Sandra Dijkstra

Sandra Dijkstra is the founder, owner, and president of the Sandra Dijkstra Literary Agency. She is agent to authors in the arenas of both fiction (literary and commercial) and nonfiction (including history, politics, current affairs, business, science, and religion). Truly bicoastal, Sandra was born in the Bronx, schooled in the East, then came west to grad school at UC Berkeley. Over thirty-five years ago, she brought to her agenting a literary taste honed by a Ph.D. in French literature, a keen editorial eye trained during a decade of university teaching, and, on the business front, her homegrown New York selling smarts. Over the years, Newsweek dubbed her "the best agent in the West," Esquire chose her as one of the nation's "top five literary agents," and the Los Angeles Times proclaimed her an "├╝ber-agent" and "the most powerful literary agent on the West Coast."

Sandra looks for writers with something significant to say, who know how to say it in a unique way, and whose books will make a difference. Her hallmark is an eye for quality fiction that sells well, and on the literary fiction side, her roster of authors includes authors such as Maxine Hong Kingston (Woman Warrior), Amy Tan (The Joy Luck Club and, most recently, The Valley of Amazement), Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan and, recently, China Dolls), Chitra Divakaruni (Mistress of Spices and most recently Before We Visit the Goddess), and Anchee Min (Red Azalea and Cooked Seed), among others. On the mystery/thriller side, she champions bestsellers Diane Mott Davidson (the Queen of the Culinary Mystery), and Cosmopolitan editor Kate White. And, on the children's front, she is Stellaluna author/illustrator Janell Cannon's proud agent.

Sandra has a passionate concern that our books contribute to making this world a better place. She represented Susan Faludi's bestseller, Backlash, and is the advocate for a leading group of investigative journalists, including the Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin (whose Terror Courts: Rough Justice at Guantanamo Bay received rave reviews), the Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik and Tom Hamburger, The Washington Post's Peter Wallsten, and ProPublica's T. Christian Miller, among others. She is proud to have championed the work of two important critics of our times, Mike Davis (Ecology of Fear) and the late Chalmers Johnson (Blowback). Sandra is agent to major American historians, many of them award-winning, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Eric Foner, Stephen Hahn, and Leon Litwack, Ian Morris (Why the West Rules—for Now), and historians of the slave trade Ira Berlin (The Making of African America) and Marcus Rediker (Slave Ship), amongst others. Her history list proudly features civil libertarian Peter Irons (A People's History of the Supreme Court), Marilyn Yalom (The Social Sex), National Book Award-winner Adrienne Mayor (The Amazons), and many more.

In addition, Sandra has developed a strong list on the science front, featuring such gurus as Don Norman (Emotional Design, and his new edition of Design of Everyday Things), Irvin Yalom (Creatures of a Day), Dr. Gary Small (The Memory Bible), Jordan Fisher Smith (Engineering Eden), and Bernd Heinrich (Winter WorldThe Mind of the Raven), as well as, on the business side, bestseller Joel Greenblatt (The Little Book That Beats the Market), David Einhorn's Fooling Some of the People All of the Time, and the Herman Miller company's Max De Pree’s classic (Leadership Is an Art). On the realm of religion, Sandra champions award-winning scholar Paula Fredriksen (Augustine and the Jews) and bestseller Stephen Prothero (Religious Literacy and God Is Not One).

Her goal is to help authors realize their dreams, supporting their work through each phase of the publishing process, so that their books reach the widest readership, here and abroad, and in as many formats as possible. To that end, she has assembled a powerful team of colleagues, each of whom have their own list, representing a wide range of genres.

Read On Being Out There: Being a Literary Agent on the West Coast" by Sandra Dijkstra