The long rise of Philip K. Dick's reputation, from out-of-print obscurity during much of the '70s and '80s to celebrated film projects and literary respectability, is well known to io9 readers. But the author has just taken another step uptown.
Few people have noticed that the Dick estate has changed agents, and is newly represented by The Andrew Wylie Agency, the august London- and New York-based literary firm whose living writers include Martin Amis and Philip Roth, and which also represents the estates of John Updike and Vladimir Nabokov. It's the literary equivalent of an outsider artist being shown at the powerhouse Gagosian gallery.
The move represents another step toward canonical (and highly profitable) status for the late writer and his body of work. The publication of his key novels in the Library of America's prestigious series — the third volume came out last summer — was another.
Isa Dick Hackett, the author's daughter, confirmed the move, which took place about a week ago, but said she could not yet comment for the record.
Wylie thus replaces Russell Galen, with whom the author and his estate have had a long and apparently fruitful relationship. Galen was a crucial figure in bringing Dick higher advances and helping some of his work return to print in the late '70s. Dick dedicated VALIS, one of his last and best-regarded novels, to the agent, writing, "To Russell Galen, who showed me the right way."
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This said, the move to a larger, more international agency could improve the author's worldwide reach: Though some of Dick's earliest and most important support came from audiences and critics in France, Germany and Japan, his work, as a rule, circulates poorly overseas.
(Those following my six-part series on the author's final decade can find the third installment here; new readers can also get started here.)