The HSW Literary Agency



Richard Scarsbrook

Richard Scarsbrook is a Toronto-based writer and poet. In addition to writing, he acts in and directs theatre productions, plays the drums and harmonica, sings, teaches creative writing courses at George Brown College and Humber College, and occasionally sleeps. He also plays with a rock band called The Nerve.

Richard's short stories and poems have been published widely in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies, and he has won a number of prizes and awards. His first book, Cheeseburger Subversive, is a funny, moving must-read young adult novel. Released in May 2003, it is now in its fourth printing. Featherless Bipeds, the exciting rock ’n’ roll sequel to Cheeseburger Subversive, was shortlisted for the 2007 Young Adult Book Award by the Canadian Library Association, and was a 2008/2009 Stellar Book Award (British Columbia’s Teen Readers’ Choice Award) nominee. Richard’s third young adult novel, the White Pine Award-winning The Monkeyface Chronicles, was published by Thistledown Press in April 2010.

 “Bankrupt,” a short story featuring characters from The Indifference League, Richard’s newest novel, won Matrix magazine/Pop Montreal’s 2009 LitPop Award for fiction. "The Statistician"—also based on characters from The Indifference League—was awarded a Commendation by Philip O'Ceallaigh, judge for the Ireland-based 2009 Seán Ó Faoláin Short Story Competition.

Works on Offer:

The Indifference League
Dundurn Press 2014

The Indifference League is the racy, hilarious, and ultimately moving story of the obsessions and fears of the New Lost Generation.

Each chapter begins with a classic superhero quote; Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and other “Superfriends” voice the selfless and optimistic ideals of the Greatest Generation and their progeny.  Then The Indifference League—The Statistician, Hippie Avenger, SuperKen, SuperBarbie, Miss Demeanour, Mr. Nice Guy, The Drifter, and The Stunner, all archetypes of Generations X and Y—show us just how much things have changed.

Sex and love.  Religion and politics.  Left and Right.  Right and Wrong.  Can anyone be a hero in an age where the lines are so blurred? The members of The Indifference League will fight to find out. Or not.

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada

Nothing Man and the Purple Zero
Dancing Cat Books/Cormorant Books 2013

Marty Apostrophes and Bill Brown are from opposite sides of the tracks, but their friendship allows them to overcome bullies and scrape through classes (with Bill doing the lion’s share of the scraping). Bill’s obsession with the classic cars owned by Marty’s family leads to a joy ride in a 1937 Cord 812 Sportsman, and the accidental foiling of a robbery—which is caught on video by their friend, aspiring teen reporter Elizabeth Murphy.

The video goes viral, and Marty and Bill—or at least, their accidental alter egos, Nothing Man and the Purple Zero—become instant celebrities. Is this a fleeting moment of celebrity? Or are the trio living up to a destiny foretold by a dying principal who reminded them that “Some have greatness thrust upon them”?

In Nothing Man and the Purple Zero, award-winning author Richard Scarsbrook brings us more hilarious adventures from the fictional every-town of Faireville.

Manuscript available
Rights: World, excluding Canada

The Monkeyface Chronicles
Thistledown Press 2010

“The boy they called Monkeyface will return to Faireville with a new face and a new identity, seeking revenge….”

Philip Skyler is born with a severe facial deformity. Scientists call it Van der Woude Syndrome; Philip’s classmates at Faireville Elementary just call him Monkeyface. Philip suffers a vicious schoolyard beating at the hands of identical-twin bullies Graham and Grant Brush, the notorious Grum and Grunt, and vows that he will become stronger and smarter than any of his aggressors. 

As he enters high school, Philip will stand up for the bullied and the outcast. He will surpass his non-identical, “normal” twin brother in everything but looks and popularity. He will muscle and score his way onto the local hockey team. He will help his truest friend escape a cult. He will find real love. 

Then it will all be ripped away.

