Veteran literary agent Albert Zuckerman is retiring. Currently the chairman emeritus of Writers House, the agency he founded, Zuckerman will be closing the book on a nearly 50-year career in the business.
Having sold a lengthy list of iconic (and successful) books—including, among others, Michael Lewis's Moneyball, Ken Follett's The Pillars of the Earth, and Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time—Zuckerman, Writers House said, is "a true legend" of the industry.
"Al Zuckerman hired me straight out of college, taught me the business of publishing, and ran Writers House with a savvy and familial touch that explains why so many agents at Writers House have been with the company for decades," said Amy Berkower, chair of Writers House. "Simon Lipskar and I are committed to carrying on his legacy."
At the beginning of his career, "Al was a one man shop, taking business meetings in a bank lobby; he retires having overseen the growth of the company to the industry-leading agency it is today, with over 20 agents and fifty employees," Writers House said of its longtime leader in a statement about his retirement.
The statement continued: "At the core of his success was Al’s extraordinary understanding of storytelling, begun with his doctoral thesis on Hamlet at Yale’s famed Drama School and continuing on through his own work as a drama professor, novelist, television writer and playwright. Founding the agency in 1973, he brought a new idea of what a literary agent should be–a true creative and business partner for writers—and helped dozens of authors develop their work into NY Times bestsellers. He shared his ideas about narrative in his own book, Writing the Blockbuster Novel, which many bestselling writers have credited as giving them the key insights that led to their success."