Literary agent Diana Beaumont is leaving the United Talent Agency (UTA) to join Marjacq Scripts Ltd, bringing her clients with her.
The move, which follows the departure of Juliet Mushens to set up her own agency with Robert Caskie and Sarah Manning's shift to the Bent Agency this week, has coincided with UTA's decision to wind down its literary operation in the UK, The Bookseller can confirm.
UTA, whose strengths lie in representing film, TV, music and digital, told The Bookseller the company was "pivoting its strategy in the UK" to alter how it handles literary property. It will shift back to what it has done historically, the company said, and co-represent authors in deals alongside their publishing agents. UTA acquired The Agency Group, comprising the agents that made up its UK literary division, in 2015.
"We represent film and television and digital rights on behalf of authors and their publishing agents, which we've done at UTA for the last 25 years - so that's what we're going to continue to do on behalf of UK authors," said Chris Day, UTA's head of communications.
"For the moment, we'll be handling publishing clients out of the US [under New York department head Mark Gerald, v.p. Innovation] but in the UK we'll shift our strategy to focus on film and TV and digital rights and using our co-representation strategy."
Day added: "The UK is an incredibly important market to us. We have incredible relationships with our talent agency partners all across the UK with whom we share numerous clients, and so a big part of our business is still representing UK talent with those partners. As far as our London-based office, our UK presence is at the moment very focused on music and growing our music practice, and we are investing in our London team."
Marjacq, founded by Jacqui Lyons and the late George Markstein in 1973, said it is "steadily expanding", with the addition of Beaumont bringing the company up to five active agents, operating out of new central offices in Holborn.
Beaumont, who joined UTA in March 2015, was first a senior commissioning editor at Transworld before joining the Rupert Heath Literary Agency in 2011.
She said: "I am thrilled to be joining Marjacq. I have long been a fan of Phil’s and look forward to joining the rest of the great team there. It’s a firm that provides a full service to authors but with a friendly, boutique feel. I am actively looking for women’s commercial and reading group fiction, crime, lifestyle and cookery. I am also keen on smart, funny feminists and am keen to take on new voices in traditionally underrepresented areas."
Philip Patterson, who heads the book department at Marjacq, said: "I enjoyed working with Diana when she was an editor and she brings us solid skills and a distinctive personality as an agent. Her list of excellent writers will be a great fit for the agency."
Beaumont starts on 16th January and can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org.