A literary agent all her professional life, Deborah Rogers (1938-2014) set up her own agency in 1967, and twenty years later formed Rogers Coleridge & White with Gill Coleridge and Pat White. One of the most influential literary agents of her generation, Deborah was renowned for her taste, her loyalty and her immense generosity in the support she gave to authors. Her sudden death sent a shockwave through the world of publishing and the many writers, publishers and agents whose lives she had touched. At the 2014 London Book Fair, Deborah was presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award in International Publishing, the first agent to have received the honour. She accepted this with characteristic modesty:
“It hardly seems fair to be given an award for what has been a lifetime of such pleasure... Those who have entrusted their work to us over the years will never know the intense pride that they have brought, and the anticipation and excitement that greets each new manuscript never palls. I have them to thank most of all.”
Deborah’s particular genius lay in identifying and supporting talented young people. The Deborah Rogers Foundation (DRF) has therefore been set up in her memory to continue to seek out and nurture that talent specifically by means of two biennial awards:- one for an unpublished writer to enable them to complete a first book, and the second to help a young agent gain worldwide work experience. The Board chaired by Lord Berkeley of Knighton, Deborah’s widower, comprises people who knew and loved Deborah, including RCW colleagues and writers Ian McEwan and William Fiennes.
The winner of the Writers’ Award was announced in May 2016 and was awarded £10,000 to fund her work on her debut novel.
The Deborah Rogers Foundation is now launching a Bursary for a publishing professional to spend eight weeks working in the rights departments of publishing houses and agencies around the world.