Meet the faculty of the 2020 Austin SCBWI Writers & Illustrators Working Conference. We’ve asked all our faculty members to answer 4 quick questions so we can get to know them better.
Stefanie Fretwell-Hill, Agent, Red Fox Literary
Stephanie Fretwell-Hill is a literary agent with a sales and editorial background. After starting her career in foreign rights at Walker Books in the UK, Stephanie moved home to the US as an acquiring editor at Peachtree Publishers. In 2016, she joined Red Fox Literary where she represents authors and illustrators of fiction and nonfiction picture books, middle grade, and YA. Some of her clients include R. W. Alley, Beth Anderson, Carolyn Crimi, Edith Cohn, Lindsay Leslie, Christina Soontornvat, and Archana Sreenivasan. Stephanie lives in North Carolina with her English husband, two very spirited daughters, and a rescued border collie.
What attracted you to children’s books?
I believe that books are an important and safe space for kids to step out of their own lives and explore the truths of being a human. I’m driven to help provide those spaces in whatever way I can. I enjoy the clarity and lack of pretension in children’s literature, and I also love how art and text combine into something MORE and unexpected!
What’s the best part of your job?
Discovering an amazing manuscript in my inbox; the moment when an offer comes in for a manuscript I care about; quiet days when I just get to read and read and read and call it “work.”
What’s the most challenging part of your job?
There are some boring parts (like sifting through contracts) and some awkward parts (like a really tough negotiation)–but the most challenging is getting rejection after rejection after rejection on a project and STILL finding the enthusiasm to keep trying to sell it. That’s why I really have to believe in every project I take on!
What’s the best piece of advice you were given that helped drive your career?
I can’t boil it down to a single piece of advice exactly, but my first boss in publishing was Caroline Muir at Walker Books in London, and she was a wonderful mentor. In many ways she taught me that I could and should speak up; that what I have to say is valid and valuable; and that I can be assertive and also a nice person at the same time. Those lessons have carried me through each stage of my career.
Come see Stefanie Fretwell-Hill at the 2020 Austin SCBWI conference, May 2-3, 2020