The HSW Literary Agency



Lynne Kositsky

Lynne Kositsky is an award-winning Canadian poet and author. Her poetry has won the prestigious E. J. Pratt Medal and Award, and the Canadian Author and Bookman Award. One of Lynne’s novels, A Question of Will, concerns the Shakespeare authorship question, and was recently on display at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.  Her 2004 Holocaust novel, The Thought of High Windows, was lauded by The Horn Book, Kirkus, The Washington Post, and many other journals and newspapers, besides being shortlisted for several prizes. It recently won the Canadian Jewish Book Award for Youth. Lynne’s first book in the Our Canadian Girl Series, Rachel: A Mighty Big Imagining, won the International Youth Library’s White Raven Award, which is given to books that "contribute to an international understanding of a culture and people.”

Lynne is also a Shakespeare buff, who writes academic essays about the Bard. Her latest article, which was co-authored by Professor Roger Stritmatter, explores the possible influence of William Strachey’s True Reportory on The Tempest, and has been published by Review of English Studies (Oxford University).

Works on Offer:

Young Adult

Minerva’s Voyage
Dundurn Press, 2010

Robin Starveling, a.k.a. Noah Vaile, is scooped off the streets of Bristol and dragged on board a Virginia-bound ship by the murderous William Thatcher, who needs a servant with no past and no future to aid him in a nefarious plot to steal gold. Starveling fits the bill perfectly as he lives nowhere and has no parents. Aboard the ship, Starveling makes friends with a young cabin boy, Peter Fence.

Together, Robin and Peter suffer through a frightening hurricane and are shipwrecked on the mysterious Isle of Devils. They solve the ciphers embedded in the emblems on Thatcher’s sea-chest, which has washed up with the wreck, before making their way through gloomy forests and tortuous labyrinths to a wizard-like old man’s cave on the shore. Beset by danger and villainy, can the two boys discover the old man’s identity, and uncover a treasure that is much rarer and much finer than gold?

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada 

Praise for Minerva’s Voyage:

“…an exhilarating adventure story…. Robin’s first person narration often uses language that is old-fashioned and out-dated, which has the effect of making his character seem believable and authentic. At the same time, the diction in the book stops short of being cumbersome; it does not impede the narrative flow or the comprehension of the modern reader. Robin’s story feels real, and the book’s “Afterward“ provides a much-appreciated explanation that situates the fiction in the actual historical account…. The book’s greatest strength comes from the delightful character of Robin Starveling, someone whom the reader quickly befriends as he humorously battles against his own wickedness and the abuse of his disgusting employer…. Boys and girls alike will be quickly drawn into the adventure as they puzzle out the clues to the treasure along with Fence and Starveling. Highly recommended.”

-- CM Magazine

“The setting on both the ship and the tropical island are stunning. Readers will gasp with horror at conditions on the ship, tremble at the storm scenes and thrill to the tension around the solving of the puzzle. The pace of the plot is relentless and this book is impossible to put down.”

-- Resource Links

The Dancer

A poor Irish boy is orphaned. All he has left in the world are his father's dancing shoes and his mother's flute. When he puts on the shoes, he discovers that he can dance as if bewitched. In order to earn his living, he goes from town to town, entrancing the townspeople who offer him food and lodging. He meets a young girl who encourages him, but leaves her behind as he travels on. At length he reaches a seaside village. A terrible storm blows up, and the Lord of the Sea captures the men when their fishing boats are wrecked in the waves. The Dancer calls out to the Lord of the Sea, asking him to release the men, and the Lord of the sea calls for a dance contest between the Dancer and himself. The Lord is proclaimed the winner, but recognizes the boy's extraordinary talent. Jealous of it, he offers to send the men home safely if the boy promises never to dance again. Heartbroken, the Dancer agrees, and instantly finds himself back on the beach, but without his shoes. He has lost his ability to dance and his way of surviving. At first, when he refuses the villagers' request for him to dance, they grow angry. They finally leave him alone as winter approaches. 

