d love to read more. Please do query me through my email, becca@darleyanderson.com and include #Pitch Wars in the subject line. Darley Anderson is a well established global agency and I am so pleased to be building a US focussed list in a team that includes a Film and TV agent and a well experienced international rights team.
    Looking forward to hearing from you!

  17. Christa Heschke says:

    Hi Ranjeeta!

    My assistant Daniele and I would love to read this novel! Your writing and concept are both so beautiful.

    Please send your query, synopsis, and full manuscript via Query Manager at this link: QueryManager.com/christa_heschke/PitchWars2122

    Thank you!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis

  18. Kristin Ostby says:

    I’d love to see this! Please query me at https://querymanager.com/query/kristinostby! If my colleague Chelsea Eberly has also requested it, please choose one of the two of us—whomever you think would be the best fit. Thank you so much!