Open main menu

Curtis Brown (literary agents)

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.[1]


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, Elizabeth Bowen, and Isaiah Berlin.

In 1953 Spencer Curtis Brown Black head hunted Kitty Black and she became chief play reader at Curtis Brown. She played golf and used her connections to find clients that included Somerset Maugham and Samuel Beckett.[2] She was involved with the noted production of Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot in 1956. She notably told John Osborne to "think again" about his play Look Back in Anger that would later transform British theatre.[3]

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.[citation needed]

Recent historyEdit

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.[4]

In 2008, Curtis Brown and ICM (International Creative Management) inked a deal for Curtis Brown to represent ICM’s clients in the UK and across the world.[5] In late 2012, literary agency Christopher Little, announced an association with Curtis Brown, although agent Christopher Little said he would continue to act independently.[6]

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.[7]

In addition to its books, actors, presenters, theatre and television departments, the company has a film production arm launched in 2008, Cuba Pictures, headed by Nick Marston as CEO and with Dixie Linder as Head of Film and 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.

In March 2013, Curtis Brown acquired a major stake in leading literary agency Conville and Walsh,[8][9] finally acquiring the company in early 2015.[10][11]


Novelists and non-fiction writersEdit



TV presentersEdit

Actors and actressesEdit


The Curtis Brown PrizeEdit

The Curtis Brown Prize was established in 2006 in memory of agent Giles Gordon (1940-2003).[1] 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.[13] 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).[1]


  1. ^ a b c "The Curtis Brown Award - Annual award established in memory of Giles Gordon", University of East Anglia.
  2. ^ "Black, Dorothy [Kitty] (1914–2006), theatrical agent and translator | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/97548, retrieved 2018-07-29
  3. ^ a b c d Shorter, Eric (2007-02-13). "Obituary: Kitty Black". the Guardian. Retrieved 2018-07-30.
  4. ^ The Independent - The Literator Archived March 11, 2014, at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ Joel Rickett (February 29, 2008). "Curtis Brown/ICM deal back on". The Bookseller. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Christopher Little Agency partners Curtis Brown". The Bookseller. 22 August 2012.
  7. ^ "'Next generation' steps up at Curtis Brown". The Bookseller. 30 May 2012.
  8. ^ "'Curtis Brown buys 50% Stake in Conville and Walsh'". Publishers Weekly. 2013-02-28.
  9. ^ "Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh join Forces". The Bookseller. 13 February 2013.
  10. ^ "Curtis Brown Acquires 100% Conville And Walsh". 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
  11. ^ "Curtis Brown completes Conville & Walsh buy". 10 March 2015.[permanent dead link]
  12. ^ "Sara Vickers", Curtis Brown. Retrieved 2 January 2019
  13. ^ Prizes - The Curtis Brown Prize, University of East Anglia.

External linksEdit