Sunday, October 14, 2007

A genteel bloodbath?

Homosexual embraces, gorging, and stabbing colleagues in the back?
It's the book trade, yo.
In short, the largest literary agency in Britain is caught in a re-enactment of Network and now a whole lot of writers are orphans. It sort of sounds like what happened to General Distribution Services in Canada about seven years back, but in this case there are a bunch of household names as well as those just getting started.
"It is nothing short of a blood-bath. And in the middle of it all are the tug-of-love children: the writers, whose fate is being fought over but who nobody seems to be actually talking to. The client list includes the likes of Robert Harris and Ruth Rendell, who have said they will follow their agents wherever they go, but there are hundreds more including Nick Hornby, Alain de Botton, John Mortimer, Ricky Gervais, Margaret Drabble and many still struggling at the start of their careers, or not quite yet household names, their books stranded in the middle of a publishing spat like poor bewildered sheep lost on a moor. (The actors' agency, it has to be said, includes the likes of Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet of whom the sheep analogy works less well.) If the writers follow the agents, their backlists can't go with them - they have to remain with PFD. But if they stay, they'll no longer have their agent. It's the writers, much more than anybody else, who stand to lose."

Ah well the actors are taken care of. Of course if there are no books, then there are no moves.
Oh, the humanity.

Posted by Dave

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