Michael Hoogland Personal Essay

I was one of those rare children who had to be told to put the book away at the dinner table. In fact, my love of books became a source of great frustration to my family in my formative years. It would take my parents a great deal of effort to tear my eyes off the pages—so much so that on a family trip to the Grand Canyon I was more absorbed in the latest Harry Potter novel than on one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. In the end, the only way to get me to properly appreciate the stunning vista before me—and prevent me from wandering off the edge of the canyon—was to take the book away from me.

In spite of these inappropriate, and sometimes dangerous, reading habits, my parents have always fostered my passion for the written word. I grew up in New Jersey and attended Hackley School, a preparatory high school in New York with a reputable English Literature program. In college, I continued to read anything I could get my hands on, and when I took a couple English courses my senior year, I finally realized what I wanted to do with the rest of my life: work with books.

In retrospect, it is hard to believe that the literary inclinations I harbored since childhood did not open me up to the possibility of a publishing career sooner. After graduating from Colgate University, I was fortunate enough to attend the Columbia Publishing Course, where I learned about a profession previously unknown to me: the multi-faceted job of literary agent. It has not been easy to get here, but being a literary agent at DGLM has been an immensely satisfying experience so far, and I look forward to what lies ahead!