Literary Twitter has responded in all manner of ways to the death of George Floyd and to the subsequent nationwide outrage. Anti-racist book lists abound, black-owned bookstores get great press, and people continue to call out the publishing industry for racism. Most recent is Marisa Corvisiero, founder and agent at Corvisiero Literary Agency, an NYC-based boutique agency whose clients include Maze Runner author James Dashner, who publisher Penguin Randomhouse dropped in 2018 over allegations of sexual misconduct.
“Make your point, take a stand, and don’t hurt other people or damage property in the process,” said Corvisiero yesterday in a now-deleted tweet. “No violence is acceptable ever. The whole point is to be heard and seen to help make things better.”
In response to this statement and to the agency’s representation of Dashner, many members of Corvisiero’s staff resigned this week. And if things ended there, this wouldn’t be news. Instead, Corvisiero doubled down by firing her remaining staffers.
“Given the negative attention my tweet yesterday about protesting peacefully has garnered, I think that it is better if we all part ways,” she said in a leaked email to her remaining staff. “I have owned up to my comments and clarified my position as well as apologized for its incorrectness, but in today’s atmosphere that is not enough. I don’t want you all to get caught in the crossfire.”
“I left Corvisiero as of Monday (prior to the news below) because I didn’t agree with Marisa’s representation of Dashner. After the ordeal mentioned below [in the leaked email], it only solidified my feelings,” said agent Tara Gilbert in a tweet. The former staff has also responded to the authors they represented in a joint statement, linked here in full.
“This right here is an asshole. She’s done her staff a favor, frankly, tho I hope they sue the shit out of her for wrongful termination,” said writer N.K. Jemisin in a tweet. “May her clients find a better agent ASAP.”