The deadline for Eaton Literary Agency’s Annual $3,000 Awards Program is quickly approaching.

Eaton Literary Agency accepts manuscripts throughout the year.  They try to report on your material within three weeks of receiving it.  They have developed a system of grading the manuscripts for awards purposes, so they do not tie up submissions for the duration of the awards program.

  • A $2,500.00 (US) prize will be awarded to the winner of their book-length program, open to all unpublished fiction or nonfiction over 10,000 words.  Manuscripts must be postmarked by August 31, 2019, and the prize winner will be notified in September, 2019.
  • >       A $500.00 (US) prize will be awarded to the winner of their short story and article program, open to any unpublished short story or nonfiction work less than 10,000 words.   Manuscripts must be postmarked by March 31, 2020, and the prize winner will be notified in April, 2020.

You can submit work by emailing eatonlit@aol.com and attaching your work in doc, docx, or pdf format, or you can submit a hard copy to:

Eaton Literary Agency

  1. O. Box 49795

Sarasota, FL 34230

Free brochure available upon request.


Florida Studio Theatre Presents

Jannie Jones in



By Larry Parr

Larry Parr’s musical biography of Ethel Waters, HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, is a smash hit at Florida Studio Theatre and across the country.  Here is what the critics say:

“ETHEL WATERS:  HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW is one of the hottest new shows in American Theater.”  The Carolina Peacemaker.

“I’ve seen a lot of one-person shows over the years, on subjects from Diana Vreeland to Theodore Roosevelt, and this is easily one of the best.  It’s a pleasure to learn the Waters story this way:  lots of facts, lots of songs, and not least of all, a notable respect for the truth, however inconvenient or unlikely.“Parr is prolific and abundantly talented”  Mark E. Leib, Weekly Planet.

Larry Parr has movingly portrayed more obstacles than any human being should have to endure.  Playwright Parr records Ethel Waters’ rags-to-riches life with a compelling script and songs from the memorable repertoire performed by Waters throughout her career.  Each song recalls the joy and sorrow that reflected the performer’s life.  Parr does a remarkable job in taking us through the 77-year life of Ethel Waters.  Some of his dialogue is lyrical.  This is a terrific show.  See it.”  Wayne Barcomb, Pelican Press.

“Should you see it?  Don’t miss it.  Your emotions are going to run the gamut.  None of it would have been possible without the great mind of playwright Larry Parr.”  Kay Pruden, The Herald.

“It’s a stunning performance of a stunning script.  Along with songs that cut you to your heart, you get both a sense of Ethel Waters’ character and the history she lived through.  You come through that history with a sense of triumph, but there’s a lot of pain before you get there.  You feel both the pain and the triumph.  That’s a sign of how true to life the play is.”  Marty Fugate, The Observer.

“As he did in previous shows about Actress Hattie McDaniel and singer Alberta Hunter, the Sarasota playwright tells a dramatic and often painful story about a woman who triumphs over great adversity.”  Jay Handelman, Sarasota Herald-Tribune.

“Playwright Larry Parr has crafted a tight narrative that follows Waters from illegitimate child and self-conscious teenager rushed into a distasteful marriage to a successful but bitter woman redeemed along the way by shining talent and indomitable will.  It illuminates while it entertains and offers some profound observations on this American life.”  Anita Donovan, The Times, Philadelphia.

“Larry Parr’s script plumbs Waters’ life more deeply than the usual stage biography and the stories it tells are more complex.”  Howard Shapiro, Philadelphia Inquirer.

“The result was the best that theater can offer.  The audience entered knowing Ethel Waters as a mythic name.  They left knowing Ethel Waters, knowing her well and never forgetting her and her tale of woe and triumph.”  Burt Saidel, The Oakwood Register, Dayton, Ohio.

