Ann Rittenberg 
 Penn Whaling
  Ann Rittenberg, President  

After attending Eckerd College and working at the St. Petersburg Times, I moved to New York and took a job assisting Atheneum's three editors, Barbara Anderman, Judy Kern, and Neil Nyren. The first week I was there I typed a hundred blurb letters about "A Few Minutes With Andy Rooney," the first thing I learned from Neil Nyren, now the editor-in-chief of Putnam, about publishing a book in as specific a way possible. I acquired my first book, a biography of the Irish short story writer Frank O'Connor; Judy Kern, a genius editor, taught me how to edit it, and the late Harry Ford, the head of production and the poetry editor (at Atheneum and later at Knopf), designed the jacket. I'll never forget the day he came upstairs, stopped in front of the receptionist's desk I occupied, lifted the tissue cover off his design with a flourish, and said, "Well? What do you think?" I was 23 and answering the phones, and he was editing Philip Levine and James Merrill and Mona van Duyn and Mark Strand, and he was beaming with pleasure at giving me this gift of my first book jacket design.

I became an editor at Atheneum before leaving to join the Julian Bach Agency, which was like dying and going to heaven. Julian loves life and, more specifically, HIS life, which is pretty terrific (for a glimpse of it, read Jan Morris's essay "Jewish Friends" in PLEASURES OF A TANGLED LIFE). Everything was "great idea - try it!" He used to give me advice about being an agent. "What is the one quality an agent needs to be a success?" I couldn't think: a nose for the new, a business head, an ability to extract large sums of money from people? "No. It's SHEER ANIMAL ENERGY." Sheer animal energy seemed to be the ability to be the last man standing, and as Julian is now over 90, it's safe to assume he's got it.

When Julian sold his agency in 1992, I went out and incorporated my own, starting the office in a sunroom in an apartment in Chicago,transplanting to a little room off the back garden of our house in Brooklyn, then spending six years on Broadway at the edge of the original Tin Pan Alley (the place where songs like those sung by my dear friend Mary Cleere Haran were written), before moving to our current location at 30 Bond Street in NoHo.

I married Paul Rittenberg the day Simon & Garfunkel had their reunion concert in Central Park. We live in Brooklyn, and we have three girls who love to read; their advice to writers can be found here.

  Penn Whaling  
  After discovering that my B.A. in Poetry Writing from the University of Virginia didn’t exactly flood my mailbox with job offers, I moved to New York to pursue a career in publishing. I attended the NYU Summer Publishing Institute in 2004 and dipped my toes into the literary world, reading submissions for Open City magazine and assisting the publisher of The Paris Review. I then worked part-time at two other agencies before joining ARLA in 2005.