Maggie Riggs was an Editor at Viking, Penguin Group. She is equally accomplished in both fiction and nonfiction. Some of her notable fiction titles have been Adrianne Harun’s A Man, Came Out of a Door in the Mountain, Steward O’Nan’s Emily, Alone, Kristopher Jansma’s The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards, and Timothy S. Lane's Rules for Becoming a Legend.
Similarly, notable titles are Stacy Cordery’s Juliette Gordon Low, Jennifer Ringer’s Dancing Through It, Tanner Colby's Some of My Best Friends Are Black, Allen Shawn’s Twin, Sugar Ray Leonard's The Big Fight, and the critical claimed historical book, Freedom Summer by award winning author Bruce Watson.
At Penguin Random House, she worked closely with debut novelists and seasoned historians, comedians and ballerinas, journalists and scientists, and helped authors at all stages of their careers transform their work from solid drafts to publication-ready projects. As a literary agent, she honed and identified ideas and stories that were working and guided writers toward producing polished, submission-ready work from the very earliest stages of a manuscript's development.
One of the most important things she’s learned in her decade-plus of working with authors is how isolating the writing process can be. Her goal for every project she has the privilege of working on is to give writers the tools they need to find their voice and to tell the best possible version of their story--and to be that support they need.
As an independent editor, she’s very excited to put all of these skills and experiences to work with authors at all stages of their careers, and especially those who are just beginning their journeys. From a manuscript assessment to a full developmental edit or support with the (always wildly stressful) query letter process, she’s happy to work with you on developing a plan together that best meets your specific needs and goals.
Maggie’s select booklist and a recent testimonial from Emma Slolely, the author of Disaster’s Children can be found below.
"Working with Maggie on my novel was a joy. Her notes and edits were thoughtful, precise, and full of insight, and I appreciated that she showed a deep understanding of the story and where it needed to go. She has the rare ability to see where editorial changes are needed while also knowing when to let the story breathe, and her warm and supportive approach ensures the writer-editor relationship is a productive and enjoyable one."
--Emma Sloley; Macdowell Fellow, Pushcart Nominee
“Harun is heir apparent to Louise Erdrich and Harry Crews...Readers will be swept away by this breathless, absorbing novel.”— Claire Vaye Watkins, The New York Times Book Review
In this mysterious and chilling novel, girls, mostly Native, are vanishing from the sides of a notorious highway in the isolated Pacific Northwest. Leo Kreutzer and his friends are barely touched by these disappearances - until a series of enigmatic strangers arrive in their remote mountain town, beguiling and bewitching them. It seems as if the devil himself has appeared among them.
The intoxicatingly lush debut novel by the acclaimed author of The King of Limbo, A Man Came Out of a Door in the Mountain is an unsettling portrait of life in a dead-end town, as seductive and beautifully written as the devil’s dark arts are wielded.
“In this novel by an American master, four middle-aged friends, once members of the same high school band, reunite in their Wyoming hometown thirty years later, reconciling the people they’ve become with the kids they used to be.” — O, The Oprah Magazine
“[A] moving novel about friendship, forgiveness, and mortality.” — Nancy Pearl, NPR’s Morning Edition
— The Atlantic
Ron Carlson has always been a critics’ favorite, but Return to Oakpine shows the acclaimed writer at his finest. In this tender and nostalgic portrait of western American life, Carlson tells the story of four middle-aged friends who once played in a band while growing up together in small-town Wyoming. One of them, Jimmy Brand, left for New York City and became an admired novelist. Thirty years later in 1999, he’s returned to die. Craig Ralston and Frank Gunderson never left Oakpine; Mason Kirby, a Denver lawyer, is back on family business. Jimmy’s arrival sends the other men’s dreams and expectations, realized and deferred, whirling to the surface. And now that they are reunited, getting the band back together might be the most essential thing they ever do.