“Larry Parr’s one-woman play with music, ETHEL WATERS:  HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, a funny, heartbreaking, and uplifting account of the legendary singer/actress, is an emotionally stirring experience not to be missed.  Parr’s brave, earthy text fluidly chronicles Waters’ harsh upbringing in Philadelphia, her rocky love life, frequent bouts with racism and depression, Oscar-nominated acclaim, and signature performances at Harlem’s Cotton Club and on Broadway.”  Russell Florence, Jr., Dayton City Paper, Dayton, Ohio.

“Texas Family Musicals presents a very intense performance by Jen Percival in HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW — THE ETHEL WATERS STORY. It sold to near-capacity houses and received quick and long standing ovations at each performance. It was written by one of the finest American playwrights, Larry Parr.” Uptown Theater in Grand Prairie,TX.


Featuring the songs of a lifetime:

































Torie Wiggins, the star of HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW, a one-woman musical about the life of Ethel Waters is sensational in this production.  When I learned she wasn’t planning to appear on stage this season apart from this production, I was disappointed.  She’s one of my favorite actors; I even took an acting class from her last summer.  She’s a mainstay in Cincinnati theatre ever since she moved back here several years ago.

And while I’ve missed her this season, she more than makes up for her absence by putting everything she has into this production.  She sings with a powerful, unique voice that’s full of soul.  The physicality of her performance – transforming Waters from a traumatized little to a confident, powerful superstar girl as she details the biographical events of this music legend.

But it’s not Wiggins alone that makes this production great.  Director D. Lynn Meyers takes the script by Larry Parr (which is based on Waters own autobiography) and together with Wiggins finds all the right beats.  Simply staged, Wiggins effectively moves about the set, an old-school revival tent designed by Brian c. Mehring.  And do not discount the tremendous accompaniment by Scot Woolley.  He seamlessly (in conjunction with Jeremy Lee’s proficient sound design) creates a sound scape with a piano that allows the actress to pace herself – grabbing sips of water as needed.  It looks effortless, though it’s definitely not easy.

The songs are classics in the American canon of blues and jazz, as well as the gospel tones of the titular song.  They’re toe-tapping, head-bobbing, and at times, they are heart-wrenching.  The recounting of Water’s upbringing is sad; the anger she projects about the racism she continued to suffer even as a star is honest.  And best of all, her faith journey is the focus of her arc. It’s inspiring and I enjoyed seeing a person of faith portrayed with such honesty. Wiggin’s version of Waters is flawed.  Authentic. She’s funny.  And tough.  And she’s raw.  Just like all of us.

I cannot stress enough how much everyone needs to see this tour de force performance.  It’s a wonderful production.  I’m thinking about going back to see it again.  Do not wait to get your tickets.  This one should never see an empty seat.  HIS EYE IS ON THE SPARROW is a triumph.



‘His Eye is on the Sparrow’ is more than just rags to riches.

It uncovers self-love.

“His Eye is on the Sparrow” is a spellbinding story about Ethel Waters, a jazz singer born into poverty in Philadelphia back in 1896. Her love for music, comedic nature and by-any-means-necessary attitude did not let her live in dearth. She was able to soar past her early dreams of becoming a rich white woman’s maid, to a successful jazz star, with a slight reputation of being difficult that, most times, worked in her favor.

As the lights lit the stage, it reminded me of a simple old church revival. There was one wooden piano accompanied by wooden benches and floor. I immediately felt a religious presence. Not an overwhelming one, but enough to bring me into the moment.

Ethel Waters. I knew the name, but did not know the story. I could remember my grandmother and her mother playing her music. Back then, my young ears knew nothing of the pain and happiness she sang and how those notes hit everything so perfectly. I didn’t know her childhood ended at 13 when she was married to an abusive man on the premises of not becoming a whore. I couldn’t fathom how scared she was to survive an awful car accident, wake up in a mental asylum, escape to a hospital for Blacks to almost have her leg amputated. I couldn’t envision her horror of seeing the aftermath of a lynching, and having to flee her own gig because she might be next. I couldn’t imagine being a woman and constantly searching for love, when you don’t even know what it is