As he loses his one true love, and discovers terrible truths about his reclusive scientist father, his beloved ex-mayor grandfather and his rebellious older brother, Philip will be involved in a horrible accident. The boy they called Monkeyface will return to Faireville with a new face and a new identity, seeking revenge. Can it lead to redemption?

Manuscript available
Rights: Thistledown Press has world, HSW Literary Agency is selling

Praise for The Monkeyface Chronicles:
“Richard Scarsbrook's third novel for young adults demonstrates his versatility with a very powerful and dramatic story. . . There are many dramatic and unexpected twists in this novel, but there is also a liberal amount of humour and irony, which keeps it both entertaining and readable. . .  Fans of the author's previous works will not be disappointed."

-- Canadian Children's Book News, Summer 2010

“The multi-layered, engrossing, complex tale reveals a unique coming-of-age novel peopled by characters whose strengths and weaknesses form a framework for the plot twists.…Scarsbrook carefully designs a protagonist who is modest, sees humour among the absurdities and struggles of daily life, manages the restrictions imposed by his facial deformity, and insightfully evaluates himself, his family, and his community. Well-paced prose infused with light humour produces some memorable scenes that resonate with credibility. Brisk, realistic dialogue reflects the author’s years of listening to student chatter as an elementary, secondary, and college level teacher.…In remarkable, keenly observed detail, [Scarsbrook] excels at capturing ordinary and extraordinary moments of life in a tale to engage and entertain readers of any age. The Monkeyface Chronicles is not an easy read, but it amply rewards those who persevere. Highly recommended.”

-- CM Magazine

Featherless Bipeds
Thistledown Press, 2006

“…small, soul-destroying bars will attract those boys who think their future is there. …”

Featherless Bipeds is the exciting rock`n`roll sequel to Cheeseburger Subversive, with sales of 1,150 copies to date. It has been shortlisted for the 2007 Young Adult Book Award by the Canadian Library Association.

The protagonist, Dak, composes the simple repetitive lyrics that complement typical rock and roll. Scarsbrook's descriptions of small, soul-destroying bars will attract those boys who think their future is there. Fans of live pop music will enjoy his wonderful evocations of the characters, venues, trials, and successes of such a career, as well as the experience of making music, both onstage and off.

Rights: World, excluding Canada

Cheeseburger Subversive
Thistledown Press, 2003

“…the girl of his dreams always seems to be one step ahead of him…”

Richard Scarsbrook’s first novel, Cheeseburger Subversive follows Dak Sifter from grade seven to university, as he deals with his parents, his precocious sister, dirtbike-riding bullies, frenzied school bus riders, snarling attack dogs, a menacing pickle-factory foreman, a kid who thinks he’s in contact with aliens, a religious-fanatic con-man, a manipulative used-car salesman, an ex-hippie English teacher, a control-freak art gallery curator, a spiteful McDonald’s counter-boy, an obsessive-compulsive roommate and a bunch of drunken engineering students in Hugh Hefner costumes, all while doggedly pursuing Zoe Perry, the girl of his dreams, who always seems to be one step ahead of him.

Cheeseburger Subversive is a funny, moving, must-read young adult novel. Released in May, 2003, it is now in its fourth printing and has sold almost 5,000 copies. It was short-listed for the Canadian Library Association 2004 Book of the Year Award, the 2005 Ontario Library Association White Pine Award, and the 2005 Stellar Award.

Rights: World, excluding Canada

Praise for Cheeseburger Subversive:

Cheeseburger Subversive brims with well-realized and poignant scenes, keenly observed details, and light-handed humour…”

-- Quill & Quire

Cheeseburger Subversive is a coming of age story written with humor and panache…. Scarsbrook has a special eye for the absurd, a wonderful way of looking at the world that turns tragedy into humor…. Every situation is easy to identify with for most of us have been there and done that. A very funny and heart-warming debut.”

-- W.P. Kinsella, Books in Canada