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Kayla Lightner

An agent with Ayesha Pande Literary (see other agents at this agency).


11 members set this agent as a Favorite.

Prior to joining Ayesha Pande Literary in 2020, Kayla started her career at Liza Dawson Associates. She also managed APL’s subsidiary rights department for two years before transitioning to full-time agent. Her client list includes multi-award-winning actor, Delroy Lindo; multi-award-winning journalist and food writer, Annabelle Tometich; and Vice, Teen Vogue, and Longreads contributor, Minda Honey. Kayla is an adventurous reader who loves stories (typically adult; though there are a select few middle-grade titles on her list) within upmarket fiction, literary fiction, and nonfiction. She’s looking for writers that can masterfully straddle the line between story-telling and teaching readers something new (about themselves, their communities, or the world we live in). Kayla is a Georgia native and earned her B.A. in English from Vassar College. When Kayla’s not reading, she can be found writing, reminiscing on her rugby days, and trying to retain her (waning) fluency in French by watching French shows on Netflix.

This agent may not respond to all queries. After waiting 56 days, assume your submission will not be accepted.


United States

Fiction Open

Within Commercial Fiction, she’s looking for… Speculative Fiction that introduces the reader to some secret/obscure society that plays a significant (but unknown) role in the workings of the world like Big Machine by Victor Lavalle and The Intuitionist by Colson Whitehead. Science Fiction that integrates west indie or African folklore like Midnight Robber by Nalo Hopkinson and the Binti series by Nnedi Okorafor; Novels that take place in a hierarchic/flawed society that blurs the lines between utopia and dystopia in the tradition of Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World; A story about an fleshed out, multi-dimensional, and unapologetically ruthless female dictator with a complicated past. Horror grounded in history, dealing with race, or revealing that real people/social institutions can be far more terrifying than fictionalized monsters, like Colson Whitehead’s Nickel Boys. Fantasy that contains a unique, non-Eurocentric pantheon, gods that interfere in the lives of mortals, and comprehensive magic systems that are rooted in African, Caribbean, or West Indian folklore like Nalo Hopkinson’s Brown Girl in the Ring; Stories with magical realism elements set in isolated southern towns like Mama Day by Gloria Naylor. Domestic Thrillers that are smart, fast-paced, and make the reader squeal in delight as they get to watch messy characters reap what they sow– if you took any article from The Cut and turned it into a novel. Within Literary Fiction, she’s looking for… Short Story collections that explore the experiences of black women in a manner that is both funny and poignant like Heads of the Colored People by Nafissa Thompson-Spires Satire (either as a short story collection or a novel) that pokes fun at the “American Dream” in the vein of George Saunders Civilwarland in Bad Decline or Paul Beety’s The Sellout. Family Sagas that are rooted in the immigrant experience like Zadie Smith’s White Teeth or that wrestle with the sins of the mother, father, and daughter too like Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver.


Open to a broad Audience.

General General
Fantasy FantasyOpen to all/most Subgenres, including: Magic Realism.
Horror HorrorSubgenre: Historical.
Science Fiction Science FictionSubgenre: Dystopian.
Suspense/Thriller Suspense/ThrillerOpen to all/most Subgenres.
Novel Novel

Open to all/most Styles, including: Literary, Mainstream, Satirical.


Open to all/most Topics, including: Society/Culture (Ethnicity/Race, See guidelines).


Method: Online form.
Simultaneous submissions: Simultaneous submissions are allowed.

Nonfiction Open

Narrative Nonfiction that teaches the reader something about an overlooked demographic, their way of life, and how they see the world like J.D. Vance’s Hillbilly Elegy or Anne Fadiman’s The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down; Would also love to work with a female sports journalist that covers female coaches in the NBA. Memoirs about growing up in the south (bonus points if you can incorporate southern cuisine/soul food); the experiences of first-generation college students at prestigious PWI’s (like Casey Gerald’s There Will Be No Miracles Here); and the experiences of WOC in comedy. Essay Collections that are smart, funny, and speak to girlhood and womanhood like Morgan Jerkins’ This Will Be My Undoing or mental health like I’m Telling the Truth, But I’m Lying by Bassey Ikpi; or that talk about horror movie history and tropes.


Open to a broad Audience.

Nonfiction Collection Nonfiction Collection
Book Book

Open to all/most Styles, including: Literary, Mainstream, Personal.


Open to all/most Topics, including: Memoir (General, See guidelines), Sexuality/Gender (Women/Female issues, See guidelines).


Method: Online form.
Simultaneous submissions: Simultaneous submissions are allowed.

Always check guidelines for details and restrictions. If you aren't familiar with these terms, see our glossary.

Kayla Lightner Submission Statistics — Free Preview!

The statistics in this section are compiled from submission reports sent to us through our submission tracker. They are not provided by the agency or by Duotrope's admins. Information in this section is updated a few times per day. Learn more about the statistics.
AccuracyWe have received 1 report within the past 12 months, not including pending responses (see below). The more responses reported, the more accurate the information.
Pending2 responses are pending (17 min | 31.0 mean avg | 31.0 median | 45 max days waiting | 19.8 std dev) from 2 different members This only includes pending reports from users who have been active on Duotrope within the past 30 days

Other Information

The agent will try to make a decision within 56 days. (100.0 % of the responses reported to us for this listing have taken longer than 56 days.)
This agent may not respond to all queries. After waiting the time indicated above, assume your submission will not be accepted.

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Last Updated: 13 Jun 2024
Last Audited: 25 Jan 2024. (We audit each active listing twice a year. Learn more at link.)
Date Added: 04 Feb 2020

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