News & Reviews
Literary agent, editor Knox Burger: 1922-2010
Legendary book editor and literary agent Knox Burger,
who some credit as ushering in the era of million dollar book deals,
died in New York City on Jan. 4, at age 87. Burger spent his career as
an advocate for writers, first as fiction editor at the magazine
Collier’s, then for two decades as a book editor at Dell and Fawcett
Burger was the
first editor to give a young Kurt Vonnegut the green light to a
literary career when Collier’s published his first short story "Report
on the Barnhouse Effect" in 1950.
As a book editor, Burger later worked with renowned authors such as
Vonnegut -- who dedicated a book to him -- John Steinbeck, Ray
Bradbury, and Louis L'Amour, among many others.
But it was as a literary agent where his reputation was made. Burger
founded the literary agency Knox Burger & Associates in 1970 with
his wife Kitty Sprague, where he quickly built a reputation as an
aggressive negotiator and dealmaker.
His $1 million
deal for Martin Smith’s "Gorky Park" in 1980, unheard of at the time,
helped make him one of the book industry’s most renowned literary
In 2000, Burger merged his agency with Harold Ober
Associates. The agency, among the more successful and
respected today, is located in Burger's beloved Manhattan.
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