114 Literary Agent Holly McGhee

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Holly McGhee and I talk about her childhood in the country and how she went from selling corn out of a pickup truck to founding Pippin Properties Inc, an agency that has profoundly shaped the face of modern children’s literature. We chat about her relationship with author Kate DiCamillo both as a client and as a friend, and how it led to the creation of Holly McGhee’s new picture book, WHAT THE WORLD COULD MAKE. We also discuss ghosts, discovering hints of the mystery of the universe, a bird’s eye view of a literary agency, writing for art rather than money, the importance of focusing on your next book, the qualities of a successful author, and so much more. Holly McGhee still carried MADELINE around in 3rd grade — until Mrs. Carrier, her school librarian, tricked her into reading longer books by giving her one with her name on it, HOLLY IN THE SNOW. After college, Holly headed straight into the book world of New York City, where she has enjoyed being a secretary, an advertising manager, a sales rep (for one month), and in the six years prior to opening the doors at Pippin, an executive editor at HarperCollins. Now, as the President and Creative Director of Pippin she is dedicated to shepherding books that make a difference into the world. Someone once told her, “If you love what you do, you never work a day in your life,” and that has proven true for her.

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