Timothy Seldes, 88, who had a long career as an editor and literary agent in New York and whose clients included such well-regarded writers as Peter Taylor, Anne Tyler, and Nobel Prize-winner Nadine Gordimer, died Saturday at his home in Washington. He had complications from pneumonia, said his stepdaughter, Elizabeth Shreve.

Mr. Seldes began his six-decade career as a bookstore clerk before working as an editor at several publishing houses.

In 1972, he bought one of New York's most prestigious literary agencies, Russell & Volkening. He specialized in high-end fiction and literary nonfiction, acquiring many books that became bestsellers and canonical works of literature.

Among the writers Mr. Seldes inherited at Russell & Volkening were novelists Saul Bellow, Bernard Malamud, and Eudora Welty, historian Barbara Tuchman, and journalist George Plimpton.

Mr. Seldes operated his literary agency until 2012, when he sold it to Lippincott Massie McQuilkin. - Washington Post