Curtis Brown (agency)
Literary and Talent Agency
|Headquarters location||London, UK|
|Key people||Jonny Geller (Chairman Curtis Brown), Sarah Spear (CEO), Nick Marston (Director), Simon Flamank (CFO)|
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 extensive 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. 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.
The agency was bought back by its management team in 1982.
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 the new film, theatre and television department.
A further buy-out in 2001-2002 resulted in the present ownership of the agency by its management.
Curtis Brown underwent a management buyout in 2002, when agents Jonny Geller, Ben Hall, Jonathan Lloyd, Peter Robinson and Nick Marston bought the company from the then senior director shareholders at the agency. In the same year Sarah Spear, Jacquie Drewe and their teams joined Curtis Brown from London Management to form what is now known as Curtis Brown’s Talent Department.
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.
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. Curtis Brown also runs a creative writing school, Curtis Brown Creative, directed by Anna Davis. CBC courses span across creative and screen writing.
Curtis Brown was acquired by Original Talent in 2016 as its first and flagship acquisition.
Curtis Brown is led by Sarah Spear as CEO. Jonny Geller remains as Chairman as well as CEO of Original Talent.
Further acquisitions by Original Talent include Ed Victor Ltd, Fane Productions and Debi Allen Associates, all in 2017 and Meryl Hoffman Management, Tavistock Wood, Open Book Productions and JHI Marketing in 2018.
Novelists and non-fiction writersEdit
- Margaret Atwood
- Tony Benn, British politician and diarist
- Isaiah Berlin, British philosopher and historian of ideas
- Tracy Chevalier
- Winston Churchill
- Jilly Cooper
- Susanna Clarke, British author best known for Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell
- Lauren Davies, novelist and screenwriter
- Michael de Larrabeiti, author of The Borrible Trilogy
- Daphne du Maurier, English author and playwright
- Gerald Durrell
- Lawrence Durrell
- Antonia Fraser
- Ian Fleming
- Charles Gidley Wheeler
- Kenneth Grahame
- James Hilton
- Walter Isaacson
- Howard Jacobson, British novelist who won the Man Booker Prize in 2010 for The Finkler Question
- Marian Keyes
- Hari Kunzru
- John le Carré
- David Lodge
- Emily St. John Mandel
- Somerset Maugham
- A. A. Milne
- David Mitchell, English novelist, author of Cloud Atlas
- Santa Montefiore
- Jojo Moyes
- David Nicholls, English novelist and screenwriter, author of One Day
- Tony Parsons, British journalist, author and broadcaster
- John H. Ritter, author best known for The Boy Who Saved Baseball
- Vita Sackville-West
- Tom Rob Smith, British novelist best known for Child 44
- Edward Stourton, novelist and journalist
- Hossein Amini
- Kevin Cecil, co-writer of Channel 4 sitcom Black Books
- S J Clarkson
- Damon Beesley, co-writer of E4 sitcom The Inbetweeners
- Iain Morris, co writer of E4 sitcom The Inbetweeners
- Andy Riley, co-writer of Channel 4 sitcom Black Books
- Tony Roche, co-writer of BBC TV series The Thick of It
- David Wolstencroft, creator of the BBC series, Spooks
- Clive Anderson, comedy and current affairs presenter for TV and radio
- Duncan Bannatyne, presenter best known for BBC TV's Dragon's Den
- James Hyman, DJ, music supervisor and TV presenter
- Carol Klein, garden writer and newspaper columnist, best known for presenting BBC TV's Gardener's World
- Gareth Malone, music documentary presenter for radio and television
- Annie Nightingale, DJ, music and popular culture presenter for TV and radio
- Alex Polizzi, travel and property presenter for television;
- Paul Whitehouse, comedian, writer and presenter
Actors and actressesEdit
- Sara Vickers, Theatre, TV and film actress and voiceover artist, best known for playing Joan Thursday in the British television detective drama series Endeavour
- Sophie McShera, English actress known for her roles in Waterloo Road and Downton Abbey.
- Dev Patel, British film and television actor best known for his roles in Skins and Slumdog Millionaire
- Robert Pattinson, English actor best known for his role in Twilight
- Lorraine Bruce, English television, film and stage actress and Singer best known for her role in The Syndicate
- Thomas Sangster, British film and television actor best known for his roles in Love Actually, Nanny McPhee, The Last Legion and the voice of Ferb in Phineas and Ferb.
