Doris Lessing’s literary agent Jonathan Clowes has died aged 86.
He died at his home in France this morning (Friday 18th November).
His agency, Jonathan Clowes Limited, issued a statement saying: “It's with great sadness that we announce the death of Jonathan Clowes. Jonathan was a unique man who led a varied life - first as conscientious objector, then active communist and thereafter as a trailblazing and extraordinarily successful agent to writers such as Len Deighton and Doris Lessing. We will continue to embrace his renegade, and quietly commanding, spirit in all we do.”
He leaves a widow Ann Evans, director of the agency, who he had been married to since 1981.
After founding Jonathan Clowes Ltd. in 1960, Clowes assembled a select and high-powered client list including international bestseller Len Deighton, novelist, poet and playwright Maureen Duffy, Nobel Prize winner Doris Lessing, novelists Sir Kingsley Amis, Elizabeth Jane Howard and Brian Freemantle.
His clients also included television writers David Nobbs, Carla Lane and Dr David Bellamy.
Clowes took an unlikely path to become one of London’s most renowned and respected literary agents, having left grammar school aged 15 and worked in a number of different trades, from gardener to decorator, even going on to serve time in prison for his stance as a conscientious objector.
A spokesperson for his agency said: “He carried his strong sense of ethics through to his work as an agent, quickly becoming known throughout the industry as a quietly commanding and tenacious negotiator, who always held the interests of his clients close to heart. He built close relationships with the authors he represented."
They added that he was also "incredibly generous".
He is survived by his widow Ann Evans, a daughter and a grandson.