Shari Smiley, a Longtime Literary Agent, and Manager, Died Unexpectedly at 53

Last Updated on November 18, 2023, 9:03 am

The literary community mourns the loss of its cherished member, Shari Smiley.

Shari Smiley Dead
Shari Smiley (Image via Facebook)

Shari Smiley, a longtime literary agent and manager, died unexpectedly on Tuesday, November 14, 2023. She was 53 years old. Her brother, Michael Norde, announced the sad news of her tragic demise in a post on Facebook that said,

“It is with a heavy heart that I am letting everyone know that my sister, Shari Norde Smiley, died suddenly on Tuesday. We thank everyone who has reached out to our family to offer condolences. We are a family of faith and know she is with God.”

Who was Shari Smiley?

Shari Smiley was a renowned figure in the literary community. She established a longtime career in book and movie rights. She had recently started her Smiley Management banner. Prior to that, she had been at 3 Arts after working at The Gotham Group for four years. She sold the dramatic rights to various titles, particularly In a Dark, Dark Wood, the Barbizon, and An Anonymous Girl, which ended up in bidding wars. Smiley had worked as a consultant for the executor of the J.R.R. Tolkien Estate.

She had worked at CAA for 18 years, starting as a receptionist in 1993, and sold more books than more experienced agents. When she decided to leave the agency, she called legendary literary agent Mort Janklow. He suggested naming her new company, The Smiley Group. She built her company from scratch and sold the rights of notable projects that later became films Wild, Gone Girl, The Devil Wears Prada, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Artemis Fowl series, Pride and Prejudice And Zombies, and the TV series Sharp Objects.

She worked with several best-selling authors, including Cheryl Strayed, Gillian Flynn, Jodi Picoult, Lauren Weisberger, and Mary Kubica. She was known for her caring and compassionate nature.

What happened to Shari Smiley?

The details of her death have not been made public. Her family decided not to disclose the cause of her death. According to Jayson Smiley, who co-sold Gone Girl, Smiley Shari died by suicide. In a post on Twitter, he wrote,

“I was going to do a video today on how important mental health in the industry is…

…Instead, I was awoken to a call informing me that my ex had taken her life.

My condolences to everyone who knew her.

She is finally at peace.

She’s been set free…”

We offer our deepest condolences to family and friends. May she rest in eternal peace.


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