Two U.K. agents: one loathed, one lauded

U.K. literary agent Andrew Wylie represents Philip Roth, Saul Bellow, Norman Mailer, Salman Rushdie, and Martin Amis, and has been called a “jackal,” and much worse. Emma Brockes writes about his reputation in the literary world for the Guardian today:

Wylie has attracted a lot of snarkiness for this, his Darth Vader approach to publishing. “What is a jackal?” he muses, in his anglicised Boston drawl. “A ravenous dog?” He considers it. “Yuh, I’m a ravenous dog. I have fleas.”

Brockes mentions among other things Tibor Fischer’s complaint (in the now-infamous indictment of Martin Amis’ Yellow Dog) that Wylie charges his authors for photocopies.

Meanwhile, Ian Rankin, Vikram Seth, Allan Massie, and other writers paid tribute to literary agent Giles Gordon at his funeral. Massie remembered Gordon as “a model agent, utterly dependable, always courageous and supportive.” According to The Scotsman, Gordon:

set out to help end an era when many felt writers were underpaid and underrated by their publishers. He secured Vikram Seth £250,000 for his first novel, A Suitable Boy, and fostered the success of Sue Townsend’s The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole. His passing, after a tragic fall at his home, leaves Ann Street a greyer place.

(Via Sarah.)


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