Ten years ago - Pat Kavanagh dies

News - Publishing Thursday, 08 November 2018

As BookBrunch marks its 10th birthday, we recall stories from our first autumn


The publishing world was shocked today to hear of the death of Pat Kavanagh, one of London's most distinguished literary agents, whose portfolio of clients included Joanna Trollope, Sally Beauman, Hermione Lee, Ruth Rendell, Sandi Toksvig, Andrew Motion, Robert Harris and Julian Barnes, to whom she was married. She had been suffering from a brain tumour.

Kavanagh was among the last of a group of so-called "rebel agents" to leave PFD last year to set up United Agents, having been forced to work out her notice period. A statement from UA said: "Pat Kavanagh was an exceptional agent and great friend. We all owe her a tremendous amount; she was an extraordinary presence, who was much loved and will be greatly missed by her colleagues and clients. All our thoughts today are with Julian."

Robert Harris, who had worked with Kavanagh for 28 years, told BookBrunch: "She was the only agent I've ever had and I'm going to miss her terribly. She was a life force. Everyone is very stunned; my heart goes out to Julian."

Caroline Dawnay, joint head of books at United Agents, told BookBrunch that she and her colleagues "are all very shattered. It's a great shock. She'd been off work for four weeks, but we hoped she'd recover and come back. We hadn't told all her clients she was ill.

"I worked with Pat for 31 years and I've lost the best colleague I could ever have had."
20 October 2008

Julian Barnes won the 2011 Man Booker Prize, for The Sense of an Ending. He wrote about his bereavement in the (mostly) non-fiction work Levels of Life (2013).

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