Alison MacKeen Literary Agent

Alison is drawn to cutting-edge behavioral science; elegant philosophical and literary writing; ambitious historical narratives; deeply reported journalism; group biographies that animate the history of science, art, and ideas with human interest; offbeat personal essays; and unconventional wisdom literature. Many of her clients are academics embarking on their first trade book, but she is also looking for a broad range of writers—journalists, essayists, explainers, industry insiders, place-based observers, on-the-ground experts, and memoirists—whose voices and stories have the capacity to open our eyes and hearts, sharpen our thinking, and stretch our imagination.

Alison works closely with clients to develop strong, polished proposals that introduce fresh ideas in engaging ways. Her goal always is to pair her clients with editors and imprints with the vision and dedication to help them realize the full potential of their projects, as they move from proposal to finished book.

As an agent and an editor, Alison brings decades of experience to every publication. She began her agenting career at Sterling Lord Literistic, after years of working with authors as their editor at academic and trade presses, including Yale University Press, Princeton University Press, and Basic Books. Born and raised in Nova Scotia, Alison studied literature at McGill University and the University of Oxford. She lives with her family in Manhattan.