I was drawn into the world of literature by default when my sister’s growing collection of books in our tiny room in began to overflow onto my bed. Born to Pakistani immigrants in Sri Lanka, and knowing how to express myself only in English for the first fifteen years of my life, I found comfort in reading about other culturally displaced people, unable to communicate in their native tongues, and hesitant to assert themselves in environments where there were few examples of people like them. Moving to Pakistan and absorbing what it meant to be an educated and empowered girl coming of age in a traditional Islamic society contributed greatly to my desire to seek similar narratives, especially from other women. I took the next step in my immigrant journey by moving to the United States to study Economics and Middle Eastern Studies at Wellesley College. I then studied modern Persian Literature at the University of Chicago, where I helped edit our department’s academic journal. After a stint at Sourcebooks as an Editorial Intern, I joined the team at Talcott Notch Literary, and the rest is history.
Being an author today is an entrepreneurial endeavor, and I see my role as my clients’ primary advocate as they navigate each and every stage of the publishing process – from digging deep into developing their craft, to representing their interests zealously even after they find homes for their books. I am also committed to highlighting marginalized voices with bright careers ahead of them and compelling stories to tell; stories that demonstrate the true range of perspectives that exist in this world, and address urgent and often underexplored issues with veracity and heart. For a complete list of the genres I work in, visit my website and check out my #MSWL.
I’m also proud to be on the steering committee for People of Color in Publishing, a grassroots organization working to serve the interests of publishing professionals of color.
When I’m not reading, you’ll probably find me running after my two small children, secretly learning another foreign language, playing Scrabble, watching a Bollywood movie, or singing in the bathroom (the acoustics, am I right?)
I’m currently open to the following genres:
Adult: up-market literary and commercial fiction, romance (all subgenres except paranormal), character-driven psychological thrillers, cozy mysteries, and memoir.
Young Adult: all subgenres except paranormal, fantasy, and sci-fi. I’m particularly interested in contemporary realistic YA — anything with heart, humor, and personality. But if you’ve got a fast-paced, chilling mystery, I’m all ears.
Middle Grade: anything that’s smart, accessible and written with flair. Whether it’s quirky and funny, or just plain sweet and heartwarming — it’s no big secret that this is my favorite category. Also, I’d love anything Roald Dahl-esque.
I’m looking for strong voices and unconventional narratives that really make me sit up, pay attention, and move me. Introduce me to unforgettable characters with complex, deep relationships, and show me worlds where things aren’t necessarily as they seem. Intelligent, sharp writing with soul is my biggest weakness, and if you can offer a fresh perspective on top of that, I’ll probably be sold.
Also — and this deserves its own paragraph — I’m all about diversity, in all its various forms. Bonus points if your book contains multicultural perspectives, and themes of immigration, displacement, and cultural adjustment.
Saba’s Upcoming Appearances:
As many writers know, agents and editors won’t give your work more than ten pages or so to make an impact. If you haven’t got them hooked by then, it’s a safe bet you won’t be asked for more material. Make sure you’ve got the kind of opening they’re looking for! In this invaluable event, you’ll get to work with an agent online to review and refine the first ten pages of your novel or non-fiction book. You’ll learn what keeps an agent reading, what are the most common mistakes that make them stop, and the steps you need to take to correct them.
Saba’s Latest Deals
September 30, 2019 – LIVE WITH THAT, by Kyle Lukoff
Children’s: Middle Grade Fiction
Author of A STORYTELLING OF RAVENS and WHEN AIDAN BECAME A BROTHER Kyle Lukoff’s LIVE WITH THAT, about an 11-year-old coming into a new gender identity, all while dealing with a ghost who may or may not be their recently deceased uncle, to Ellen Cormier at Dial, in a good deal, at auction, in a two-book deal, for publication in spring 2021, by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services (world).
July 12, 2019 – LAXMI’S MOOCH, by Shelly Anand and Nabi Ali
Children’s: Picture book
Debut author Shelly Anand’s LAXMI’S MOOCH, about an Indian-American girl who gets teased at school for having a mustache, but then embarks on a personal journey towards accepting herself and her heritage, and eventually celebrates her mooch in all its glory, illustrated by Nabi Ali, to Namrata Tripathi at Kokila, in a nice deal, for publication in spring 2021, by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services for the author, and by James Burns at The Bright Group for the illustrator (world).
August 7, 2018 – MUSLIM GIRLS RISE, by Saira Mir and Aaliya Jaleel
Children’s: Picture book
Saira Mir’s MUSLIM GIRLS RISE, a collection of short biographies introducing young readers to nineteen extraordinary 21st-century Muslim women who are doing important, inspirational work to change the world, illustrated by Aaliya Jaleel, to Zareen Jaffery at Salaam Reads, at auction, for publication in 2020, by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services (world).
Rights: Terrie Wolf at AKA Literary Management
July 26, 2018 – THE COMPLICATED MATH OF TWO PLUS ONE, by Cathleen Barnhart
Children’s: Middle Grade Fiction
Debut author Cathleen Barnhart’s THE COMPLICATED MATH OF TWO PLUS ONE, in which best friends have to figure out how to deal with their confusion and hurt when the boy’s attempts at flirting go too far, to Courtney Stevenson at Harper Children’s, for publication in 2020, by Saba Sulaiman at Talcott Notch Literary Services (world English).