Rupert Crew started his life as an agent, so the story goes, from a shed in his parents’ North West London house. Originally launched under the heading The Author’s Advisory Service, Rupert, who had great creative skills as an agent, was joined for a short period by his brother, Frank, and later by his wife, Kathleen, who became responsible for the agency’s fiction intake.
Kathleen had come from a family with close publishing ties – her sister was the novelist, Sonia Deane, her brother-in-law, author Andrew Soutar and her first cousin, H.A. Pitkin, launched Pitkin Pictorials, which ran until 2003.
By the 1930s the agency’s offices could be found in Gray’s Inn Place and subsequently in Warwick Court, moving on, having been bombed-out during the Blitz in 1940, to King’s Mews, which stayed as the company’s home until 2010 when we moved to new premises in leafy North London. 2019 marked another phase in the company’s history with a move to Hardy country and a town with a significant literary heritage, Dorchester.
The agency’s name was changed to that of its founder in 1947.
It remained a family firm. Rupert and Kathleen believed in maintaining a close relationship with their authors, understanding that often they ploughed a lonely furrow and needed their agent’s support.
A policy of limiting the number of writers whose work they handled was established early on, in order to ensure availability to their clients’ needs – one which the present director continues. Doreen Montgomery joined the agency in her mid-teens as Rupert’s assistant, followed by Shirley Russell, who assisted Kathleen, learning directly from each the world of the literary agent, honing their skills over the following years.
Together they ultimately took over the running of the agency, a most successful combination which was only severed by Shirley’s premature death from breast cancer in 1994.
Doreen’s daughter, Caroline – whose major responsibility lies in the field of fiction – joined the company in 1993. Having graduated with a degree in Classics and History of Art, she joined Arrow’s editorial department as an assistant, working across a wide range of fiction and non-fiction titles. With agency in her blood, she wanted to work more closely with authors and left Arrow for Elaine Greene Ltd (now Greene & Heaton) where she spent three happy years assisting Elaine and Carol, liaising with clients, handling serial and foreign rights, before finally coming back to the family firm.
Caroline has served on the committee of the Association of Authors’ Agents.
Since Doreen’s death in 2017, Caroline continues as Managing Director of Rupert Crew taking the company forward in the digital age.
The Agency is a member of the following organisations:
Rupert Crew are international literary representatives, handling volume and subsidiary rights in fiction and non-fiction properties (commission: home 15%, elsewhere 20%)