"At times, the novel is a string of short stories; at others, it is a set of matryoshka dolls, containing, at one point, a novel within a short story within a novella within a novel...Jansma approaches them with wry humor and a steady hand. The narrator's games never fail to entertain, even if he is constantly changing the rules."- The New Yorker
“F. Scott Fitzgerald meets Wes Anderson…[T]he novel strikes a cord on questions of authenticity, love, and ambition, and it reminds us that life is often out of our control, even if we’re writing it down.”- The Village Voice
As early as he can remember, the narrator of this remarkable novel has wanted to become a writer. From the jazz clubs of Manhattan to the villages of Sri Lanka, Kristopher Jansma’s hopelessly unreliable - yet hopelessly earnest - narrator will be haunted by the success of his greatest friend and literary rival, the brilliant Julian McGann, and endlessly enamored with Evelyn, the green-eyed girl who got away. A
profound exploration of the nature of truth and storytelling, this delightful picaresque tale heralds Jansma as a bold, new American voice.
Jimmy “Kamikaze” Kirkus is a basketball star, destined for a legendary future in the NBA. At the age of five, he can make nine shots in a row. By high school, he’s got his own Sports Illustrated profile. To the citizens of Columbia City, it seems like he was born for the sport.
But Jimmy soon confronts the “Kirkus curse” when tragedies begin to emerge. Not even basketball can save him from his family’s sorrow-filled past..
His eventual defeat on the court echoes another disastrous legacy: Jimmy’s father, Todd “Freight Train” Kirkus—who had also dreamed of basketball stardom—was forced to give up his dream for a life defined by the curse of his name. Can Jimmy find a way to end this cycle of tragedy?
Populated with complex, compelling characters, Rules for Becoming a Legend is proof that every hero is human, and sometimes triumph is borne from tragedy.
“Wild, dreamy debut . . . these stories are full of wit, humor, and heart. . . . Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day is a wonderful introduction to a writer capable of finding inspiration in the most unlikely of places.”
— Boston Globe
“Very good fun . . .Playing with and sometimes combining genres, including horror, allegory and fairy tale, Loory refreshes the story form while acknowledging apprenticeship to such masters as Ray Bradbury and Franz Kafka.”
— San Francisco Chronicle
“Lovely tales of the fantastic.”
— Elle Magazine (An “Elle Recommends” Pick)
Loory's collection of wry and witty, dark and perilous contemporary fables is populated by people- and monsters and trees and jocular octopi- who are united by twin motivations: fear and desire. In his singular universe, televisions talk (and sometimes sing), animals live in small apartments where their nephews visit from the sea, and men and women and boys and girls fall down wells and fly through space and find love on Ferris wheels. In a voice full of fable, myth, and dream, Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day draws us into a world of delightfully wicked recognitions, and introduces us to a writer of uncommon talent and imagination.
“Relentlessly honest, O’Nan never averts his eyes from the unpleasant eruptions of the body or soul, nor is he shy of giving affection, admiration, and tolerance their due…O’Nan’s settings - the bus from Ohio, the bridal suite in the hotel, the layers of the casino, the freezing Falls, the Heart concert - are rendered with such vivid intelligence that they have the verve of the exotic.” - The Atlantic
“[O’Nan] arrives here at a pin-sharp narrative that, importantly, retains his natural empathy for people worn nearly raw by life’s cares…How O’Nan saves his story from debilitating darkness or cringing sentimentality presents an impressive reading experience." - Booklist, starred review
Stewart O'Nan's thirteenth novel is another wildly original, bittersweet gem like his celebrated Last Night at the Lobster. Valentine's weekend, Art and Marion Fowler flee their Cleveland suburb for Niagara Falls, desperate to recoup their losses. Jobless, with their home approaching foreclosure and their marriage on the brink of collapse, Art and Marion liquidate their savings account and book a bridal suite at the Falls' ritziest casino for a second honeymoon. While they sightsee like tourists during the day, at night they risk it all at the roulette wheel to fix their finances-and save their marriage. A tender yet honest exploration of faith, forgiveness and last chances, The Odds is a reminder that love, like life, is always a gamble.
