Compassion, drive and a fierce intelligence were just some of the factors that attracted the team at Ladderbird to new agent Elle McKenzie. Elle's background on the editorial side as well as her experience with book-to-film made her an essential addition to our growing team. We are over the moon to have her on board.
Let's get to know Elle McKenzie!
What made you decide to join the Ladderbird team?
While deeply submerged in this explosive movement of expressionism with my fellow POCs simply advocating for a voice, I knew I wanted to join an allied agency equally vying for change and visibility for all marginalized groups. Like all great manifestations, Ladderbird entered my life at exactly the right time. Upon discovering that our passions aligned to form a dedicated team of agents shining a light on underrepresented voices, naturally, it didn’t take much more convincing for me to solidify our alliance. And the rest — one might say — is history.
Tell us a little about your background.
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky where I lived for the first eight years of my life before moving to Upper Marlboro, Maryland in the year 2000. It was around this time when I discovered my passion for storytelling while submerged in fictional literary worlds. My father, an immigrant from Jamaica, instilled very early on in his first-generation American children the importance of hardwork and determination. My mother, an award-winning journalist, spoonfed us the immense value and power words can have on humanity. Following high school, I attended Drexel University where I obtained my B.A in Screenwriting & Playwriting. True to my millennial “slash” generation, I have professional experience in various industries that include film, digital media, and publishing.
What makes you excited about taking on a new author? What kind of stories and writers really capture your attention?
Besides the thrill that overcomes my senses when diving headfirst into a new literary world, I’m most excited to expand my community of like-minded individuals who share a passion for storytelling. The goal of every creative (I believe) is to uplift and extend their passion as a willful, lending hand. As a proud member of the QTPOC community, I’m easily enamored by writers unapologetic to live out their truth. And truth, as we all know, can be conveyed in many ways. No matter how a writer identifies, if their story is able to tap into my emotions and make me feel, then I want to do everything in my power to bring their vision to full fruition.
Talk about your editorial process.
Always, at the root of my desire is to honor the values of the writer. I believe in creating a positive and constructive creative experience that allows the sharing of ideas and suggestions. As an editor, I will work diligently to enhance the manuscript and supply aiding resources that align with the writer’s overall vision. All in all, we are a team both striving to share the story with the world.
What’s are your top three all time favorite books? Or what are three books that have moved you?
Oh, man… it’s difficult for me to settle on my all time favorite books. But, the two most recent books that have moved me are Pleasure Activism: The Politics of Feeling Good by adrienne marie brown and Freshwater by Akwaeke Emezi. And the book I will always accredit to moving me in my late teen years is The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chobosky.
What do you like to do when you’re not agenting, reading and editing?
Find me in my words. When I’m not agenting/reading/editing, I’m writing. Screenwriting, prose writing or journaling, I’m somewhere filling blank pages with the intent to tell a story. I also love going on various adventures with my friends or simply browsing new true crime docs to binge.
Is there anything else writers should know before they query you?
I’m a compassionate person and consider myself someone very easy to talk to. Please feel free to communicate with me any questions and/or concerns you have with your manuscript before submitting.
Happy writing <3
Thanks so much for letting us get to know you!
Writers, remember, Elle accepts queries through Query Manager at QueryMe.Online/ElleMcKenzie
Ladderbird Literary Agency
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