Carlotta Eden of the Society of Authors, has kindly answered my questions:-
Tell us a little about the history of the Society of Authors
The Society of Authors (SoA) is the UK trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. We’ve been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession since 1884, campaigning and lobbying on the issues that affect authors. Our Management Committee – made up of elected members – are responsible for the direction of the SoA, as well as an honorary body of up to 60 eminent authors as part of our Council, including Joanna Trollope, Joanne Harris, Neil Gaiman and our President, Philip Pullman.
How does membership of the SoA work? (benefits, costs, events etc)
Whether you are an established author working professionally in your field or actively working to develop your career as an author, we offer two tiers of membership: Full Membership and Associate Membership, with concessionary rates available to students and those over 65 who are not earning a significant amount of money from writing. Members can take advantage of individual guidance and advice on all aspects of their professional life from our team of advisors, and we also help to negotiate better agreements with free confidential contract vetting.
Can you tell us who a few of your members are?
We represent all types of authors, including academic writers, journalists, medical writers, scriptwriters, short story writers, ELT writers, historians, illustrators, literary translators, games writers and more – our Council members are listed here, and our Management Committee are here. Members can also manage their own profile on the SoA website, which they can update with their publications and contact info.
Does the SoA run events for authors?
Yes! We host a wide range of events for authors across the UK – from professional skills workshops and local group meetings to seminars and larger conferences, as well as live streams and recordings. We also have a stand at the London Book Fair each year, ensuring that our members can meet the team in person and allowing non-members to find out more about what we do and how we can help them.
Does the SoA run book awards? (who can enter, when they run, what the prizes are)
We do – the Society of Authors’ Awards are run annually by authors, for authors, with prizes totalling more than £100,000, spanning fiction, poetry, non-fiction and illustrated children’s books, with some allowing unpublished and self-published works. In addition, we run our Translation Prizes, awarded annually, biennially or every three years, recognising outstanding translations from works in Arabic, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. We also team up with other organisations on a range of other prizes – including our audio drama awards and the ALCS Educational Writers’ Award.
How else do you support your authors?
We administer a number of grants that offer writers financial help in periods of difficulty and funding for works in progress. In 2018, we awarded £369,500 in grants to authors for works in progress from the Authors’ Foundation. The grants are managed in confidence and were endowed by other writers who know that a writer’s life has its ups and downs.
We also manage the literary estates of a number of distinguished writers, including Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, E.M. Forster, Philip Larkin and Rosamond Lehmann.
What should authors do if they’d like to find out more?
To find out more about the SoA and to join, visit our website at societyofauthors.org where you can browse our upcoming events, sign up to our newsletters and catch up on the latest news. We’re also very active on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) which we use to boost our campaigns, publicise events and opportunities and keep in touch with authors. If you have any questions, you can get in touch with us on social media or via email at email@example.com.