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Agent Ira Silverberg said to be new NEA literature director

October 27, 2011 | 12:37 pm

Agent Ira Silverberg is leaving Sterling Lord Literistic to become the National Endowment for the Arts literature director, according to an email obtained by the publishing industry newsletter Publishers Lunch. The NEA has not yet made an official announcement of his appointment.

In the email, Silverberg wrote, "After 26 years in book publishing, it was time for a change. This particular change will keep me very close to the field I grew up in. I'm honored to do this kind of government service and am thrilled that I’ll be able to help the community of independent publishers, literary journals, writing centers and writers who are supported by the NEA."

Silverberg joined with the powerful literary agency in 2008, where he represented both bestsellers and literary prize-winners, including Neil Strauss, Sam Lipsyte, Ishmael Beah, David Bezmozgis and the estates of Kathy Acker and Jacqueline Susann. His move to the position at the NEA will mean giving up agenting -- at least for now.

Publishers Lunch indicated that Silverberg would leave his agent's position in mid-to late-November and that he will join the National Endowment for the Arts as literature director on Dec. 5. An official at the NEA said the agency was unable to comment Thursday -- but will be able to on Friday.

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-- Carolyn Kellogg

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