After beginning her career in 1968 at Sterling Lord, in 1973 Helen Brann took more than 60 clients with her and became the first woman in the U.S. to start her own independent literary agency to represent book writers. She first operated her agency in her apartment. Among Brann’s clients were Edmund White and Diane Johnson, Fran Lebowitz, Nora Johnson, Dan Yergin, Dan Wakefield, Rod McKuen, Richard Brautigan and, later, Robert B. Parker and Maya Angelou.
“In 1973, I became the first woman in the U.S. to start my own independent literary agency to represent book writers,” Brann said in a statement. “I met Esther Newberg, at ICM Partners, when, as executor of the Robert B. Parker Estate, I worked with her to engage her client, Ace Atkins, to continue writing the iconic Spenser novels when Putnam’s decided to continue the franchise. Esther won me over as a straight-talking, highly intelligent, humorous writers’ advocate in all matters. Although at 82, I have no plans to retire from this job I love, I thought it important to put a plan in place to ensure the future success of my clients, and Esther and her team at ICM became the apparent choice to work alongside me in this process. I’m proud to work with them to represent my clients.”
A number of titles repped by Brann have been adapted into feature films including the Oscar-winning “Capote,” starring Philip Seymour Hoffman.
ICM’s publishing unit is already considered one of the agency’s biggest strengths, repping such high-profile authors as Cormac McCarthy and Donna Tartt. The addition of Brann’s clientele will continue to strengthen the department.
“Helen is smart, has great agenting skills and is a pro,” said ICM Partners’ Esther Newberg. “I am a fan of her clients’ work, and everyone on our team is excited to work with Helen.”