 As he travels from one town to another, the people ignore him. Starving and exhausted, he lies down, using his bundle for a pillow, and notices something hard inside it. When he pulls it out, he realizes it is his mother's flute. He picks it up and plays as if bewitched, drawing everyone to him again. When he revisits the young girl's town, she comes to see him, and as he plays she begins to dance to the music as he once danced. She names him Ireland, for he is the spirit of the land. The two are never parted.

Manuscript available
Rights: World

The Plagues of Kondar
Dundurn Press, Summer 2014

Kondar is a planet with a light side that faces the sun and a dark side trapped in eternal night. Those on Lightside have never met those on dark side, known as Oscura, and doubt they exist.  Arien lives in Kattannya, on Lightside. She is awaiting the return of her parents, but discovers that while crossing Icer Lake they fell through thin ice and drowned.  As is the custom with orphans in her community, Arien is taken to the marketplace to be sold. The chief seer of Vor, Yaddair, purchases her to work for his two wives and care for their children. Yaddair is said to commune with the gods and have magical powers.

Vor is very close to Edge, a high grey wall of fog that divides Lightside from Oscura. The Oscurans are suffering from a terrible plague, and in their wish to escape contagion, some of them fly into Vor, bringing the disease with them.  Desperate to stop the “Edge Dwellers Plague,” the Vorians employ remedies–sometimes peculiar ones–but without success. Yaddair, fighting to regain control after having his leadership challenged, cannot do anything to stop the disease, and is revealed as having no supernatural powers. He decides to quarantine Vor so as not to infect other settlements, but in an ironic twist, sends his own children away with his second wife so that they can escape death. His first wife dies of the plague, after she and Arien nurse the sick. Though Arien becomes ill herself, she is one of the few who recover–largely due to finding the remedy for plague, hints of which are passed onto her telepathically by two mysterious “strangers.” After the quarantine is lifted, she makes a daring decision that will ultimately help not just the dwellers of Vor, but all the inhabitants of Kondar.

The Plagues of Kondar is topical, as new illnesses such as SARS and H1N1 continue to threaten the world. It is loosely based on source material that describes an outbreak of plague in Eyam, Derbyshire in 1665-1666.

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada

Shooting the Breeze

Cecil and Buxtehude Breeze, the train-loving parents of Weird Effie and Little Breeze, cannot go on their usual summer holiday because the train line between Toronto and Vancouver by way of Calgary has shut down. Instead, they rent the line themselves and drag a rusty train from a siding to carry them, their very clumsy nephew Beryl the waiter, and various wacky passengers across the prairie. These include a policeman with a butterfly net to catch burglars, Crying Criselda, and a mysterious nun known to Cecil as Sister Maybelline of the Messy Squirrels.

The staff is comprised of a lion-taming waitress, a rhyming chef, Mr. Calypso, who has a tendency to explode when things aren’t going to plan—as they almost always aren’t—and the dining-car entertainer, Mrs. Esmeralda Bilge, who sleeps in her grand piano with a pudding bowl over her head to keep her hair in place, and plays the keyboard with remarkable imprecision. On board is also all the furniture from the Breezes’ house, a fat cat who sleeps in a teapot, at least seven kittens, a small, bad-tempered hound, and about two hundred butterflies. Will this strange assortment of people, animals, and belongings reach their destination on schedule? Especially as the Breezes always stop for the Sabbath? Ride the train and find out.

Manuscript available
Rights: World

Praise for The Thought of High Windows by Lynne Kositsky:

“Superb, wrenching Holocaust fiction…. Kositsky's poetic and piercing language honors Esther's severe loneliness and the horrors she witnesses.”

-- Kirkus Review

“Kositsky has created an engaging, introspective narrator, and she uses detail to define even minor characters clearly. This is a mature novel, honest about the dangers and uncertainties of life for Jews during World War II.”

-- School Library Journal