Royal Society of Literature

Last updated

Royal Society of Literature
Formation1820;202 years ago (1820)
Type Learned society
Headquarters Somerset House, London, England, United Kingdom
Dame Marina Warner DBE
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall

The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) is a learned society founded in 1820, by King George IV, to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent". A charity that represents the voice of literature in the UK, the RSL has about 600 Fellows, elected from among the best writers in any genre currently at work. Additionally, Honorary Fellows are chosen from those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of literature, including publishers, agents, librarians, booksellers or producers. The society is a cultural tenant at London's Somerset House.



The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) was founded in 1820, with the patronage of George IV, to "reward literary merit and excite literary talent", [1] and its first president was Thomas Burgess, Bishop of St David's (who was later translated as Bishop of Salisbury).

At the heart of the RSL is its Fellowship, "which encompasses the most distinguished writers working today", with the RSL Council, Chair and President, who are responsible for its direction and management, being drawn from the Fellowship. As an independent charity, the RSL receives no regular public or government funding, relying on the support of its Members, Patrons, Fellows and friends to continue its work. The RSL has about 600 Fellows, elected from among the best writers in any genre currently at work. Additionally, Honorary Fellows are chosen from those who have made a significant contribution to the advancement of literature, including publishers, agents, librarians, booksellers or producers, or who have rendered special service to the RSL. [2] Paid membership is open to all and offers a variety of benefits. [3] [4]

The society publishes an annual magazine, The Royal Society of Literature Review, [5] and administers a number of literary prizes and awards, including the RSL Ondaatje Prize, the RSL Giles St Aubyn Awards for Non-Fiction, the RSL Encore Award for best second novel of the year and the V. S. Pritchett Memorial Prize for short stories.

In 2000, the RSL published a volume that provides a description and history of the society, written by one of its fellows, Isabel Quigly. [6]

In 2020, the RSL celebrated its 200th anniversary with the announcement of RSL 200, "a five-year festival launched with a series of major new initiatives and 60 new appointments championing the great diversity of writing and writers in the UK". [7] Initiatives included RSL Open (electing new Fellows from communities, backgrounds and experiences currently under-represented in UK literary culture), RSL International Writers (recognising the contribution of writers across the globe to literature in English) [7] and Sky Arts RSL Writers Awards. [8]

In 2021, the RSL launched "Literature Matters: Reading Together", a project aiming to make recreational reading accessible to young people across the UK. [9]


The society maintains its current level of about 600 Fellows of the Royal Society of Literature: generally 14 new fellows are elected annually, who are accorded the privilege of using the post-nominal letters FRSL.

Past and present fellows include Samuel Taylor Coleridge, J. R. R. Tolkien, W. B. Yeats, Rudyard Kipling, Thomas Hardy, George Bernard Shaw, Arthur Koestler, Chinua Achebe, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Robert Ardrey, Sybille Bedford, Muriel Spark, P. J. Kavanagh, and Sir Roger Scruton. Present Fellows include Margaret Atwood, Bernardine Evaristo, David Hare, Kazuo Ishiguro, Hilary Mantel, Andrew Motion, Paul Muldoon, Zadie Smith, Nadeem Aslam, Sarah Waters, Geoffrey Ashe and J. K. Rowling. A newly created fellow inscribes his or her name on the society's official roll using either Byron's pen, T. S. Eliot's fountain pen, which replaced Dickens's quill in 2013, [10] or (as of 2018) George Eliot's pen. [11]

From time to time the RSL confers the honour and title of Companion of Literature to writers of particular note. Additionally the RSL can bestow its award of the Benson Medal for lifetime service in the field of literature.


The RSL runs a membership programme offering a variety of events to members and the general public. Membership of the RSL is open to all. [12]

The RSL also runs an outreach programme, currently for young people and those in prison.

Awards and prizes

The RSL administers two annual prizes, two awards, and two honours. Through its prize programmes, the RSL supports new and established contemporary writers.

