Johns to retire at A P Watt

Johns to retire at A P Watt

Derek Johns has announced his retirement from agency AP Watt.

Johns, who will retire at the end of November, began at AP Watt in 1992, after working as an editor at Random House in New York and a publisher at The Bodley Head and Granta.

During his career, he has represented writers including Sebastian Barry, Giles Foden, Linda Grant, Michael Ignatieff, Yann Martel, Rohinton Mistry, Jan Morris, Andrew O'Hagan, Jon Ronson and Louisa Young.

From 2003 to 2006 Johns served as president of the Association of Authors Agents, and sat on the advisory committee of the Man Booker Prize, a position he will continue to hold. He will also continue to act as a consultant to United Agents, the agency which bought AP Watt, the oldest literary agency in the world, last year.

Johns said: "I am proud of my clients’ achievements over the past twenty years, and proud too of the role I played in helping to bring together two great agencies. I shall remain in the world of writers and writing, but in different ways."

He said his clients had all been informed, and negotiations were under way to transfer them to other agents at United Agents. Johns, who turned 65 last month, told The Bookseller: "Negotiations are ongoing, but we have a wealth of fine agents here, so I would expect most clients to stay on."

He added: "My years with AP Watt have been the happiest of my career. Publishing has changed a lot in the past 21 years, and now with the agencies successfully joined, it seemed like the right time to step back from my day to day work. I will not be idle though. I have plans to write more, and other ideas still being developed."

Robert Kirby, co-head of United Agent's literary department said: "It’s been wonderful to work closely with Derek, who has been pivotal to the acquisition of A P Watt and tireless in bringing together our agencies. Thankfully, it’s not a complete goodbye as he will act as a consultant to United Agents."

Johns is the author of Wintering, Wakening and The Billy Palmer Chronicles (all published by Portobello).