Niki Chang is a literary agent at The Good Literary Agency. She represents writers of both fiction, non-fiction and some poetry.
Before joining TGLA when it opened its doors in May 2018, Niki started her career at Aitken Alexander Associates through a Creative Access internship. She initially worked in the film, TV and stage department before moving into the literary department where she worked with Clare Alexander alongside building her own list. She has worked as a bookseller and lived in Venezuela where she worked as a music teacher teaching kids to play the violin. Niki is from London and has a BA in Modern Languages & Literature from the University of Cambridge and an MA in Latin American Cultural Studies from Birkbeck. In 2019 she won the London Book Fair Trailblazer Award.
More about Niki and what she loves to read
"My first job in publishing involved reading lots of scripts and manuscripts as well as learning how books are made into films, TV shows and plays. It was amazing to work at the intersection of these different creative media but above all, it cemented my love for different kinds and modes of storytelling. When I moved into literary agenting proper, I wanted to make sure my list reflected this love of form and the manifold ways in which writers express themselves through storytelling. It was also important to me to represent an array of writers from different backgrounds and that my list celebrated the diversity of contemporary society.
My taste is pretty catholic but I do tend towards more literary, voice-driven writing as well as nuanced characters and a finely-wrought plot. Miriam Toews’ All My Puny Sorrows, Elizabeth Strout’s Amy & Isabelle and Donna Tartt’s The Secret History are good examples of novels which are beautifully written but also page-turning. I’m interested in global stories and stories that take us to faraway places as well as writing which reimagines the ordinary, the familiar and the everyday. I love writers such as Gabriel García Márquez, Hanya Yanagihara, Toni Morrison, Garth Greenwell and Kazuo Ishiguro. Short story writers I admire include Borges, David Szalay, Jenny Zhang, Junot Díaz and Kevin Barry.
In non-fiction, I am looking for big ideas books with a strong concept, a rigorous critical and theoretical framework - be it experiential, academic or journalistic - and a foundation in research. The best non-fiction books for me reappraise the world as we know it in an entertaining way; books that do this include Simon Critchley’s Notes on Suicide and Yuval Noah Harari’s Sapiens.
I love non-fiction books which are rather unhelpfully labelled narrative or creative. I like this kind of writing because it is often hybrid in nature, straddling, blending and pushing up against different genres. The ways these books convey their arguments are as much through the force of their language as the subject matter itself. Writers I like in this vein include Zadie Smith, Olivia Laing, Margo Jefferson, Ruby Tandoh, Jia Tolentino and Rebecca Solnit.
I am also interested in memoir & biography, cultural studies & criticism, self-help with crossover appeal, lifestyle, art & design books and food writing."