Council and presidents

The Council of the Royal Society of Literature is central to the election of new fellows, and directs the RSL's activities through its monthly meetings. Council members serve for a fixed term of four years, with new members being elected by Council when members retire. [13]

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall
Dame Marina Warner DBE
Presidents Emeritus
Sir Michael Holroyd CBE FRHistS C Lit
Colin Thubron CBE
Chair of Council
Daljit Nagra OBE
Anne Chisholm OBE
Maureen Duffy
Bernardine Evaristo OBE
Maggie Gee OBE
The Hon. Victoria Glendinning CBE
Dame Hilary Mantel DBE
Blake Morrison
Philip Pullman CBE
Elif Shafak
Kamila Shamsie
Ali Smith CBE
Claire Tomalin
Jenny Uglow OBE, Benson Medallist
Colin Chisholm, Hon. Treasurer
Imtiaz Dharker
Inua Ellams
Sir Richard Eyre CH CBE
Abdulrazak Gurnah
Tessa Hadley
Derek Johns
Jonathan Keates FSA
Dame Hermione Lee FBA
Daljit Nagra
Susheila Nasta
Irenosen Okojie
Michèle Roberts
Henry Simpson, Hon. Treasurer

List of presidents


The Royal Society of Literature comprises more than 600 Fellows, who are entitled to use the post-nominal letters FRSL.

New fellows of the Royal Society of Literature are elected by its current fellows. To be nominated for fellowship, a writer must have published two works of literary merit, and nominations must be seconded by an RSL fellow. All nominations are presented to members of the Council of the Royal Society of Literature, who vote biannually to elect new fellows. Nominated candidates who have not been successful are reconsidered at every election for three years from the year in which they were proposed. Newly elected fellows are introduced at the Society's AGM and summer party. While the President reads a citation for each, they are invited to sign their names in the roll book which dates back to 1820, using either T. S. Eliot's fountain pen or Byron's pen. In 2013, Charles Dickens' quill was retired and replaced with Eliot's fountain pen, [10] and in 2018 George Eliot's pen was offered as a choice, the first time in the RSL's history that a pen that belonged to a woman writer was an option. [11]

In 2018, the RSL honoured the achievements of Britain's younger writers through the initiative "40 Under 40", which saw the election of 40 new fellows aged under 40. [14]

