People, Etc.: Clegg Leaves WME; Editorial Layoffs at Atria; and More

Bill Clegg is leaving William Morris Endeavor after 8 years to set up his own literary agency. Clegg had not yet responded to our request for comment, so further details of his new venture are not clear, but WME svp Jennifer Rudolph Walsh told us: "For the 8 wonderful and productive years we worked together, it was the perfect match. Of course, we also understand and support Bill's desire to start his own business and spread his entrepreneurial wings. We are cheering him on as he embarks on this new chapter of his life. There is no doubt he will be triumphant."

Atria laid off a number of staffers on Monday, including vp, senior editor Malaika Adero and senior editor Sarah Durand, a spokeperson for the imprint confirmed to us. News of the editorial downsizing emerged from a post on WND.com about a book proposal circulated by six platoon mates of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl and whether Durand had allegedly expressed reservations on political grounds. Atria firmly denied any correlation, saying Durand's layoff "was part of a planned editorial downsizing" and "to say otherwise or connect is categorically wrong."

Jennifer Romanello will join Simon & Schuster Children's as vp, director of publicity on August 20. Previously she was the head of her own public relations firm, and before then spent 17 years at Grand Central Publishing, where she was most recently vp, executive director of publicity.

Scholastic announced a number of promotions and full-time hires. Gavin Brown has been promoted to digital product director, multiplatform publishing, while Rachel Griffiths moves up to editorial director, multiplatform publishing. Rachele Harmuth has been promoted to director of sales, Klutz, while Jacqueline Bernacki has been promoted to national account manager, ebooks. Cassandra Pelham has been promoted to senioreEditor, Graphix and Scholastic Press, while Erin Black has been promoted to Associate Editor, Scholastic Press. Katie Rakowski has been promoted to advertising & digital marketing Coordinator, while freelancers Jessica Meltzer and Lizzy Yoder have joined Scholastic full-time as designer and senior designer, respectively.

At Lippincott Massie McQuilkin, Amanda Panitch has been promoted to associate agent, focusing on young adult and middle grade fiction.

Mary Jane Karwoski and Annie Philbrick have joined the board of directors for the Book Industry Charitable Foundation.

In awards news, the finalists for the 2014 Thurber Prize for American Humor were announced, with the winner to be named at a ceremony at Carolines on Broadway in New York City on September 30. The finalists are:

Liza Donnelly, Women on Men (Narrative Library)
John Kenney, Truth in Advertising (Touchstone)
Bruce McCall & David Letterman,This Land Was Made for You and Me (But Mostly Me) (Blue Rider Press)