Annie Hwang - Agents & Editors
Poets & Writers Magazine|September - October 2022
Annie Hwang of Ayesha Pande Literary talks about community building, professional burnout, the questions writers should ask when querying agents, and the demanding work of advocating for diversity in publishing.
By Vivian Lee
Annie Hwang - Agents & Editors

Annie Hwang is always thinking about the future. This is partly because one aspect of her job as an agent is to help change and widen the literary land-scape, one author at a time. And it’s partly because that is who she is as a person, having spent her career advocating for and mentoring those in the community—especially writers who are just starting out. “It’s about the readership I’m trying to serve,” she says of her work beyond the individual authors in her care. “It’s about the community I’m trying to serve.” And to Hwang, community is what buoys her work: It is what supports her writers and what is paving the way for a more equitable future.

Hwang came to agenting by accident: With hopes of becoming an editor, she moved to New York City after graduating from UCLA in 2012. She started by applying for editorial positions, as they were the only ones she knew about in publishing at the time. Following a successful informational interview, an editor at St. Martin’s Press put her in touch with Folio Literary, where she landed an internship. She later became a part-time office manager, then a part-time assistant agent, and finally an agent able to sign authors whose work spoke to her. After eight years at Folio, she joined Ayesha Pande Literary, where she has used her incisive editorial eye to publish writers like award-winning poet Franny Choi, columnist and author John Paul Brammer, and the speculative fiction novelist Sequoia Nagamatsu, all writers who are expanding what narratives can do to speak truth to power, to grapple with our increasingly complex and complicated world, to write in a society where to be your true self can also be dangerous.

This story is from the September - October 2022 edition of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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This story is from the September - October 2022 edition of Poets & Writers Magazine.

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