Current fellows

The current list of approximately 600 fellows:
FellowYear of
*Julia Abel Smith DL2008
*Melanie Abrahams FRSA2020
Peter Ackroyd CBE1984
Donald Adamson JP FSA FRHistS1983
Fleur Adcock CNZM OBE1984
Diran Adebayo 2006
John Agard 2007
*Sandra Agard, Benson Medallist2022
Bola Agbaje 2018
Patience Agbabi 2017
Hanan al-Shaykh 2019
*Clare Alexander2021
Monica Ali 2019
Keith Alldritt 1978
Fergus Allen CB2000
*Ellah Wakatama Allfrey OBE2019
David Almond OBE2011
*David Altaras1996
Martin Amis 1983
Mark Amory 1996
Tahmima Anam 2017
*Linda Anderson2020
Carole Angier 2002
Raymond Antrobus MBE2020
Kwame Anthony Appiah 2017
Lisa Appignanesi OBE2015
Anne Applebaum 2021
Chloe Aridjis 2020
Simon Armitage CBE2004
Karen Armstrong OBE2005
Bruce Arnold OBE1994
Geoffrey Ashe MBE1963
Michael Asher 1996
Rosemary Ashton OBE FBA1999
Zawe Ashton 2021
Jenn Ashworth 2018
Nadeem Aslam 2010
*Syima Aslam 2019
Diana Athill OBE2001
Kate Atkinson MBE2010
Margaret Atwood CC FRSC C Lit2010
Sir Alan Ayckbourn CBE1991
*Pete Ayrton2019
David Baddiel 2019
Paul Bailey 1999
*Bibi Bakare-Yusuf 2019
Sarah Bakewell 2012
John Banville 2007
Richard Barber FSA FRHistS1971
Juliet Barker 2001
Pat Barker CBE1995
Correlli Barnett CBE FRHistS1964
Damian Barr 2020
Sebastian Barry 2009
Susan Bassnett 2007
Sir Jonathan Bate CBE FBA2004
Laura Bates BEM2018
Martin Bax 2002
Sally Bayley2021
Dame Mary Beard DBE FBA FSA2019
Dame Gillian Beer DBE FBA2006
Sir Antony Beevor 1999
*Sharmilla Beezmohun2019
Rosalind Belben 1999
Anne Olivier Bell MBE1984
Anthea Bell OBE2013
Jay Bernard 2018
Emily Berry 2018
Homi Bhabha 2021
*Xandra Bingley2019
*Robert Binyon2000
Dea Birkett 2000
Julia Blackburn 2002
Terence Blacker 2017
Malorie Blackman OBE2009
Sir Quentin Blake CBE RDI2013
Ronald Blythe CBE, Benson Medallist1970
Elleke Boehmer FRHistS2019
* Mair Bosworth2020
William Boyd CBE1982
Melvyn Bragg (The Lord Bragg DL)1971
Piers Brendon 2010
Howard Brenton 2017
Simon Brett OBE2015
Raymond Briggs CBE1993
Robin Briggs FBA FRHistS1999
*Jenny Brown2021
*Tony Brown2020
Alan Brownjohn 1999
James Buchan 2001
Moira Buffini 2014
Anna Burns 2021
John Burnside FRSE1999
*Margaret Busby CBE, Benson Medallist2017
Jez Butterworth 2019
A. S. Byatt (Dame Antonia Byatt DBE)1983
David Cairns CBE2001
Lucy Caldwell 2018
Dame Carmen Callil DBE, Benson Medallist2010
Sir David Cannadine FBA FSA FRHistS1999
Vahni Capildeo 2019
John Carey FBA1982
Peter Carey AO1989
Ciaran Carson 2014
Miranda Carter 2011
Justin Cartwright MBE2002
Helen Castor 2017
David Caute JP FRHistS1998
Hugh Cecil 1997
Aidan Chambers 2009
Debjani Chatterjee MBE2019
Amit Chaudhuri 2009
Tracy Chevalier 2008
Anne Chisholm OBE1989
Rupert Christiansen 1997
Kate Clanchy MBE2010
Susannah Clapp 2013
Brian Clark 1985
Gillian Clarke 2000
John Clay 1998
*Michael Codron CBE2019
Jonathan Coe 2012
J. M. Coetzee 1988
Richard Cohen2017
Isabel Colegate 1981
*Gill Coleridge2021
Linda Colley (Lady Cannadine CBE FBA FRHistS)2004
Sophie Collins 2018
Cressida Connolly 2020
Tony Connor 1972
P. J. Conrad 1974
Peter Conradi 2010
David Constantine 2007
