Lit agency calls it quits

Gotham-based Collins McCormick splits

One of the premier Gotham lit agencies is no more.

Collins McCormick, home to authors including Elizabeth Kostova, Matthew Sharpe and Mo Rocca, has unexpectedly dissolved after reported tension between the partners.

Founding partner Nina Collins began the agency nearly four years ago after a successful career as a scout for producers such as Scott Rudin. She quickly signed up IMG agent and former New Yorker editor David McCormick. They soon added Gotham notables like P.J. Mark. Two years ago the agency scored a coup by hiring ICM’s Amy Williams, who, when with the tenpercentery, repped “Jarhead” author Anthony Swofford.

In a memo to editors obtained by Daily Variety, Collins said she would continue her own agency under the name Collins Literary. David McCormick will strike out on his own, and Williams also will be founding her own agency, likely taking along Mark.

In a phone interview, Collins called the split “amicable,” though sources noted tension over the shop’s direction.

McCormick and Williams were unavailable for comment.

While it’s been common over the past few years for smaller lit agencies to merge as they seek leverage against corporate outfits like ICM and William Morris, a disbanding is far rarer. In the spring, another boutique shop, Burnes & Clegg, dissolved after agent Bill Clegg left the business for personal reasons. Clients quickly scattered to other agencies.

Many agents at Collins McCormick were considered heirs to previous generation of superagents like Binky Urban. Shop has a mix of commercial and literary projects and has had success in moving books to Hollywood. Rick Marin’s “Cad” is in development at Miramax; Sony is producing Kostova’s “The Historian.”

Most authors are likely to follow individual agents, while revenue on older properties will be handled by the defunct outfit.

David McCormick reps a number of literary authors including Sean Wilsey and Alison Smith as well as media journalist Seth Mnookin. Collins, who had a shorter list, handles publisher-turned-novelist Beau Friedlander.

But it’s Williams who’s one of the book biz’s rising stars; she reps Kostova, who will likely follow to her new agency.

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