Antonia Kerrigan, one of the most influential literary agents in this country, died this Wednesday in Barcelona at the age of 71. In the catalog of her represented, with more than 150 authors, there are best sellers of the likes of Carlos Ruiz Zafon, Maria Duenas, and Javier Sierra., Juan Gomez Jurado, Dulce Chaconas well as Eva Garcia Saez de Urturi.
Daughter of an American couple in love with Spain, Kerrigan was Anthony Kerrigan’s daughterEnglish translator of the complete works of unamuno and major works by Baroja, Neruda and Galdós, as well as being the first translator of Borges. The his mother, Elaine Gurevitz, pianist of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, also dedicated himself to translating Julio Cortázar into English. Born in Paris in 1952, at the end of that decade, Antonia moved with her parents to Majorca, where she became involved with the literary scene that she led there. Camilo Jose Cela while editing his influential magazine ‘Papeles de Son Armadans’. A large part of the international intelligentsia passed through the Mallorcan house of the Kerrigans and, especially, the then young writers and great friends Carlos Barral and Jaime Gil de Biedma.
Wanting to get away from the Mallorcan bohemia, in the 70s Antonia moved to Barcelona to study medicine. She came to study four courses but she left those studies planted because Carmen Balcells He claimed her to be part of his agency. She never regretted that sudden decision. Those years with the super agent were an explosive and very intense period that Kerrigan later came to define as “very hard but at the same time very productive and fascinating & rdquor ;, in which she learned to become that figure “a bit unpleasant” -according to her words- but firm and necessary that is the literary agent.
Moving away from Balcells
At the end of the 80s, he decided to emancipate himself from the shadow of Big Mama to create your own agencywhich was consolidated and became particularly strong after the discovery of Carlos Ruiz Zafón and his novel ‘The Shadow of the Wind’. The Kerrigan Agency then became an unstoppable machine for detecting and creating best sellers. He liked to remember how, thanks to the appearance of literary agents, the precarious situation of many authors had changed from top to bottom: “When I arrived at the Guadalajara Book Fair in Mexico in 1994, some authors asked me to represent them. That’s how I discovered that no one had a signed contract, that they don’t pay them the slightest advance and that from time to time they paid them crumbs”.
She was, along with Balcells, one of those in charge of correcting that anomaly, absolutely unthinkable today, and a fierce pioneer in the defense of copyright. In fact, when he told how he felt when he read ‘The Shadow of the Wind’ for the first time and sensed its potential, he used to apply a simile from the Far West: “I felt like I had found a nugget. Agents are like gold diggers “. From that novel, which promoted Barcelona internationally just a year before the Olympic Games, they were sold 15 million copies and has been translated into 36 languages,
One of his clients, the writer Juan Gomez Jurado he lamented this Thursday in a tweet of the “irreparable loss”. “All of us who knew and loved her are sorry to see her go and are heartbroken.”
Married to the architect Ricardo Pérdigo, Antonia leaves behind two children, who are also publishers Gregori Dolz and Ilya Perdigo, creators of the Alrevés and Clandestina labels.