*Jon Cook2021
Artemis Cooper (Lady Beevor)2016
Susan Cooper 2020
Wendy Cope OBE1992
John Cornwell 1985
Frank Cottrell Boyce 2012
Cressida Cowell MBE2021
Jim Crace 1999
Robert Crawford FBA FRSE2021
Kevin Crossley-Holland 1998
Tony Curtis 2000
Rachel Cusk 2012
David Dabydeen 2000
William Dalrymple FRSE FRGS FRAS1995
Richard Davenport-Hines FRHistS2003
Andrew Davies 1996
Norman Davies CMG FBA FRHistS2013
Paul Davies AM1999
Stevie Davies 1998
Dick Davis 1981
Richard Dawkins FRS1997
Jill Dawson 2020
April De Angelis 2020
Louis de Bernières 2006
Margreta de Grazia 2021
Alain de Botton 2011
*Tim Dee2017
Edmund de Waal CBE2021
Anita Desai, Benson Medallist1978
Imtiaz Dharker 2010
David Dilks FRHistS1986
Maura Dooley 2006
*Jonathan Douglas2021
Robert Douglas-Fairhurst [15] 2015
Roddy Doyle 2003
Dame Margaret Drabble DBE1973
Jane Draycott 2020
Dame Carol Ann Duffy DBE1999
Maureen Duffy FKC, Benson Medallist, Vice-President1985
Sasha Dugdale 2020
Ian Duhig 2006
Katherine Duncan-Jones 1991
Douglas Dunn OBE1981
Jane Dunn 1999
Nell Dunn 2004
Geoff Dyer 2005
Will Eaves 2021
Reni Eddo-Lodge 2021
David Edgar 1985
Helen Edmundson 2015
Yvvette Edwards 2020
Max Egremont (The Lord Egremont DL FSA)2001
Menna Elfyn 2015
Inua Ellams 2018
Anne Enright 2010
Diana Evans 2020
Sir Richard Evans FBA FRHistS FLSW1999
Bernardine Evaristo OBE2004
Sir Richard Eyre CBE2011
Ruth Fainlight 2007
Duncan Fallowell 2015
Moris Farhi MBE2001
Paul Farley 2012
Sebastian Faulks CBE1994
Lara Feigel 2018
James Fenton FRSA1983
Adam Fergusson MEP2009
Maggie Fergusson MBE2007
The Hon. William Fiennes 2009
Orlando Figes 2003
Anne Fine OBE2003
Tibor Fischer 2003
Richard Ford 2012
Aminatta Forna OBE2012
Richard Fortey FRS2009
Roy Foster FBA FRHistS1992
Adam Foulds 2009
*Dan Franklin2019
Peter Frankopan 2020
Lady Antonia Fraser DBE2003
Robert Fraser 2007
Michael Frayn C Lit1969
Maureen Freely 2011
Esther Freud 2019
Stephen Fry 2019
Athol Fugard OIS1986
John Fuller 1980
Neil Gaiman 2018
Patrick Gale 2021
Jane Gardam OBE2005
*Anthony Gardner 2004
Philip Gardner 1986
Alan Garner OBE2011
Timothy Garton Ash CMG FRHistS2005
Bamber Gascoigne CBE1976
Jamila Gavin 2015
*Kate Gavron2020
Maggie Gee OBE, Vice-President1994
Adèle Geras 2013
Amitav Ghosh 2009
Peter Gill 2019
The Hon. Sir David Gilmour Bt1990
Paul Gilroy FBA2016
Mark Girouard FSA Hon FRIBA1994
Lesley Glaister 1994
The Hon. Victoria Glendinning CBE, Vice-President1982
Julian Gloag 1970
Salena Godden 2020
*David Godwin2020
Vesna Goldsworthy 2021
*Lennie Goodings 2020
Edmund Gordon 2018
Lyndall Gordon 2002
Warwick Gould FRSA1997
Grey Gowrie (The Earl of Gowrie PC)2003
James Graham OBE2018
Colin Grant 2020
Linda Grant 2013
*Victoria Gray2021
Anthony Grayling CBE2006
Peter Green 1956
Lavinia Greenlaw 2004
Germaine Greer 2016
John Gribbin 1999
Romesh Gunesekera 2004
Kirsty Gunn 2020
Tanika Gupta MBE2016
Abdulrazak Gurnah 2006
Jen Hadfield 2021
Tessa Hadley 2009
John Haffenden FBA1986
The Lord Hague PC2009
Daniel Hahn OBE2020
Sarah Hall 2016
John Halperin 1985
Georgina Hammick 2001
Sir Christopher Hampton CBE1976
