Marya Spence

People category

Marya Spence
Literary Agent

Raised in California’s Bay Area, Marya earned her B.A. at Harvard, where she majored in English and was Fiction Editor for the Advocate, and her MFA at New York University, where she also taught undergraduate creative writing. In her 20s, she worked as a waitress and a nanny, at a bank and at a flower shop, before eventually reviewing books for Publisher’s Weekly and working at The New Yorker, PAPER Mag, Travel & Leisure, Vanity Fair, METROPOLIS Magazine, and more.

Marya values craft from the writer’s perspective and seeks books that anchor urgent conversations. She represents a diverse range of titles in fiction and narrative nonfiction, including, but not limited to, literary novels, cultural criticism, voice-driven essays with a humorous or critical edge, and pop culture writing. Marya’s authors have become instant New York Times bestsellers and won numerous awards and distinctions, such as the PEN Ackerley Prize, the Windham Campbell Prize, the California Book Award for First Fiction, the NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work, the American Mosaic Journalism Prize, and numerous ASME Awards. They have been awarded fellowships and grants from such committees as the National Endowment for the Arts, the Wallace Stegner Foundation, the Investigation Fund at the Nation Institute, the Rona Jaffe Foundation, and more. They have also been finalists or listed for such honors as the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, the Center for Fiction First Novel Prize, the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award, the Women’s Prize, the James Beard Media Award, the NPR Best Book, the Oprah Magazine Best Book, the San Francisco Public Library Award, The Arthur C. Clarke Award, the Dayton Literary Peace Prize, and more.

She lives in New York City.

Selected authors

  • Nada Alic
  • Kendra Allen
  • Erica Berry
  • Becky Cooper
  • Rio Cortez
  • Yrsa Daley-Ward
  • David Dennis, Jr.
  • Naomi Fry
  • Gabriela Garcia
  • Michelle García
  • James Han Mattson
  • Monica Heisey
  • Hermione Hoby
  • Aurora James
  • Jaroslav Kalfař
  • Jamie Lauren Keiles
  • Rachel Khong
  • Carolyn Kormann
  • Sanaë Lemoine
  • Eugene Lim
  • Daniel Loedel
  • Isle McElroy
  • Maggie Millner
  • Arabelle Sicardi
  • Katy Waldman
  • Connie Wang
  • Elaine Welteroth