Richard Ford leaves Alfred A. Knopf

February 12, 2008 12:16:04 PM PST
Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Richard Ford, whose books include "The Sportswriter" and "Independence Day," has left longtime publisher Alfred A. Knopf and switched to Ecco, a literary imprint of HarperCollins.

"I am incredibly pleased and honored to have Richard Ford on the Ecco list," Ecco publisher Daniel Halpern said Tuesday in a statement. "I have read his work for more than 30 years and believe he's as fine a writer as we have in this country. If I had been asked which writer I'd like most to have at Ecco, Richard Ford would be at the top of that list."

Ford, who turns 64 on Saturday, is best known for his trilogy of novels about ex-sportswriter Frank Bascombe: "The Sportswriter," the Pulitzer Prize-winning "Independence Day" and "The Lay of the Land." He has agreed to a three-book deal with Ecco, including two novels and a collection of short stories.

Ford's literary agent, Amanda Urban, said that Ford had a "long and very rewarding relationship with Knopf, but that, regrettably, we couldn't come to terms." Ford, reached by The Associated Press at his home in Maine, declined comment, except to say that his years at Knopf had been "wonderful." Knopf's director of publicity, Paul Bogaards, said that it was Ford's decision to leave.

"If the publishing association has been a good one, a long and fruitful one, the decision to leave is never an easy one to make," Bogaards said.

"Richard is one of the most significant writers of our generation. He has a lot of friends here and everyone wishes him well. I think in a situation like this, he considered his options very carefully."