Sir David Hare 1985
Claire Harman 2006
Richard Harries (The Rt Rev The Lord Harries of Pentregarth)1996
Alexandra Harris 2013
Robert Harris 1996
Sir Wilson Harris 2007
Tony Harrison 1984
David Harsent 1999
Rosalind Harvey 2018
Sir Ronald Harwood CBE, Vice-President1974
Sir Max Hastings FRHistS1996
Lady Selina Hastings 1994
Roy Hattersley (The Lord Hattersley PC)2003
Daisy Hay 2018
Cameron Hazlehurst FRHistS1973
John Hemming CMG2013
Philip Hensher 1998
W. N. Herbert 2015
Rachel Hewitt 2018
Ella Hickson 2018
Rosemary Hill 2010
Tobias Hill 2011
Bevis Hillier 1997
Tim Hilton 1993
Henry Hitchings 2015
Peter Hobbs 2014
Eva Hoffman 2007
Ursula Holden 2010
*Andrew Holgate 2020
Tom Holland 2016
Alan Hollinghurst 1995
*Richard Hollis 2019
Richard Holmes OBE FBA1975
Sir Michael Holroyd CBE FRHistS C Lit, President Emeritus1968
Jeremy Hooker 2021
Christopher Hope 1990
Nick Hornby 1996
*Sarah Hosking2021
Sarah Howe 2018
Kerry Hudson 2020
Kathryn Hughes FRHistS2006
Shirley Hughes CBE2000
Lucy Hughes-Hallett 2010
Emyr Humphreys 1995
Roland Huntford 2001
Aamer Hussein 2004
Angela Huth 1978
*Sir Nicholas Hytner 2019
Armando Iannucci OBE2019
Robert Icke 2018
Robert Irwin 2001
Kazuo Ishiguro OBE1989
Ian Jack 2009
Howard Jacobson 2012
Kathleen Jamie FRSE2009
Deborah Jay 2005
Alan Jenkins 2002
Sir Simon Jenkins FSA2003
Liz Jensen 2005
Catherine Johnson 2019
Linton Kwesi Johnson 2013
*Paula Johnson2008
Jennifer Johnston 2009
Cynan Jones 2019
Steve Jones FRS2011
Gabriel Josipovici FBA1997
Alan Judd 1990
Margaret Jull Costa OBE2013
Jackie Kay CBE FRSE2002
Jonathan Keates FSA1992
Laurence Kelly 2003
Peter Kemp [16] 2015
Thomas Keneally AO1973
A. L. Kennedy 1999
*The Duke of Kent KG1978
Mimi Khalvati 2009
Thomas Kilroy 1972
Lucy Kirkwood 2018
Matthew Kneale 2003
Hari Kunzru CBE2014
Hanif Kureishi CBE2008
Kwame Kwei-Armah OBE2014
David Kynaston 2010
Olivia Laing 2019
Nick Laird 2013
John Lanchester 2002
Robin Lane Fox 1974
Lee Langley 1996
James Lasdun 2009
Bryony Lavery 2002
Mark Lawson 2015
Zachary Leader 2007
Dame Hermione Lee DBE FBA1992
Brendan Lehane 1999
Mike Leigh OBE2008
Rebecca Lenkiewicz 2017
Andrea Levy 2005
Deborah Levy 2017
Paul Levy 1980
Gwyneth Lewis 1999
Alison Light FBA2021
Dame Penelope Lively DBE1985
Samuel Lock 2001
David Lodge CBE1976
Michael Longley CBE1988
Roger Lonsdale FBA1989
*Sharmaine Lovegrove2021
Edward Lucie-Smith 1964
Andrew Lycett 2010
Richard Mabey 2011
Alexander McCall Smith CBE FRSE2014
Geraldine McCaughrean 2009
Val McDermid FRSE2016
Ian McDonald AA1970
Ian McEwan CBE1983
Robert Macfarlane 2011
Patrick McGuinness 2019
Roger McGough CBE2004
Patrick McGrath 2002
Jamie McKendrick 2014
Andrew McMillan 2020
Ben Macintyre 2014
Shena Mackay 1999
Rory MacLean 2007
*Christopher MacLehose CBE2021
Margaret MacMillan CH CC FBA2003
Tessa McWatt 2021
Candia McWilliam 1994
Sabrina Mahfouz 2018
Sir Noel Malcolm FBA1997
David Malouf 2008
Norman Manea 2011
Alberto Manguel OC2010
Philip Mansel 2010
Dame Hilary Mantel DBE, Vice-President1990
Patrick Marber 2002
Patrick Marnham 1988
Justin Marozzi 2021
