Literary Agent Ira Silverberg—Still Gay, Ladies!—Stirs Up Baby Batter For Lit Lasses

transomira Literary Agent Ira Silverberg—Still Gay, Ladies!—Stirs Up Baby Batter For Lit Lasses Last Friday, noted literary agent Ira Silverberg welcomed a son into the world. It is the second child to be born of his seed; the mothers are two, let us say, “literary” women who live in the West Village.

Mr. Silverberg, who this year moved to Sterling Lord Literistic, likes to refer to himself as a father, not a parent. “For years I’ve had one very close friend who always said, ‘When I have a child, I’d like you to think about being the father,’” he told the Transom. “And years later, I was a single man at the time, and she had a girlfriend and they were the people I was spending most of my time with.” And then: “The call came and I hit it on the first shot. Delivered in a baby food jar. Four plus years ago a beautiful baby girl was born. The Internet helped. I keep trying to think what the image was on the screen.” For round two, Mr. Silverberg got the call while he was at the Frankfurt Book Fair; Mom was ovulating the following week and so he had to get back to New York, stat. Well, hold your horses, sister—he and his partner, former New York Times columnist Bob Morris, had a vacation planned. When he did get back, he got straight to work.

“The whole idea of helping someone to do this kind of thing is like the greatest honor in the world,” said Mr. Silverberg. His 30 or so clients, three of whom have been up for the National Book Award, include best-selling authors Neil Strauss, who wrote The Game, and Ishmael Beah, of A Long Way Gone.

But why Mr. Silverberg? For one, he’s got a great head of hair. Some have said he looks like Richard Gere; others, Dustin Hoffman. Mr. Morris calls him the “Jewish Richard Gere.”

Still, it’s a question Mr. Silverberg has pondered himself. “Look at me—I’m like this pushy Jewish faggot working in books,” he said. “They’re kind of looking at a whole lot of personality in that sperm.”

He explained the ladies’ perspective. “They were like, ‘We love this guy. He’s a lot of fun.’ And they really wanted their children to know who their father was. They felt like not knowing, that’s a whole other burden in itself.”

When Mr. Silverberg met Mr. Morris (who recently published Assisted Loving: True Tales of Double Dating With My Dad), the women were already pregnant with the first.

“Bob, in fact, probably found this more attractive than I did,” said the proud papa, who sees his daughter for two hours every Tuesday. To the little girl, it’s “Dad and Uncle Bob.” They think of themselves as two Uncle Mames, a reference to the famous literary figure, an eccentric, worldly aunt. “The second time around, I’m happy to say I had help,” he said. “Bob has been a supportive member of the family.”

The second call came when they were at a fancy literary gala. Mr. Morris was reading an excerpt from one of his books. The lady was ovulating. They rushed down to their West Village apartment. Mr. Silverberg dashed upstairs. Mr. Morris put on some Norah Jones. The women arrived. The goods were handed over. The transaction was completed by syringe, no needle.

“I am someone who absolutely did not want to have kids,” said Mr. Silverberg. “It’s the great benefit of homosexuality that you have been bred out of the reproductive pool. You don’t have that burden. You have a ‘get out of jail free’ card!”

But he couldn’t be happier about the bouncing boy. Ditto for Mr. Silverberg’s mother up in Great Neck. “He has my nose,” he said.

The only problem is heteros now think he’s more “normal.” “Somehow it makes you less queer, which sucks. I’m like, ‘Thank you, I’m as queer as I was before I masturbated into a cup.’”

smorgan@observer.com