One thing that rang in my head while watching Torie Wiggins play her character, is that this woman just didn’t have a heart. I knew she could feel hurt, pain and happiness from the way her voice sailed smoothly from her lips. But I don’t believe her heart ever felt these emotions. It wasn’t connected. She survived three marriages, without the child that she so desperately wanted. Even though her mother did not give her the love she deserved as a child, she still made arrangements to care for her until the day she died. She navigated through racial tensions in the Jim Crow era demanding respect and the same treatment as the “white folk” she shared stages with. Ethel Waters was nothing short of strong, determined and courageous. She was barrier-breaking. She was spontaneous. She was loud. Yet, she didn’t know what love was.

She yearned for it, and even when received it from one of her husbands she didn’t recognize it. She simply did not how to love. As women, we are known for being loving and maternal. These are usually characteristics we are taught from a young age. I do not have any children, but I know and to the best of by ability understand what love is and with these feelings can’t wait to bring a life into this world. Rounding the end of the play, I anxiously wanted Ethel to find love.

Well, she found it in food. She gained over 200 pounds and in return received diabetes. It soon became hard for her to stand for periods of time and she was too big for chairs. Finally, she let white Preacher Billy Graham in her life. The reason I make the distinction of his ethnicity is that Ethel didn’t believe they knew the same God, with her being a Black woman. Billy set her straight, telling her God is who you believe him to be and he loves everyone who believes in him. From there, Ethel sang in his crusades and was surrounded by people that wanted to do nothing but uplift her. People who wanted People who wanted nothing from her but to believe in her. She became healthy and happy again.

Now, Ethel never limited her vocal ability to just jazz. She sang all over on different tours on the black circuits, and the white circuits. Inevitably, she made more money in the white circuits — concerts, Broadway performances, Hollywood movies and TV appearances.

Congratulations to Ashot Tadavosyan, winner of Eaton Literary Agency’s 35th Annual Awards Program

Eaton Literary Agency is proud to announce that Ashot Tadevosyan of Philadelphia, PA, was the winner of their 35th Annual Awards Program prize of $500.00 for the best short story received by the agency in the last year, entitled PHILOSOPHY.

Ashot is an extremely prolific writer whose stories capture and hold the imagination.

For more information about Eaton Literary Agency’s Annual Awards Program, see their website at www.eatonliterary.com, or ask for a brochure:



Eaton Literary Agency

P. O. Box 49795

Sarasota, FL 34230

Eaton Literary Agency receives 2019 American Excellence Award.

Eaton Literary Agency Inc receives 2019 American Excellence Award 

May 7th 2019 –  Eaton Literary Agency Inc has been selected for the 2019 American Excellence Award amongst all its peers and competitors by the US Economic Institute (USEI).

Each year the USEI conducts business surveys and industry research to identify companies that have achieved demonstrable success in their local business environment and industry category. They are recognized as having enhanced the commitment and contribution of small businesses through service to their customers and community. Companies of this caliber enhance the consumer driven stature that USEI strives to recognize.

Eaton Literary Agency Inc has consistently demonstrated a high regard for upholding business ethics and company values. This recognition by USEI marks a significant achievement as an emerging leader within various competitors and is setting benchmarks that the industry should follow.

As part of the industry research and business surveys, various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the selected companies in each category. This research is part of an exhaustive process that encapsulates a year long immersion in the business climate of its industry.

Interview with Eaton Literary Agency, another agent, and a publisher.



One of the most-difficult things for authors is navigating the conflicting advice about breaking into the publishing industry. I recently sat down with Richard Lawrence, President of one of the longest-lived and most-successful literary agencies, Eaton Literary Agency; Ruth, an employee of a literary agency in New York; and Bob, an editor with one of the major publishers in the United States.

Ruth and Bob asked that their companies not be identified. “We’re inundated right now,” said Ruth, “and are not looking for submissions at the moment.”