Philip Marsden 1996
Rosalind Marshall 1974
Adam Mars-Jones 2007
Yann Martel 2014
Allan Massie CBE1982
Hisham Matar 2012
Douglas Matthews MBE FCLIP, Benson Medallist1998
Glyn Maxwell 1999
Derwent May 1996
*Shirley May2020
Jonathan Meades 2019
James Meek 2020
Gita Mehta 2021
Ved Mehta 2009
Pauline Melville 2018
Edward Mendelson 2003
Jeffrey Meyers 1983
Mary Midgley 2007
China Miéville 2015
Andrew Miller 2012
Kei Miller 2018
Michael Millgate FRSC1983
Pankaj Mishra 2008
Rohinton Mistry CM2009
David Mitchell 2013
Julian Mitchell FSA1985
Deborah Moggach OBE1999
Nadifa Mohamed 2018
Ray Monk 2015
Caroline Moorehead OBE1993
Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE2004
Jan Morris CBE1961
Sinéad Morrissey 2019
Blake Morrison 1988
Helen Mort 2018
Sarah Moss 2019
Kate Mosse OBE2020
Sir Andrew Motion 1984
Sir Ferdinand Mount Bt1991
Paul Muldoon 1981
Alice Munro C Lit2002
Dervla Murphy 2013
Richard Murphy OBE1968
Daljit Nagra 2017
V. S. Naipaul (Sir Vidia Naipaul C Lit)1962
*Susheila Nasta MBE, Benson Medallist2019
Charles Nicholl 2005
Grace Nichols 2007
Virginia Nicholson 2019
William Nicholson OBE1999
Adam Nicolson (The Lord Carnock FSA)2005
*Alastair Niven OBE LVO, Benson Medallist2021
The Hon. Gerard Noel 1999
Barney Norris 2018
John Julius Norwich (The Viscount Norwich CVO FSA)1970
Edna O'Brien Hon DBE2011
Sean O'Brien 2007
Bernard O'Donoghue 1999
Julia O'Faolain 1998
Maggie O'Farrell 2021
Andrew O'Hagan 2010
Redmond O'Hanlon 1993
Irenosen Okojie MBE2018
Ben Okri OBE1997
David Olusoga OBE2019
*Sir Christopher Ondaatje OC CBE2003
Michael Ondaatje OC2012
Chibundu Onuzo 2018
Susie Orbach 2019
*Ursula Owen 2020
Helen Oyeyemi 2012
Ruth Padel 1998
*Stephen Page2019
Sir Michael Palin KCMG CBE2020
Alan Palmer 1980
Peter Parker 1997
Sandeep Parmar 2020
Vinay Patel 2018
Don Paterson OBE2004
Brian Patten 2003
*Polly Pattullo 2022
Tim Pears 2012
Sarah Perry 2018
Pascale Petit 2018
*Ruthie Petrie2021
Adam Phillips 2012
Caryl Phillips 2000
Mike Phillips OBE2000
Winsome Pinnock 2020
David Plante 2002
Piers Plowright 1998
Stephen Poliakoff CBE1985
Peter Pomerantsev 2021
Max Porter 2020
David Pownall 1976
Lucy Prebble 2018
*Alexandra Pringle 2017
*Stuart Profitt2019
(Baron) David Profumo 1995
*Simon Prosser2021
David Pryce-Jones 1980
Philip Pullman CBE, Vice-President2001
Isabel Quigly 1989
Craig Raine 1984
Nina Raine 2019
Ross Raisin 2018
Ian Rankin OBE DL FRSE2016
Nicholas Rankin 2009
Frederic Raphael 1964
Sigrid Rausing 2020
Piers Paul Read 1972
Anne Redmon 1980
Christopher Reid 1999
Sir Christopher Ricks FBA1970
Professor The Hon. Jane Ridley 2007
The Viscount Ridley DL FMedSci1999
Denise Riley 2019
Gwendoline Riley 2018
William Rivière 2000
Graham Robb 1999
Andrew Roberts FRHistS2001
Michèle Roberts 1999
Robin Robertson 2010
Roger Robinson 2020
*Fiammetta Rocco2021
Jane Rogers 1994
Stephen Romer 2011
Michael Rosen 2006
Meg Rosoff 2013
Jacob Ross 2006
J. K. Rowling CH OBE2002
Anthony Rudolf FEA2005
Carol Rumens 1984
David Runciman (The Viscount Runciman of Doxford FBA)2021
Katherine Rundell 2020
