Aitken Alexander is sad to announce the death of Brian Stone, Gillon Aitken’s earliest business partner
Gillon Aitken founded his eponymous agency in 1976. Nine years later, in 1985 he and his old school friend and colleague from Hamish Hamilton acquired the Hughes Massie Agency. It was a brilliant coup.
While Gillon could focus on building a literary list, Brian was for many years the major earner, managing the Agatha Christie Estate including making deals for most of the original much-loved movies and TV adaptations. Other important Estates included Ngaio Marsh, Mary Norton and Paul Gallico. He also handled UK rights in J.D. Salinger and Harper Lee, and was the primary agent for writers like Susan Howatch and Catherine Aird.
The two men were unmistakable and – together or individually – they always cut quite a dash. They were both unusually tall and elegant, and were inveterate smokers. Brian was a great gossip and wonderfully entertaining – he was the perfect lunchtime companion and was mostly to be found at La Famiglia in Chelsea where he had his own table and where his photo is still to be seen on the wall. You could always tell if he was there because of his characteristic gales of loud laughter from the corner. But underneath all the fun, he was actually one of the smartest agents around.
He had been suffering from dementia for many years. The last time I saw him, he thought we were at the Frankfurt Book Fair. He had loved the Frankfurt Book Fair, so it made him very happy to be back. He is survived by his husband, Neil.