Sandra Dijkstra

Agent to authors in the arenas of nonfiction (including history, politics, current affairs, business, and science), and quality fiction which crosses over between literary and commercial, Sandra’s mission is to champion authors whose books make a difference.

Bi-coastal, Sandra was born in the Bronx, schooled in the East, and then came West to get her M.A. in Comparative Literature at UC Berkeley, bringing to her agenting a literary taste also 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. Within her first decade of agenting, 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 distinctive and compelling way, and whose books help to make this a better world.

She is, perhaps, best-known for her eye for quality fiction that sells well, representing literary icons such as Amy Tan, Maxine Hong Kingston, Lisa See, Nobel Prize-winner Mo Yan, Chitra Divakaruni, Shobha Rao, and Jasmin Darznik, among many others. On the mystery/thriller side, she has championed such bestsellers as Diane Mott Davidson, the Queen of the Culinary Mystery. And, on the children's front, she is Stellaluna author/illustrator Janell Cannon's proud agent.

Sandra is also agent to major American historians, including Pulitzer Prize-winners Eric Foner, Steven Hahn, the late Leon Litwack, and National Book Award finalist Adrienne Mayor. She is proud to represent renowned historian of ideas, Michael Kazin; scholars of the slave trade, Marcus Rediker, and the late Ira Berlin; Immigration Studies historians Mae Ngai and Erika Lee; historian and BLM activist Barbara Ransby; historian of the “long view” of civilization, Ian Morris; Jewish Studies historian Steve Ross; Religious Studies historians Steven Prothero, Paula Fredriksen, and Matt Sutton; feminist historians Elaine Tyler May and the late Marilyn Yalom, as well as championing Susan Faludi’s Backlash; prize-winning LGBTQ historian Lillian Faderman; dance historian Lynn Garafola, and many more.

The advocate for a leading group of investigative journalists, Sandra has championed the work of the Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger, the Los Angeles Times' Michael Hiltzik and the Wall Street Journal's Jess Bravin, and ProPublica's T. Christian Miller, among others. 

On the science front, her list features design guru Don Norman; the father of Group Therapy, Dr. Irvin Yalom; expert on aging, Dr. Gary Small; and uber-naturalist Bernd Heinrich. On the business side, she is proud to represent bestseller Joel Greenblatt, and to have agented Max DePree’s classic Leadership Is an Art, and succeeding books.

Sandra’s 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 has her own list, representing a wide range of genres, and each determined to make it happen for the authors they represent.

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