Sir Salman Rushdie 1983
Amy Sackville 2018
Sunjeev Sahota 2018
S. F. Said 2021
Lawrence Sail 1998
Edward St Aubyn 2011
*Marina Salandy-Brown FRSA2020
Fiona Sampson MBE2010
*Sarah Sanders2020
Philippe Sands QC2020
Sathnam Sanghera 2016
J. J. Scarisbrick MBE FRHistS1969
Sir Simon Schama CBE FBA2016
Ann Schlee 1997
Michael Schmidt OBE1993
*Patricia Schute 1991
Lawrence Scott 2019
Peter Scupham 1990
Ruth Scurr 2015
Simon Sebag-Montefiore 2003
Anne Sebba 2021
Elisa Segrave 2001
Richard Sennett OBE1999
*Kadija Sesay MBE2021
Vikram Seth CBE1994
Miranda Seymour FRSA1996
Elif Shafak 2019
Nicholas Shakespeare 1999
Kamila Shamsie 2011
Jo Shapcott 1999
Warsan Shire 2018
Elaine Showalter 2011
Nikesh Shukla 2019
*William Sieghart CBE2019
Posy Simmonds MBE2004
Helen Simpson 1996
Andrew Sinclair FRSA1972
Iain Sinclair 2009
Adam Sisman 2015
Robert Skidelsky (The Lord Skidelsky of Tilton FBA FRHistS)1978
Gillian Slovo 2013
Dorothea Smartt 2019
Ali Smith CBE2007
Deborah Smith 2018
Godfrey Smith 1995
*John Saumarez Smith, Benson Medallist1996
Zadie Smith 2002
*Nicola Solomon2019
Ahdaf Soueif 2002
*Wole Soyinka, Benson Medallist1983
Frances Spalding CBE1984
*Nicholas Spice2019
Jean Sprackland 2021
Francis Spufford 2007
Hilary Spurling CBE2005
Sir John Spurling KCVO OBE2010
Tom Stacey 1977
Martin Stannard 1999
C. K. Stead ONZ CBE1995
Polly Stenham MBE2018
Rory Stewart OBE MP2009
Stanley Stewart 2001
Sir Tom Stoppard OM CBE C Lit1972
Rebecca Stott 2021
Sir Roy Strong CH FSA1999
Andrea Stuart 2014
Kate Summerscale 2010
*Tom Sutcliffe 2020
John Sutherland 1990
*David Sutton, Benson Medallist2012
Graham Swift 1984
Meera Syal CBE2017
Michael Symmons Roberts 2014
George Szirtes 1982
Bryan Talbot 2018
D. J. Taylor 1997
Sara Taylor2018
Kae Tempest 2015
Adam Thirlwell 2018
Dame Emma Thompson DBE2021
Ian Thomson 2003
Rupert Thomson 2015
Jack Thorne 2020
Colin Thubron CBE, President1969
Ann Thwaite 1987
Stella Tillyard 2019
Gillian Tindall 1983
Colm Tóibín 2007
(Count) Nikolai Tolstoy 1979
Claire Tomalin, Vice-President1976
*Boyd Tonkin, Benson Medallist2020
Barbara Trapido 2011
Jeremy Treglown 1989
Dame Rose Tremain DBE1983
Lynne Truss 2004
Jenny Uglow CBE FSA, Benson Medallist1998
*The Prince of Wales KG OM2002
James Walvin OBE2006
Alan Warner 2013
Dame Marina Warner FBA1984
Val Warner 1998
Sarah Waters OBE2009
Fay Weldon CBE1986
Robert Wells 1994
Stanley Wells CBE2013
Timberlake Wertenbaker 1999
Sara Wheeler 1999
Helen Wilcox FRSA FEA1999
Verna Wilkins 2021
Eley Williams 2018
Hugo Williams 1988
Nigel Williams 1994
The Rt Revd The Lord Williams of Oystermouth PC FBA FLSW2003
*Mary-Kay Wilmers, Benson Medallist2017
A. N. Wilson 1982
Frances Wilson 2008
Dame Jacqueline Wilson DBE2005
Jeanette Winterson CBE2016
Lewis Wolpert CBE FRS FMedSci1999
*Gaby Wood 2021
James Wood 2011
Michael Wood 1992
Gerard Woodward 2005
Pamela Woof 1999
Kit Wright 1997
Ann Wroe FRHistS2007
Evie Wyld 2018
*The Baroness Young of Hornsey OBE2020
Gary Younge 2021
Adam Zamoyski FSA2006
Theodore Zeldin CBE FBA FRHistS1999
Philip Ziegler CVO FRHistS1972
Frances Ryan 2022