"The Bellwether Revivals is a stunningly good debut novel, a thrilling story of music and its hold on a group of young people's minds and lives. Ben Wood writes with vigor, precision and intensity, with a story that will keep readers up all night." - Steven Galloway, author of Ascension and The Cellist of Sarajevo
When bright and bookish Oscar Lowe follows the haunting sound of an organ into the chapel of Kings College, Cambridge, one day, his whole world changes. He meets a beautiful and seductive medical student, Iris Bellwether, and her charismatic and troubled brother Eden. Oscar is seduced by their life of scholarship and privilege, but when Eden convinces Iris and her close-knit group of friends to participate in a series of disturbing experiments, Oscar fears he has entered into something from which he cannot escape. Reminiscent of Donna Tartt’sThe Secret History, The Bellwether Revivals is a gripping exploration of the line between genius and madness that will hold readers spellbound until its breathtaking conclusion.
“O’Nan’s best novel yet...It’s heartbreaking stuff - I will confess that I found myself sobbing at certain, often unexpected, points...and yet the novel’s brilliance lies just as much in O’Nan’s innate comic timing, which often stems from Emily’s self-imposed isolation from, and disgust with, the modern world.” - The New York Times Book Review
The moving companion novel to Henry, Himself and a bittersweet vision of love, family, and aging from bestselling author Stewart O'Nan
A sequel to the bestselling, much-beloved Wish You Were Here, Stewart O'Nan's intimate new novel follows Emily Maxwell, a widow whose grown children have long moved away. She dreams of visits by her grandchildren while mourning the turnover of her quiet Pittsburgh neighborhood, but when her sole companion and sister-in-law Arlene faints at their favorite breakfast buffet, Emily's days change. As she grapples with her new independence, she discovers a hidden strength and realizes that life always offers new possibilities. Like most older women, Emily is a familiar yet invisible figure, one rarely portrayed so honestly. Her mingled feelings - of pride and regret, joy and sorrow - are gracefully rendered in wholly unexpected ways. Once again making the ordinary and overlooked not merely visible but vital to understanding our own lives, Emily, Alone confirms O'Nan as an American master.
"Some of My Best Friends Are Black is a wonderful book that deserves to be read widely by white and black Americans and both by young and old. It tells the story of post-civil rights American society in a down-to-earth manner combining sense and sensibility." - New York Journal of Books
Almost fifty years after Martin Luther King, Jr.’s "I Have a Dream" speech, equality is the law of the land, but actual integration is still hard to find. Mammoth battles over forced busing, unfair housing practices, and affirmative action have hardly helped. The bleak fact is that black people and white people in the United States don’t spend much time together - at work, school, church, or anywhere. Tanner Colby, himself a child of a white-flight Southern suburb, set out to discover why.
Some of My Best Friends Are Black chronicles America’s troubling relationship with race through four interrelated stories. Writing with a reporter’s nose and a stylist’s flair, Colby uncovers the deep emotional fault lines set trembling by race and takes an unflinching look at an America still struggling to reach the mountaintop.
"Here is a past of fear and hate, but also of courage and bravery, all given a narrator's - a scholar's - knowing and wise documentary attention." -Robert Coles, author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning Children of Crisis series
In his critically acclaimed history Freedom Summer, award-winning author Bruce Watson presents powerful testimony about a crucial episode in the American civil rights movement. During the sweltering summer of 1964, more than seven hundred American college students descended upon segregated, reactionary Mississippi to register black voters and educate black children. On the night of their arrival, the worst fears of a race-torn nation were realized when three young men disappeared, thought to have been murdered by the Ku Klux Klan. Taking readers into the heart of these remarkable months, Freedom Summer shines new light on a critical moment of nascent change in America.
“A glimpse into the fragile psyche of a dancer.” - The Washington Post
"I had a hard time putting the book down, and I teared up several times.” - Wendy Perron, author of Through the Eyes of a Dancer, and editor at large, Dance Magazine
Jenifer Ringer, a principal dancer with the New York City Ballet, was thrust into the headlines after her weight was commented on by a New York Times critic, and her response ignited a public dialogue about dance and weight.
