Society of Authors
|Full name||The Society of Authors|
|Members||More than 10,000|
Philip Pullman, President
David Donachie, ChairNicola Solomon, Chief Executive
|Office location||London, UK|
The Society of Authors (SoA) is a United Kingdom trade union for professional writers, illustrators and literary translators that was founded in 1884 to protect the rights and further the interests of authors. As of June 2017[update], it represents more than 10,000 members and associates.
The SoA vets members' contracts and advises on professional issues, as well as providing training, representing authors in collective negotiations with publishers to improve contract terms, lobbying on issues that affect authors such as copyright, UK arts funding and Public Lending Right.
The SoA administers a range of grants for writers in need (The Authors' Contingency Fund, The Francis Head Bequest and The P.D. James Memorial Fund) and to fund work in progress (The Authors’ Foundation and K Blundell Trust), awarding more than £250,000 to writers each year.
The SoA also administers prizes for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translation and drama, including the Betty Trask Award, the Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction and The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award.
The SoA acts as the literary representative for the estates of a number of writers. This list includes George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Philip Larkin, E. M. Forster, Rosamond Lehmann, Walter de la Mare, John Masefield and Compton Mackenzie.
Authors of all kinds are eligible to join, whether they are already established or at the beginning of their careers.
It has counted amongst its members and presidents numerous notable writers and poets including Tennyson (first president), George Bernard Shaw, John Galsworthy, John Edward Masefield, Thomas Hardy, H. G. Wells, J. M. Barrie and E. M. Forster.
Bernard Shaw was an early member who took a prominent part in action and discussions, founding the League of Dramatists in 1931 as part of the Society. The Authors' Licensing and Collection Society was also formed after much action by the Society.
The Society's quarterly journal, The Author was first published in 1890. Its first editor was novelist and historian Walter Besant, the Society's founding Chair. He was succeeded by George Herbert, author Denys Kilham Roberts, author C.R. Hewitt (writing as 'C.H. Rolph'), the theatre critic, biographer and newspaper editor Richard Findlater, author Derek Parker, novelist Andrew Taylor, novelist and publisher Fanny Blake and novelist and publisher Andrew Rosenheim. Since November 2012 the editor has been the writer and critic James McConnachie.
In 1958 the Translators Association (TA) was established as a specialist group within the Society of Authors.
Awards and prizes
Prizes for fiction and non-fiction administered by the Society include:
- The Betty Trask Award
- The Baileys Women's Prize for Fiction
- The Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award
- The Cholmondeley Award
- The Elizabeth Longford Prize
- The Eric Gregory Award
- The McKitterick Prize
- The Imison Award
- The Tinniswood Award
- The Somerset Maugham Award
- The Tom-Gallon Trust Award
- The Travelling Scholarships
The Society also administers a number of literary translation prizes, including:
- Scott Moncrieff Prize for French Translation
- Hellenic Foundation for Culture Award for Greek Translation (triennial)
- Schlegel-Tieck Prize for German Translation
- The German Embassy Award for German Translation
- Bernard Shaw Prize for Swedish Translation (triennial)
- Vondel Prize for Dutch Translation (biennial)
- Calouste Gulbenkian Prize for Portuguese Translation (triennial)
- Premio Valle Inclan for Spanish Translation
- John Florio Prize for Italian Translation (biennial)
- Banipal Prize for Arabic Literary Translation (annual)
Writers in Oxford
Writers in Oxford is a society for published authors living or working in the Oxford area of the United Kingdom. It was founded in 1992 by local members of the Society of Authors such as Philip Pullman and is run by its members for the benefit of fellow writers. It holds some joint events with the Society of Authors as well as its own programme of speaker meetings, visits and networking gatherings.
A selection of members, past and present:
- Philip Pullman, founder member
- Janie Hampton, founder member, Chair from 2003
- Frank Egerton, Chair 2008-10
- Robert Bullard, Chair
- Julie Summers, former Chair
- Richard Webster
- Dennis Hamley
- Nathan Dylan Goodwin
- Ross King and Melanie King, who met through WiO
- Brian Levison
- Frances Farrer
- Niel Bushnell, Authors North sub-group events committee Chair 2016-2019
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