Creative Writing

Landing a Job in Literary Publishing:
A Conversation with Cassie Mannes-Murray

December, 2019



Department of Creative Writing: How did you come to work as a literary agent while still in the MFA program?

Cassie Mannes-Murray: In January, I started interning for Carrie Howland at Howland Literary after reading her client, Kaitlyn Greenidge’s book, in Nina DeGramont’s class. I sent a cold email asking if she needed any help and she did. Carrie is the most generous mentor and has taught me so much in a short time, and then in September, I was promoted to Assistant Literary Agent, and began taking on my own clients in November. 


DCW: And you represent fabulous alumna Emma Bolden [MFA ’05]?

CMM: Emma is an amazing poet, I think most people know, but she’s a gifted prose writer as well, who actually also wrote one of my recommendation letters to attend UNCW. I knew that she had been working on a nonfiction manuscript and I asked to see it, and we decided after a few conversations to work together towards publication. I got incredibly lucky to sign Emma; her work is affirming, honest, vulnerable, and yet strong and matter-of-fact.


DCW: How did UNCW help shape this opportunity?

CMM: When two UNCW folks come together, I think it’s always a genius thing—I’m so thankful for this community and what it has given me this far in terms of writing practice, but also the push from publishing staff to really know the industry we’re entering like Michael Ramos, Emily Smith, and Sayantani Dasgupta. 

We are also so excited to be bringing in two new interns this spring (thank you, Tim Bass!) who are brilliant UNCW BFA undergraduates: Cheyenne Faircloth and Joshalyn Walters. 


Cassie Mannes-Murray’s website with her work and portfolio can be found here.

Cassie Mannes-Murray