Ballet aficionados and aspiring performers of all ages will want to join Ringer behind the scenes as she shares her journey from student to star and candidly discusses both her struggle with an eating disorder and the media storm that erupted after the Times
review. An unusually upbeat account of life on the stage, Dancing Through It is also a coming-of-age story and an inspiring memoir of faith and of triumph over the body issues that torment all too many women and men.
"An unsparing but deeply compassionate inquiry into his family's life. It's a book that combines the sympathetic insight of Oliver Sack's Oliver writings with Joan Didion's autobiographical candor and Mary Karr's sense of familial dynamics - a book that leaves the reader with a haunting sense of how relationships between brothers and sisters, and parents and children, can irrevocably bend the arc of an individual's life, how childhood dynamics can shape one's apprehension of the world." - Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times
"Astonishing...exhilarating." - The New York Observer
When Allen Shawn and his twin sister, Mary, were two, Mary began exhibiting signs of what would be diagnosed many years later as autism. Understanding Mary and making her life a happy one appeared to be impossible for the Shawns. At the age of eight, with almost no warning, her parents sent Mary to a residential treatment center. She never lived at home again.
Fifty years later, as he probed the sources of his anxieties in Wish I Could Be There, Shawn realized that his fate was inextricably linked to his sister's, and that their natures were far from being different.
"This biography brings to life the woman whose efforts galvanized an entire nation of young women. 'Long Live Girl Scouts!' may be the cry on readers' lips after finishing this tribute to a spirited and inspirational American leader." - Kirkus Reviews
In celebration of the Girl Scouts' centennial, a lively salute to its maverick founder
Born at the start of the Civil War, Juliette Gordon Low grew up in Georgia, where she struggled to reconcile being a good Southern belle with her desire to run barefoot through the fields. Deafened by an accident, "Daisy" married a dashing British aristocrat and moved to England. But she was ultimately betrayed by her husband and dissatisfied by the aimlessness of privileged life. Her search for a greater purpose ended when she met Robert Baden-Powell, war hero, adventurer, and founder of the Boy Scouts. Captivated with his program, Daisy aimed to instill the same useful skills and moral values in young girls - with an emphasis on fun. She imported the Boy Scouts' sister organization, the Girl Guides, to Savannah in 1912. Rechristened the Girl Scouts, it grew rapidly because of Juliette Low's unquenchable determination and energetic, charismatic leadership.
“America will not be disappointed. Sure to offend some readers, but many more will find plenty of food for thought while also getting in a good laugh. Leary's ribbing of social media, complete with fake tweets from famous individuals, is particularly amusing.” - Kirkus Reviews
In an America so gluten-free that a box of jelly donuts is now a bigger threat than Vladimir Putin, where college kids are more afraid of Ann Coulter than HIV, it’s time for someone to stand up and make us all smell the covfefe. Dr. Denis Leary is that guy.
With Why We DON’T Suck: And How All of Us Need to Stop Being Such Partisan Little Bitches, Denis is on a devoted mission to #MakeAmericaLaughAgain. Using the clamorous political atmosphere as a starting point, he takes a bipartisan look at the topics we all hold so dear to our patriotic hearts - including family, freedom, and the seemingly endless search for fame and diet vodka.
"Book readers should rejoice...Greenlaw's writing sweeps the reader along not only for the incidents at sea but also for her candid reflections about them." - The Huffington Post
New York Times bestselling author Linda Greenlaw tells of her greatest challenge: adopting a teenage daughter
The only female swordfish boat captain in the country and a survivor of the real Perfect Storm, Linda Greenlaw was not a woman to shy away from a challenge. Then came fifteen-year-old Mariah - the greatest force of nature Greenlaw has ever encountered. In this chronicle of becoming a mother to a troubled teenage girl, Greenlaw’s fans will be delighted by her trademark candor and down-to-earth style of storytelling and will see a side of her that’s never been revealed before. New readers, and any parent of a teenage daughter, will find much to empathize with in this brave and heartfelt new memoir.