- Kaya Scodelario, English actress and model best known for her role in Skins
- Adam Long, British actor, probably best known for his appearance as Lewis Whippey in Happy Valley.
- Sheridan Smith, English actress, singer and dancer best known for her role in Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps.
- Stanley Tucci, American character actor, writer, producer and film director best known for his role in The Lovely Bones.
- Alicia Silverstone, American actress best known for her role in Batman & Robin.
- Tom Payne, British actor best known for his role in The Walking Dead (TV series).
- Dominic Sherwood, English actor and model best known for his role in Shadowhunters.
- Nico Mirallegro, English actor best known for his role in The Village.
- Nicola Coughlan, Irish actress best known for her role in the upcoming Derry Girls Channel 4.
- Julie Christie, British actress best known for her role in Billy Liar (film).
- Janet McTeer, English actress best known for her role in A Doll's House.
- Harry Enfield, English comedian, actor, writer, and director, best known for his sketch show Harry Enfield's Television Programme.
- Gugu Mbatha-Raw, British stage and film actress best known for her role in Belle (2013).
- Stellan Skarsgård, Swedish actor best known for his role in Breaking the Waves.
- Douglas Booth, English actor best known for his role in Romeo and Juliet (2013 film).
- Sam Neill, Northern Ireland born New Zealand actor best known for his role in Jurassic Park.
- Iwan Rheon, Welsh actor, singer and musician best known for his role in Game of Thrones.
- Siobhan Finneran, English television and film actress best known for her role in Downton Abbey.
- Tom Sturridge, English actor best known for his role in Being Julia.
- Nico Parker, English actress best known for her role in Dumbo (2019)
- Ella Purnell, English actress known for her appearance in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (film).
- Alex Kingston, English actress best known for her role in Doctor Who as River Song (Doctor Who).
- Harry Lloyd, English actor best known for his appearance as Viserys Targaryen in Game of Thrones.
- Mark Gatiss, English actor, comedian, screenwriter and novelist best known as Mycroft Holmes in Sherlock (TV series).
- Craig Roberts, Welsh actor and director, best known for playing Oliver Tate in Submarine (2010 film).
- Cush Jumbo, English actress and writer known for her role in The Good Wife.
- Richard Schiff, American actor and comedian best known for his role in The West Wing.
- Sam Reid, Australian born British actor best known for his role in Belle (2013 film).
- Erin Richards, Welsh actress best known for her appearance as Barbara Kean in Gotham (TV series).
- Phoebe Fox, English actress best known for her role in Switch (UK TV series)
- Eleanor Worthington Cox, English actress best known for her role in Matilda the Musical and Britannia (TV series)
The Curtis Brown PrizeEdit
The Curtis Brown Prize was established in 2006 in memory of agent Giles Gordon (1940-2003). 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. 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).
- "The Curtis Brown Award - Annual award established in memory of Giles Gordon", University of East Anglia.
- "Black, Dorothy [Kitty] (1914–2006), theatrical agent and translator | Oxford Dictionary of National Biography", The Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004, doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/97548
- Shorter, Eric (13 February 2007). "Obituary: Kitty Black". the Guardian. Retrieved 30 July 2018.
- Joel Rickett (29 February 2008). "Curtis Brown/ICM deal back on". The Bookseller. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
- "'Next generation' steps up at Curtis Brown". The Bookseller. 30 May 2012.
- "Curtis Brown Creative". www.curtisbrowncreative.co.uk.
- "Curtis Brown and Conville & Walsh join Forces". The Bookseller. 13 February 2013.
- "Curtis Brown Acquires 100% Conville And Walsh". BookTrade.info. 11 March 2015. Archived from the original on 22 July 2015. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Curtis Brown completes Conville & Walsh buy". LondonBookFair.co.uk. 10 March 2015.[permanent dead link]
- "Sara Vickers", Curtis Brown. Retrieved 2 January 2019
- McCormick, Anne H., "Remembering Naomi Burton Stone: A View from Manhattan", The Thomas Merton Center at Bellarmine University. Retrieved 5 September 2020
- David Hughes, Obituary: "Giles Gordon", The Independent, 17 November 2003. Retrieved 17 January 2009.
- Prizes - The Curtis Brown Prize, University of East Anglia.