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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 YA #19: AFTER EMMY (Contemporary #OwnVoices)
Lilian Lai
Mentored by:
Hannah V. Sawyerr and Olivia Liu
Book Title:
Young Adult
Contemporary #OwnVoices
Word Count:
Manuscript Content Warning(s):
Death of a loved one (not on the page), depictions of grief and depression


We Are Okay X The Astonishing Color of After by way of Mary H.K. Choi

After 16-year-old Ellyce Chang’s younger sister dies the night Ellyce sneaks out to a party, her parents abandon her to her estranged aunt in Vienna. Thrust into a glittering world of mansions and private school, Ellyce slowly finds solace in new friends and first love–if she’ll let herself. But when her parents unexpectedly return, she must choose: reunite her family in Taiwan, or stay in Vienna, where she may have found a family of her own.



I slip into my new skirt, careful to avoid sliding up against the little nick in my forefinger when I slide the zipper closed. As I smooth it down, my fingers lingering on the soft material of the pleats, I dart a quick glance at the clock on my nightstand.

5:45 a.m.

It’s still dark outside, and the absence of familiar sounds in the morning—birds chirping, cars driving by on the street outside, dim murmurs of neighbors talking upstairs slipping through tiny cracks in the ceiling—casts this moment in a strangely surreal light.

I may as well be the only person to exist, plucked from real life and dropped into an alternate universe; a movie with no background music.

Right this instant, with my eyes closed, I can imagine myself removed from existence as easily as snapping my fingers—and in the small space between two heartbeats, the ramifications of that scenario course through my mind, the momentous relief in its aftermath so sweet I can taste it.

But I’m not that person anymore.

I’m better now.

I take a deep breath. I have fifteen minutes to get ready before my aunt’s driver is scheduled to take me to my new school, Lexington.

14 responses to “PW2021 YA #19: AFTER EMMY (Contemporary #OwnVoices)”

  1. Jim McCarthy says:

    I’d be happy to take a look! You can send the manuscript to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com. If more than one DGB agent requests, please feel free to choose whoever feels like the best fit! Just let us know who else requested, and we’ll work it out in house!

  2. Jim McCarthy says:

    Apologies if you get this twice, but! I’d love to take a look. You can send the manuscript to me at jmccarthy@dystel.com.

  3. Tara Gonzalez says:

    Hi Lilian! This sounds amazing, and so up my alley. If you’re interested in submitting to me, I’d love for you to send me your query and the full manuscript to tara@emliterary.com. Just mention Pitch Wars in the subject. Thanks so much! Tara Gonzalez (Agent at Erin Murphy Literary Agency)

  4. Elizabeth Bewley says:

    I would be excited to read your manuscript! Can you please email me your query + the full MS as a Word doc attachment to ebewley@sll.com? Please mentioned Pitch Wars in your subject line.

  5. Penelope Burns says:

    I’d love to see this! If you’d like, can you send your query and full manuscript to penelope@gelfmanschneider.com with #PitchWars in the subject line? Thanks so much!

    All best,

  6. Peter Knapp says:

    This sounds great! I would love to read more. Can you please send the full manuscript attached as a Word document to queries@parkfine.com with “Pete Knapp – Pitch Wars – YA” in the subject of your email? Please include the query letter at the start of your Word document, and if available please also send a short synopsis (but no worries if not readily available). Thanks! I look forward to reading.

    Pete Knapp / Park & Fine Literary and Media

  7. Isabel Kaufman says:

    This is a beautiful start and I’d love to read more! Please send 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 title of the email. So looking forward!

  8. Analieze Cervantes says:


    I’m digging your pitch/excerpt and would love to request the query, synopsis, and the first 3 chapters of your manuscript!

    Submit here: QueryManager.com/AnaliezeCervantes/PitchWars

    Can’t wait to see this in my box soon! Have a great day!

    Analieze Cervantes

    Literary Agent
    Harvey Klinger Literary Agency

  9. Becca Langton says:

    Hi Lilian,
    I love your pitch and the excerpt left me wanting more – I’d love to read on! 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!

  10. Elisa Houot says:

    Hi Lilian,
    I would love to read the full manuscript! If you’d like to, you can upload the full manuscript following this link: QueryManager.com/ElisaHouot/PitchWars
    You can specify « Pitch Wars » in the reference line.
    If more than one agent of The Seymour Agency have requested material, please send to only one first, we have a one-agent-at-a-time policy!
    I look forward to reading your material!

  11. Laura Bradford says:

    Love the hook and Vienna as a setting sounds amazing! Please send me the full manuscript and synopsis (as attachments) at laura@bradfordlit.com and put Pitch Wars in your subject line.

    Thank you!
    Laura Bradford

    ***If you receive a request from more than one agent at Bradford Literary Agency, you are welcome to send to all agents who made the request, but just let us know when you send the material***

  12. Rebecca Eskildsen says:

    Hi Lilian,

    Congratulations on completing Pitch Wars! I’m deeply intrigued by both the emotional tone and the glittering world mentioned in your premise, and I’d love to read more.

    I hope you’ll send me your project! If you choose to do so, please send your query letter and the first 75 pages as a PDF to reskildsen@writershouse.com. Please include “Pitch Wars + your title” in the subject line. Please note that Writers House only allows writers to query one agent at a time.

    I look forward to reading further!

    Rebecca Eskildsen

  13. Paige Wheeler says:

    Thanks for sharing your work at Pitch Wars. I’d love to read more! Please send the first 100 pages and synopsis to me at paige@cmalit.com. Please use “Requested Material from Pitch Wars” in your subject heading. Thanks so much.

  14. Christa Heschke says:

    Hi Lilian!

    My assistant Daniele and I LOVED your excerpt and premise, and would be honored to read your book. We’re also great admirers of Hannah Sawyerr!

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

    Thank you!
    -Christa Heschke, McIntosh & Otis