Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Helen Simpson: Pat Kavanagh: My friend, the perfect agent

A wonderful tribute by Helen Simpson in the Independent. I never met Pat Kavanagh but several of my tutors on the MA in Creative Writing were her clients, and she was spoken of in such reverent tones. It sounds like a great and tragic loss to the literary world, she does sound like ever author's ideal agent and advocate. Helen Simpson says:
Pat would get you the money, but she was much more interested in your writing. Some might call that old-fashioned but I was completely behind it. I had absolute confidence in her. If you wrote as well as you could and Pat knew what you were on about and was enthusiastic about your work, then she could sell it.
Full article here: Pat Kavanagh: My friend, the perfect agent The Independent
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Frances said...

Thanks for the link, Tania. I was particularly struck by the following:

She always said, "Write whatever you want to write." My writing was what I wanted to do and she was of the same mind. Short stories are not a fashionable form but I never felt any pressure from her to try anything different.

An unusual agent indeed!

Frances said...

The Guardian obituary is also interesting. Carmen Callil notes in the course of it that Pat Kavanagh was keen to delete her second name, Olive, from the records -

"She sent a memorable memo to the secretary of the company asking her to remove this middle name from the records as she had already paid a considerable sum to do likewise from her records at the University of Cape Town."

Then at the foot of the obituary - "Patricia Olive Kavanagh, literary agent..." Thank you, The Guardian!