NEW YORK — The push by Hollywood-based talent agencies into the New York book market continues, with the announcement that the Gersh Agency will be opening up a literary division under the direction of veteran agent Phyllis Wender. The news comes on the heels of a similar move by Endeavor Talent Agency, which was announced earlier this year.
The Gersh Agency will join International Creative Management, the William Morris Agency and Endeavor as major talent agencies that have agents brokering deals for books, films and TV under the same roof. Other Hollywood firms, such as Creative Artists Agency and United Talent Agency, do not have such literary divisions, working instead as co-agents on book-to-film deals with authors' independent agents. The news of the Gersh expansion was first reported in Variety.
Wender, an independent literary agent, co-founded the Rosenstone/Wender agency in 1981 with the late Howard Rosenstone; she is bringing her New York-based colleagues Sonia Pabley and Susan Cohen with her to the Gersh Agency.
Wender has represented clients such as Jack O'Brien, a Tony Award-winning director who is also the artistic director of the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego; author Amy Bloom; actress Jamie Lee Curtis; Letty Cottin Pogrebin, a founding editor of Ms. Magazine; and Loring Mandel, a playwright and screenwriter.
The expansion of Hollywood agencies into the New York book market can sometimes spark controversy. Earlier this year, ICM literary agent Richard Abate announced he was leaving his job to run a new wing at the rival Endeavor Talent Agency. ICM sought a preliminary injunction in federal court to block him from leaving his job until his contract expired at the end of this year. A judge rejected that bid, but Abate is still wrestling with a $10-million arbitration claim for damages.