Literary agent it is *

Steve Wasserman is moving to New York. Today's press release is below, followed by this afternoon's memo to the Times staff saying a successor "will be named soon." First, the release on his new job:

Steve Wasserman, editor of the Los Angeles Times Book Review since 1996, has been named a Director of Kneerim & Williams at Fish & Richardson P.C., a literary agency, effective May 16. He will also serve as head of the agency¹s New York office. The agency, which represents a range of major authors including Brad Meltzer, Stephen Greenblatt, Joseph Ellis, and E.O. Wilson, is part of one of the nation¹s leading intellectual property law firms.

"Steve Wasserman combines a wealth of experience with a vast knowledge of the journalistic, literary, and publishing communities," said John Taylor ("Ike") Williams, co-chair of Fish & Richardson¹s Media and Entertainment practice. "In his new role as literary agent, Steve brings a strong sense of commitment and a thorough understanding of the interests and needs of authors, readers, publishers, and editors."

"We¹re delighted that Steve is joining us," added Jill Kneerim, the agency's co-director. "He¹s at home in the publishing world on both coasts and is well known to both writers and publishers." Wasserman will be joining two other agents, Brettne Bloom and Elisabeth Weed, in Fish & Richardson's New York office.

[snip]

"My years at the Los Angeles Times have been wonderful in every respect, and it has been both a privilege and a pleasure to preside over the reinvention of the paper's Book Review," said Wasserman. "I look forward to meeting the challenge and opportunity afforded me in my new post to introduce yet more readers to the world of books."

The release notes that Wasserman was assistant editor of the LAT's Sunday Opinion section from 1978-83, then became editor in chief at New Republic Books, publisher and editorial director of Hill & Wang, and head of The Noonday Press. He took over the Times Book Review in 1996.

* Also: The Times' John Montorio and Tim Rutten announce today that Wasserman informed them of his decision several weeks ago, but kept the news quiet through the book festival. The memo follows:

Sent: Tuesday, May 03, 2005 1:35 PM
Subject: Book Editor Steve Wasserman resigns

Friends:

After eight and one half years of remarkable service, Steve Wasserman has resigned his post as editor of the Book Review to join the literary agency Kneerim & Williams at Fish & Richardson, where he will be a co-director and head of the New York office.

Steve actually informed us of his decision several weeks ago, but characteristically offered to remain through the recent Times Festival of Books, where he played his usual energetic role.

Over these past years, Steve has steered the Book Review through a notable period of transformation and growth, in the process weathering several difficult economic periods during which he played a key role in preserving the section's critical integrity and firm sense of purpose. Under his leadership, Book Review has attained a deserved reputation for its determined committment to appraisals of serious fiction, nonfiction and poetry by reviewers of international standing.

Because of Steve's deep personal commitment to his assignment and diligent efforts on behalf of literary criticism, we have had a strong foundation on which to base the recent expansion of Book Review's service to readers, as well as the substantial increase in the number and quality of reviews appearing in the daily paper.

The Times' committment to literary journalism and criticism continues to grow and deepen, incorporating the record of service Steve has established over these past years. His resignation is effective May 13, and we know you will join us in thanking him for those efforts and in wishing him well in his new endeavor.

The search for Steve's successor already is under way, and an announcement regarding that appointment will be made soon.

-- John Montorio, Deputy Managing Editor

-- Tim Rutten, Associate Editor

Previously: More on Wasserman


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