Editors' note: The editors regret the original framing of this article, especially in the opening paragraph, and have revised it. We apologize for the insensitive and misleading phrasing, and are grateful for the feedback from our readers.
Literary agent Brooks Sherman is no longer affiliated with Janklow & Nesbit Associates, where he has worked since 2017. He has also recently been dropped by a number of his clients, most prominently Angie Thomas, whose bestselling YA novel The Hate U Give has been added to school curricula around the country and was made into a film that grossed $35 million at the box office—and whose sale, at auction for a rumored six figures, cemented Sherman as a major player in the children's publishing world.
“We have parted ways,” Thomas told PW yesterday by telephone from her home in Jackson, Miss., confirming that the break took place within the past week. She declined to disclose why she parted ways with Sherman or who initiated the split, but Sherman told PW in an email that Thomas fired him, adding, “It was an honor to have an opportunity to work with her for the past five years.”
The news comes following the surfacing of a number of allegations against Sherman. Last week, an anonymous person warned QueryTracker subscribers not to solicit Sherman's services, claiming that he was “no longer agenting ethically,” that he had a pattern of deceiving clients regarding submissions and foreign rights, and that he denigrated authors to other authors and to editors. “Note how many high-profile clients have left,” the anonymous person warned. “I suspect more will come out about this soon.” The post was soon shared on social media, most prominently on Twitter.
More allegations by another anonymous person appeared on QueryTracker, followed by several others on social media throughout last weekend. On Wednesday, two of Sherman’s former clients posted a statement on social media disclosing that they had both fired the agent several years ago for behavior similar to the allegations made against him last week. Several of Sherman's former clients, who left the agent more recently, most prominently Becky Albertalli and Adam Silvera, quote-tweeted that statement, declaring that they “stand with [their] former agent siblings.”
Sherman wrote in an email to PW that he is “dismayed by the allegations, but I support the importance of people speaking out about their experiences.”
In response to PW’s query, Luke Janklow, a managing partner of Janklow & Nesbit, said that Sherman resigned “a few weeks ago unrelated to any of the recent developments.” He said that Sherman’s name being removed from the Janklow website Sunday evening/Monday morning merely was “a standard housekeeping matter.” Sherman confirmed this, telling PW that his departure from Janklow & Nesbit was “voluntary, and has been in the works for some time.” Sherman wrote that he intends to “take a step back from the publishing industry.”
Thomas told PW that she was unaware before last week “of most things that Brooks was accused of,” saying that, when she first heard of the controversy swirling about Sherman, “I was stunned, I was shocked, I was disheartened. My heart goes out to [Sherman’s accusers]." She added that, due to her status as Sherman’s most high-profile client, her experiences were likely to have differed from those of other clients of his list, “but it doesn’t mean that it should discredit anything anyone else is saying. I’m hoping for all of [Sherman’s accusers] that this is a blip in very successful careers.”
Despite the troubles of the past week, Thomas said she is “ready to move forward” as she writes her fourth book, a middle grade fantasy novel. It marks a departure from her previous YA reads with their contemporary settings and themes. Thomas has not settled on a new agent; Mary Pender at United Talent Agency remains her agent for film and TV deals.
Update: On March 4, Thomas announced on Twitter that Molly Ker Hawley of the Bent Agency will represent her.