Richard explained that Eaton Literary Agency’s mission is to get as many new authors published as possible, and kind of karmic repay for those who helped him when he was young. “If we accept extra work for presentation to publishers, we just hire more agents to help us with it.”

The topic we discussed was new authors. Richard’s and Ruth’s agencies have very different approaches. Ruth’s agency does not offer editorial services to authors. Her agency accepts authors on the merits of their works and whether or not she feels she can place the authors’ works as she receives them.

“One of the most-discouraging things about working with authors,” says Ruth, “is that we have to deal with their misconceptions fostered upon them by well-meaning but often blatantly wrong high-school English teachers, college professors, friends, relatives, how-to write books, magazines, and local writing clubs. One woman contacted me just last week, after we rejected her work. I explained to her how fiercely competitive the market is. Lots and lots of people write these days. I explained to her that her work showed a lot of promise, but that it needed a great deal of editorial work before traditional publishers would take it seriously.

“She said, ‘My English teacher told me it’s your job to work with me on my manuscript until it’s ready to go to publishers. That’s how you earn your commission.’

“I explained that no agent can provide extensive editorial services without charging for them, and that our agency works with professional writers – those authors whose works are already publisher-ready. We do not offer editorial services. No agency I know offers them without charging for them. Charging for editorial services is the only way agencies can afford to offer them.”

Eaton Literary Agency does provide editorial services, if they see a manuscript with a strong potential but that needs editorial work before it could be considered by publishers. But they, too, are plagued by authors who believe bad advice. Richard said, “Just last week, an author called me, irate, because we offered editorial services on her work for a fee. I was surprised, since our clients are usually very grateful to work with us. She said, ‘Agencies do not charge for editorial services. It’s their job. That’s how they earn their commissions.’

“I explained that agencies earn commissions by finding the right publisher and negotiating contracts for their authors’ works, but editorial services are above and beyond that service, and that no agency can offer editorial services without charging for them.

“She said, ‘That’s just not true. My creative writing teacher told me so. I demand that you give me these services for free.’

“I suggested that if she knows of an agency that provides extensive editorial work for free, that’s who she should work with.”

Ruth burst out laughing. “So now I know where the author came from who demanded we work on her manuscript for free. You sent her to us!”

Of course, Richard did not directly send her to them, but this sort of ignorance seems rampant. From the ensuing conversation, it became clear that agents and publishers hear from many demanding authors who do not behave professionally.

Bob, the editor with a major national publisher, broke in. “Publishers like manuscripts that come from agents, because we know they have been screened. Good agents send us only professionally written manuscripts, which cuts down tremendously on our time. I know if I get a manuscript from Ruth or from Richard, the manuscript will be ready for our consideration – Ruth because she works only with established authors and Richard because he provides professional guidance to authors who probably would not otherwise have a chance with traditional publishers.”

Sometimes publishers will deal with only one agent, if they are impressed with the quality of the work. One publisher strongly prefers to receive manuscripts only from Eaton Literary Agency.

Ruth became suddenly sober. “It’s a shame, too, that many authors do not realize how they are harming their careers by being demanding. Agents talk to each other and to publishers and producers. That’s what we do! So if you get a bad reputation for being demanding and difficult to work with, or if you insist on believing advice from nonprofessionals, that reputation spreads like a bad rash throughout the publishing industry, and once you have a bad reputation, it’s difficult to remedy.”

Today, there are many ways to become published. Self-publishing may satisfy your ego, but it is usually a financial dead end. Traditional publishing is where the big money possibilities are for authors, and agents are the gateways to traditional publishing. All three of the people I interviewed stressed how important it is for authors to play well with others, present the best-possible manuscripts to publishers, and be very wary of advice from well-meaning friends, publications, and teachers who are not actually involved in the publishing industry. If you get advice from an established literary agent or publisher, consider it very carefully. It may change your life.

If you have a question about a company’s integrity, the Better Business Bureau is always the best way to check out any company.