Literary agent and former bookseller Emanuel Joseph Barron, known throughout the publishing industry as Manie, died January 8 from a hemorrhage while being treated for lung cancer at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. He was 56.

Barron began his publishing career in bookselling nearly 30 years ago, working at the Doubleday Bookstore at the South Street Seaport in Manhattan. He went on to become a buyer at Golden Lee Book distributors before moving to Random House as a founding member of the RH telephone sales team. Later Barron moved to editorial, acquiring titles for what would become the Striver’s Row imprint at Random House. After leaving Random House for HarperCollins, Barron rose to become publishing manager at Amistad, Harper’s African American imprint, finally leaving HarperCollins to join the William Morris Agency. After leaving William Morris, Barron partnered with literary agent Claudia Menza to form the Menza Barron Agency.

Barron was experienced in all aspects of publishing and while he specialized in works by and about African Americans, he was a tremendously popular book professional at home in any setting and brought his formidable intelligence, humor and warmth to the publication of all manner of books. He is survived by his wife, Wendalyn R. Nichols, daughter Veronica Grace Nichols Barron and extended family members. A memorial is planned for February and more details will be released later.

A college scholarship fund has been established for Manie’s daughter, Veronica. To contribute, please send a check made out to Veronica Grace Nichols Barron c/o Carrie Kania at HarperCollins, 10 East 53rd Street, New York, New York, 10022.