Molly O’Neill is a literary agent with Root Literary. For the past sixteen years, she has held various roles inside the publishing industry: previously, she was an Editor at HarperCollins Children's Books, where she acquired Veronica Roth's juggernaut Divergent series, among many other fantastic projects; the Head of Editorial at Storybird, a publishing/tech start-up; a member of the School & Library Marketing departments at both HarperCollins and Clarion Books; and an Agent at Waxman Leavell Literary Agency.
Molly loves the creative process and early-stage project development, is invigorated by business strategy and entrepreneurial thinking, and is fascinated by the intersections of art, commerce, creativity, and innovation. Molly is especially passionate about the people behind books, and takes pride in discovering and evangelizing talented authors and illustrators, expanding the global reach of their work, and finding new ways to build connections and community among creators, readers, stories, and their champions. She hunts for new talent and speaks about the importance of books for young people at a variety of conferences for writers, illustrators, and educators around the world each year; is on the faculty of the Columbia Publishing Course, where she helps train new generations of publishing professionals; and is a full agent member of the Association of Authors’ Representatives (AAR).
Books that Molly has worked on have become #1 New York Times Bestsellers, have been made into major motion pictures, and have received countless other awards, honors, and accolades. Most recently, her clients have received honors including: National Book Awards nomination, the William C. Morris YA Debut Award, the Asian/Pacific American Award for Young Adult Literature, Goodreads Choice Awards nomination, and the Horn Book Fiction & Poetry Honor Award, among many others.
Molly is an alum of Marquette University, an erstwhile Texan, and a current dweller of Brooklyn, NY. She is drawn to authors and artists who constantly challenge themselves, who are adept at communicating with their audiences, who are creative and flexible thinkers, and who have as much enthusiasm for their readers as for their own successes. Wit, strong writing, vivid settings, a passion for craft, or a well-timed reaction gif will always catch her eye.
She is assisted in her work by Captain Von Smooch, a highly skilled negotiator/agent-in-training.