Meet the Agents: Sarah Bowlin (Aevitas Creative Management)

“The work takes the time it takes and you have to give it space.”  Sarah Bowlin, Aevitas Creative Management

Every other year, the Writers’ League of Texas brings 20-25 literary agents and book editors to Austin for its Agents & Editors Conference. As we look ahead to the 30th A&E Conference, taking place June 21 – 23, 2024, we’re happy to share Q&As with some of our visiting agents and editors here.

An Interview with Sarah Bowlin

Sarah Bowlin is a senior agent at Aevitas Creative Management which she joined in 2017. Before becoming an agent, she was an editor of literary fiction and nonfiction at Riverhead Books and Henry Holt & Company where she edited the acclaimed writers Juan Gabriel Vásquez, Sheila Heti, Rachel Khong, and Helen Phillips, among others. As an agent she has worked with emerging and award-winning voices including the National Book award-winning translator and novelist, Bruna Dantas Lobato; NBA long-listed novelist Vanessa Veselka; Giller Prize-winning writer, Souvankham Thammavongsa; 2023 5 Under 35 honoree from the National Book Foundation, Jenny Xie; The 2024 Asian/Pacific American Award-winner in Adult Fiction, Janika Oza; the Jewish Book Award-winning memoirist Sabrinah Orah Mark, as well as acclaimed writers Lynn Steger Strong, Ayşegül Savaş, Gene Kwak, Ashley Nelson Levy, Jasmin ‘Iolani Hakes, R.K. Russell, Elisa Albert, and Ismail Muhammad. She is interested in bold voices and experiments in form—specifically stories of strong or difficult women and unexpected narratives of place, identity, and the shifting ways we see ourselves and each other. Originally from the South, she now lives in Los Angeles.

Scribe: How would you describe your personal approach to working with an author? 

Sarah Bowlin: I’m collaborative and editorial. I was an editor on the publishing house side for a number of years and I love doing editorial work with a writer but I also really love talking through goals and trying to form a plan for a writer’s longer career.

Scribe: What do you look for in a debut author? 

SB: A singular mind and talent! But I also love working with writers who like connecting with readers.

Scribe: What’s one piece of advice you find yourself giving to others time and time again?

SB: The work takes the time it takes and you have to give it space. A common misstep I see is that writers want to engage in the industry side too early. The writing has to be primary.

Scribe: What excites you the most about the publishing industry today?

SB: I love that all it takes is just one passionate editor to make a book a reality. It’s an industry full of exceptions, even if the rules seem engrained.

Scribe: Tell us about a recent book/project that you worked on that excited you and you want everyone to know about? 

SB: I’ve loved every second of working with Texas’s own Amanda Churchill, author of The Turtle House, which published earlier this year. But another brilliant book that is forthcoming next month is the third novel from Aysegul Savas, The Anthropologists. It’s about a couple in an unnamed city who are trying to buy an apartment and build a home. It’s sly and warm and asks questions about how our tiniest everyday decisions build into something like a life.

Thanks, Sarah!

Click here for more information on the 2024 Agents & Editors Conference, a weekend long event in Austin, TX (June 21-23) that focuses on the craft of writing, the business of publishing, and building a literary community.