The agent, her authors and the legal battles worthy of a bestseller
smh.com.au – Friday March 22, 2019
Selwa Anthony is ensconced on an avocado-green leather sofa, a chihuahua reclining on either side of her. The leading literary agent is small but commanding, a diminutive grande dame with sharp brown eyes and long purple fingernails. As always, she is carefully coiffured and glamorously dressed, as if her next appointment were a cocktail party. But Anthony's mood on this warm afternoon is more defiant than festive. "Everything I've done in my life has been boots and all," she says.
Literary agents are behind-the-scenes people. Their job is to foster writers' careers and secure them good publishing deals: they rarely make news in their own right. Yet Anthony has had a central role in not one but two headline-grabbing court cases in the past year. First, she was in the thick of a battle over the estate of her friend Colleen McCullough, best-known as the author of the blockbuster outback saga The Thorn Birds. Then came the showdown with her former star client, bestselling mystery-romance writer Kate Morton. Anthony, who initiated the legal action against Morton, ended up feeling that her own professional reputation was on trial. In the witness box, she was grilled for hours. "It was terrible, terrible, terrible," she says, as sunlight streams into her harbourside Sydney apartment.
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