'Inspirational' agent Deborah Rogers dies

'Inspirational' agent Deborah Rogers dies

Rogers, Coleridge and White has confirmed the death of its chairman, literary agent Deborah Rogers.

A statement from RCW said it was with “great sadness” that they announced the death of their “beloved colleague”. Rogers, who was in her 70s, had a suspected heart attack yesterday (30th April).

“She was an inspiration: a peerless agent, a wonderful friend and greatly loved by colleagues, authors and friends alike,” RCW's statement continued. “Her loss on a professional and personal level will be deeply felt and hard to bear but Deborah has created a remarkable company which will endure and flourish in the way she would have wished. Our love and thoughts are with her family, Michael and Jessica and her sister Sue.”

One of the writers Rogers represented was Kazuo Ishiguro, who said:  “I'm groping for consolations in the face of this loss, but one of them is that she departed absolutely at the top of her game, knowing no decline. In the last few months, she was sharper, wiser, more energetic than at any time in the 34 years I've known her.”

Rogers worked with Peter Janson-Smith before setting up her own agency in 1967, which later become RCW.

In addition to Ishiguro, her exceptional roster of prominent writers included Ian McEwan, Hanif Kureishi, A S Byatt, Anita Desai, Peter Carey and Thomas Keneally.

Rogers was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing at this year's London Book Fair.

At the time, Rogers paid tribute to her colleagues at RCW, and said: “We have worked together in the most rewarding professional environment as part of a world wide publishing community that has shared our values, celebrated our authors, rejoiced in their writing and furthered our mutual interests. And a community which has provided so many valued friends. But most important of all are the writers themselves with whom I have had the privilege of working and without whom none of this would have been possible. Those who have entrusted their work to us over the years will never know the intense pride that they have brought, and the anticipation and excitement that greets each new manuscript never palls. I have them to thank most of all.”

Speaking ahead of the award presentation, McEwan called her a “generous, richly creative, hugely well-read and warm-hearted spirit”, while Penguin Random House UK chair Gail Rebuck described Rogers as “legendary”. On the same occasion, David Roche, non-executive chair of The London Book Fair, said Rogers’“talent for identifying new writers, dedication to her authors and her outstanding contribution to the world of books have gained her respect across the literary world”.

Rogers was a past president of the Association of Authors’ Agents, and served on the management committee of the Man Booker Prize and the inaugural committee that set up the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS).