Harry Potter and the furious feud: Rowling banishes her literary agent

After 16 years, man behind author's first deal will miss new chapter of e-book millions

When the literary agent Christopher Little signed up an unknown writer, Joanne Rowling, in 1995, she was newly divorced, living in a one-bedroom Edinburgh flat, and had a six-month-old daughter to take care of. He secured the Harry Potter scribe a six-figure book deal and transformed her into a literary superstar. Both made a fortune. Now their fairytale partnership has come to a crashing conclusion.

Mr Little, 69, is considering legal action against Ms Rowling, whose books have sold almost half a billion copies, after it emerged that the author has defected to a new literary agency, The Blair Partnership, set up by Mr Little's former business partner Neil Blair.

Because Mr Blair is a lawyer, and not a conventional literary agent, industry sources have speculated that Ms Rowling, 45, is to take greater control of her publishing interests. Last month it was announced that Ms Rowling's new website, Pottermore, will take control of the distribution of her Potter e-book range when it launches in November.

Mr Little's spokesman said: "It came out of the blue. He was surprised to say the least. He has contracts in place with [Ms Rowling], and he has contracts in place with Neil. He is still considering his options."

Mr Little was the second agent to whom Ms Rowling wrote when trying to get the first Potter book, Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, published. "I didn't know anything about agents but I went to the library and looked up some addresses," said Ms Rowling in a 1997 interview. "I remember getting a letter back. I assumed it was a rejection note, but inside the envelope was a letter saying: 'Thank you. We would be pleased to receive the balance of your manuscript on an exclusive basis.' It was the best letter of my life. " Mr Little sold the manuscript to New York-based Scholastic Press at auction for £100,000.

Mr Little, who launched his agency from small offices in Fulham, west London, reportedly earned 15 per cent of Ms Rowling's gross earnings from the British book market and 20 per cent of her merchandising revenue, though the status of their current legal relationship is unclear. What is known is that they dealt mainly in printed books and films, whereas Mr Blair reportedly worked closely with Rowling over the creation of Pottermore.com. The website is an online "game" allowing children to explore the Harry Potter universe.

Mr Little's spokesman added: "He greatly admires her and her extraordinary talent and is proud to have played his role throughout this journey. However, he is disappointed and surprised to have heard the premature news about the proposed new arrangements which were made public yesterday."

A spokesman for Ms Rowling said last night: "We can confirm that JK Rowling has terminated her association with the Christopher Little Literary Agency. This was a painful decision, especially as Ms Rowling had actively sought a different outcome for some weeks. However, it was not taken without good reason and it finally became unavoidable."

Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Healy of The 1975 performing on the Pyramid Stage at the Glastonbury Festival, at Worthy Farm in Somerset

music
Arts and Entertainment
booksThe Withnail and I creator, has a new theory about killer's identity
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
tvDick Clement and Ian La Frenais are back for the first time in a decade
Arts and Entertainment
The Clangers: 1969-1974
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman plays Grace Kelly in the film, which was criticised by Monaco’s royal family

film
Arts and Entertainment
Emilia Clarke could have been Anastasia Steele in Fifty Shades of Grey but passed it up because of the nude scenes

film
Arts and Entertainment
A$AP Rocky and Rita Ora pictured together in 2012

music
Arts and Entertainment
A case for Mulder and Scully? David Duchovny and Gillian Anderson in ‘The X-Files’

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Impressions of the Creative Community Courtyard within d3. The development is designed to 'inspire emerging designers and artists, and attract visitors'

architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010

GlastonburyWI to make debut appearance at Somerset festival

Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister

TV reviewIt has taken seven episodes for Game of Thrones season five to hit its stride

Arts and Entertainment
Jesuthasan Antonythasan as Dheepan

FilmPalme d'Or goes to radical and astonishing film that turns conventional thinking about immigrants on its head

Arts and Entertainment
Måns Zelmerlöw performing

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Norton was back in the commentating seat for Eurovision 2015

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Hammond, Jeremy Clarkson and James May on stage

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The light stuff: Britt Robertson and George Clooney in ‘Tomorrowland: a World Beyond’
film review
Arts and Entertainment
Reawakening: can Jon Hamm’s Don Draper find enlightenment in the final ‘Mad Men’?
tv reviewNot quite, but it's an enlightening finale for Don Draper spoiler alert
Arts and Entertainment
Breakfast Show’s Nick Grimshaw

Radio
Arts and Entertainment

Eurovision
Arts and Entertainment
'Youth' cast members Paul Dano, Jane Fonda, Harvey Keitel, Rachel Weisz, and Michael Caine pose for photographers at Cannes Film Festival
film
Arts and Entertainment
Adam West as Batman and Burt Ward and Robin in the 1960s Batman TV show

Comics
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

    Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

    Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
    Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

    Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
    Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

    The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

    Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
    The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

    The future of songwriting

    How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
    William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

    Recognition at last

    Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
    Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

    Beating obesity

    The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
    9 best women's festival waterproofs

    Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

    These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
    Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

    Wiggins worried

    Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
    On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

    On your feet!

    Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Liverpool close in on Milner signing

    Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
    With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

    The big NHS question

    Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
    Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Thongs ain't what they used to be

    Big knickers are back
    Thurston Moore interview

    Thurston Moore interview

    On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
    In full bloom

    In full bloom

    Floral print womenswear
    From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

    From leading man to Elephant Man

    Bradley Cooper is terrific