Cover Photo: This header image is a photograph of Leslie Shipman, a middle-aged white woman with glasses, auburn hair, and an arm tattoo. To the left of Leslie's headshot, we see the logo for her company, the Shipman Agency.
Photograph curtesy of Leslie Shipman/Header design by Eliza Harris

“It took me many years to build the confidence to fight for my ideas” : A Conversation with Leslie Shipman

Amy Gall chats with Leslie Shipman of the Shipman Agency about how the most important ingredient to building a successful small business is love.

Shipman AgencyThe Work Room

Kenyon ReviewBOMB

Amy Gall: How did you start the Shipman Agency?

AG: How do you think being a poet has given you particular insight into what writers are looking for in a speaking agent?

AG: You mentioned working for many years in literary nonprofits. What lessons did you take with you for how you approach running your business?

AG: What are some of the most gratifying moments of doing this work? What are some of the most challenging? And how have you met those challenges?


AG: During the pandemic, when no one was giving in-person readings, you smartly pivoted toward the online-classroom model, where authors could run workshops on craft, novels, short stories, and essay writing. Can you tell me more about how that came about and what the response to it has been?

AG: What advice would you give to younger folksparticularly young womenwho are thinking of starting their own literary businesses?

AG: Is there anything you’re particularly excited about for the future of the Shipman Agency?

AG: Finally, and this is a question I love asking poets: What is your favorite thing about language?

Amy Gall's writing has appeared in, among others Tin House, Vice, Poets & Writers, Glamour Magazine, and the anthology Mapping Queer Spaces. She is the co-author of the book Recycle, a collection of collages and text. She is the recipient of a fellowship from the MacDowell Colony and earned her MFA in creative writing from The New School. She is currently working on a collection of linked essays about queer bodies, sex and pleasure.