The announcement came as JVNLA celebrated its 35th anniversary at Battery Gardens Restaurant in New York City on Monday, September 16.
In attendance at the celebration were approximately 200 guests including authors, editors, international publishers, scouts, and friends and family of Naggar. The party began just as the sun was setting over New York Harbor. Speeches were made in the middle of the evening, backdropped by sun-stained clouds, ferries traveling to Staten Island, and the Statue of Liberty.
In her speech announcing the agency change, Naggar expressed how pleased she was to be passing the torch to her daughter, Weltz, who joined JVNLA in 1994 and became agency partner in 2004. Naggar touched on her experience founding the agency in a corner of her living room in 1978, where work and family intersected. Some of her earliest authors were among the guests in attendance at the party, as were editors with whom she first worked 35 years ago and former agency employees.
Naggar then introduced Weltz as “the architect of JVNLA's future.” She noted that Weltz “has been president in all but name these past few years” and that “her incisive intelligence, energy, marketing acumen, love of books, ready humor, and editorial flair have combined to build and lead JVNLA confidently into a future all of us here are reaching to identify.”
Weltz began by remarking, “Yes, publishing has changed drastically, but no matter how much it grows, shrinks, or morphs, the core is still the wonderful words our authors write.” Thirty to forty books a year are published from the manuscripts JVNLA sells. Weltz underscored the agency's multidimensional role in bringing its authors' manuscripts into print—from helping its authors strengthen their stories, build their platforms, and harness social networking; to match-making its authors with the best possible publishing houses and seizing all opportunities to widen its authors' audiences.
In her remarks, Weltz emphasized that it has long been, and will continue to be, the agency's priority to stay one step ahead of shifts in the industry, to build communities, and to share strategies in an effort to keep the publishing industry healthy and vital.
She finished with promising words about the future: “Publishing right now is where anything is possible. Having conquered 35 years, we at JVNLA can't wait to champion many, many more wonderful stories to come.”
From Naggar's one-woman agency in 1978, JVNLA has now expanded to eight, including new President Weltz, Senior Agent Alice Tasman, Literary Agent Elizabeth Evans, Agent-at-Large Anne Engel, Contracts Manager and Audio Rights Agent Tara Hart, Literary and Australian Rights Agent Laura Biagi, and Assistant Ariana Philips.
News of the announcement was featured in Publishers Lunch here and Publishers Weekly here.
Some select photos from the 35th anniversary celebration are below, but be sure to visit our Facebook page here to see them all!
|Jean Naggar with MacArthur Award-winning author Carl Safina|
|A view of the gorgeous sunset from the restaurant|