Curtis Brown (literary agents)
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Curtis Brown (Curtis Brown Literary and Talent Agency) is a literary and talent agency based in London, UK. One of the oldest literary agencies in Europe, it was founded by Albert Curtis Brown in 1899.
Albert Curtis Brown was an American journalist who was the London correspondent for The New York Press. He also ran a press syndication agency. Because of his contacts in both the UK and America, he fell into representing authors who were looking for publishing opportunities on the two continents.
The first deal he transacted was selling serial rights in John Oliver Hobbes’s The Vineyard. The literary agency element of Brown’s business was accommodated alongside his press agency in Henrietta Street, Covent Garden. In 1914, Curtis Brown opened its first international office in New York; subsequently, offices were opened in Paris, Berlin, Milan and Copenhagen. Brown believed in the exchange of literature between countries as a point of principle to foster international understanding. The company retains a translation rights department to this day.
During this period, Brown carried out agency business on behalf of a large number of well-known writers such as Kenneth Grahame, AA Milne and DH Lawrence. It also worked on behalf of prominent figures of the day including Winston Churchill, David Lloyd George and U.S. President Woodrow Wilson.
Curtis Brown wrote an autobiography called Contacts – published by Cassell in 1935. He ran the agency until 1935 when he was succeeded by his son Spencer Curtis Brown. Spencer ran the agency until his retirement in 1968 when he sold it to an investment company.
The agency was instrumental in establishing the reputations of several British and American writers, including John Steinbeck, William Faulkner, Norman Mailer, C P Snow, Angus Wilson, Lawrence Durrell, Gerald Durrell, Kingsley Amis and Isaiah Berlin.
The agency was bought back by its management team in 1982. A further buy-out in 2001 resulted in the present ownership of the agency by its management.
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In 1995, Jonathan Lloyd was recruited from the publishers Harper Collins to become managing director and two years later Nick Marston joined from rival agents AP Watt to begin a new film, theatre and television department.
The company underwent a management buy out in 2001, when agents (Jonny Geller, Ben Hall, Jonathan Lloyd, Nick Marston and Peter Robinson), bought the company from the senior staff at the agency. Lloyd remained as managing director and subsequently became CEO. Robinson left in 2006 to form a solo agency.
In May 2012, the company restructured its management team with Jonathan Lloyd becoming Chairman and with Ben Hall and Jonny Geller becoming joint Chief Executives.
In addition to its books, actors, presenters, theatre and television departments, the company has a film production arm, Cuba Pictures, headed by Nick Marston as CEO and with Dixie Linder and Tally Garner as co-heads of television.
Curtis Brown also runs a creative writing school, Curtis Brown Creative, directed by Anna Davis. In March 2013, Curtis Brown Creative announced a deal with the e-reader manufacturer Kobo, to set up a scholarship The Kobo Writing Life™ Scholarship.
Novelists and non-fiction writers
- Margaret Atwood
- Jeffrey Archer
- Tony Benn, British politician and diarist
- Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher and historian of ideas
- Tracy Chevalier
- Winston Churchill
- Jilly Cooper
- Susanna Clarke, British author best known for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
- Lauren Davies, novelist and screenwriter
- Michael de Larrabeiti, author of The Borrible Trilogy
- Daphne du Maurier, English author and playwright
- Gerald Durrell
- Lawrence Durrell
- Antonia Fraser
- Ian Fleming
- Charles Gidley Wheeler
- Kenneth Grahame
- James Hilton
- Walter Isaacson
- Howard Jacobson, British novelist who won the Man Booker Prize in 2010 for The Finkler Question
- Marian Keyes
- Hari Kunzru
- John le Carré
- David Lodge
- A. A. Milne
- David Mitchell, English novelist, author of Cloud Atlas
- Santa Montefiore
- Jojo Moyes
- David Nicholls, English novelist and screenwriter, author of One Day
- Tony Parsons, British journalist, author and broadcaster
- John H. Ritter, author best known for The Boy Who Saved Baseball
- Vita Sackville-West
- Tom Rob Smith, British novelist best known for Child 44
- Edward Stourton, novelist and journalist
- Hossein Amini
- Kevin Cecil, co-writer of Channel 4 sitcom Black Books
- S J Clarkson
- Damon Beesley, co-writer of E4 sitcom The Inbetweeners
- Iain Morris, co writer of E4 sitcom The Inbetweeners
- Andy Riley, co-writer of Channel 4 sitcom Black Books
- Tony Roche, co-writer of BBC TV series The Thick of It
- David Wolstencroft, creator of the BBC series, Spooks
- Clive Anderson,comedy and current affairs presenter for TV and radio
- Duncan Bannatyne, presenter best known for BBC TV's Dragon's Den
- James Hyman, DJ, music supervisor and TV presenter
- Carol Klein, garden writer and newspaper columnist, best known for presenting BBC TV's Gardener's World
- Gareth Malone, music documentary presenter for radio and television
- Annie Nightingale, DJ, music and popular culture presenter for TV and radio
- Alex Polizzi, travel and property presenter for television;
- Paul Whitehouse, comedian, writer and presenter
Actors and actresses
- Laura Carmichael, English actress who played Lady Edith Crawley in Downton Abbey
- Sophie McShera, English actress known for her roles in Waterloo Road and Downton Abbey.
- Dev Patel, British film and television actor best known for his roles in Skins and Slumdog Millionaire
- Robert Pattinson, English actor, model and musician best known for his role in Twilight
- Lorraine Bruce, English television, film and stage actress and Singer best known for her role in The Syndicate
- Thomas Sangster, British film and television actor best known for his roles in Love Actually, Nanny McPhee, The Last Legion and the voice of Ferb in Phineas and Ferb.
- Kaya Scodelario, English actress and model best known for her role in Skins
- Naomi Burton Stone, literary agent at Curtis Brown, 1939-65
- Giles Gordon, literary agent at Curtis Brown, 1994-2003
The Curtis Brown Prize
The Curtis Brown Prize was established in 2006 in memory of agent Giles Gordon (1940-2003). Worth £1,500, it is awarded annually for the best writer of prose fiction on the University of East Anglia MA in Creative Writing (Prose Fiction) course, based on the material submitted by students for their MA assessment. The winner is chosen by a panel of Curtis Brown agents from a shortlist comprising all students in the year who achieve an MA with distinction. The inaugural award was made to Joe Dunthorne in 2006 for his novel Submarine. Other recipients are: Tamara Britten (2007), Daniel Timms (2008), Lauren Owen (2009), Gillian Daly (2010), Chelsey Flood (2011), Charlotte Stretch (2012).
- "The Curtis Brown Award - Annual award established in memory of Giles Gordon", University of East Anglia.
- The Independent - The Literator[dead link]
- Joel Rickett (February 29, 2008). "Curtis Brown/ICM deal back on". The Bookseller. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "'Next generation' steps up at Curtis Brown". The Bookseller. 30 May 2012.
- "'Curtis Brown buys 50% Stake in Conville and Walsh'". Publishers Weekly. 2013-02-28.
- "Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh join Forces". The Bookseller. 13 February 2013.
- Prizes - The Curtis Brown Prize, University of East Anglia.