Mary Pachnos, who has worked with Aitken Alexander Associates for the last 20 years, retired at the end of 2016.
Pachnos' headline clients as an agent included busker and author James Bowen and ghostwriter Garry Jenkins, who together wrote A Street Cat Named Bob (Hodder), as well as Pete McCarthy, Jan Fennell and Jane Goldman. She was also the original agent for Louise Rennison, who died in February 2016.
Pachnos' career began as an editor, aged 19, for New American Library on the Plume, Meridian and Mentor academic lists in 1974. She moved to the UK at the age of 23, arranging Stephen King's first author tour for New English Library. One of the highlights was having lunch at Elstree on the set of "The Shining" with Stanley Kubrick.
Pachnos became rights director for Macmillan in 1982, where she and George Harding were the first readers of The Wasp Factory. Later she sold the TV rights to the Inspector Morse series (Pan) to Central Television. Subsequently, after getting an MBA at the London Business School, she was rights and contracts director at Simon and Schuster UK from 1991-1996, handling authors as diverse as Bob Woodward, associate editor at The Washington Post, and actor Carrie Fisher, whose death marked the close of 2016.
Following her retirement, Pachnos will be volunteering as a guide at London Zoo.