The * before the name denotes an Honorary Fellow. The list is online at the RSL website. [17]

Related Research Articles

Pascale Petit (poet) French-born British poet

Pascale Petit, is a French-born British poet of French, Welsh and Indian heritage. She was born in Paris and grew up in France and Wales. She trained as a sculptor at the Royal College of Art and was a visual artist for the first part of her life. She has travelled widely, particularly in the Peruvian and Venezuelan Amazon and India.

Marina Warner English novelist, short story writer, historian and mythographer

Dame Marina Sarah Warner, is an English historian, mythographer, art critic, novelist and short story writer. She is known for her many non-fiction books relating to feminism and myth. She has written for many publications, including The London Review of Books, the New Statesman, Sunday Times and Vogue. She has been a visiting professor, given lectures and taught on the faculties of many universities.

Jackie Kay Scottish poet and essayist

Jacqueline Margaret Kay,, is a Scottish poet, playwright, and novelist, known for her works Other Lovers (1993), Trumpet (1998) and Red Dust Road (2011). Kay has won many awards, including the Guardian Fiction Prize in 1998 and the Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust Book of the Year Award in 2011.

Maggie Mary Gee is an English novelist. In 2012, she became a professor of creative writing at Bath Spa University.

Helon Habila Nigerian novelist and poet (born 1967)

Helon Habila Ngalabak is a Nigerian novelist and poet, whose writing has won many prizes, including the Caine Prize in 2001. He worked as a lecturer and journalist in Nigeria before moving in 2002 to England, where he was a Chevening Scholar at the University of East Anglia, and now teaches creative writing at George Mason University, Fairfax, Virginia.

Peter Florence

Peter Kenrick Florence CBE is a British festival director, most notable for founding the Hay Festival with his father and mother, Norman Florence and Rhoda Lewis, funding the first festival with winnings from a poker game.

Daljit Nagra

Daljit Nagra is a British poet whose debut collection, Look We Have Coming to Dover! – a title alluding to W. H. Auden's Look, Stranger!, D. H. Lawrence's Look! We Have Come Through! and by epigraph also to Matthew Arnold's "Dover Beach" – was published by Faber in February 2007. Nagra's poems relate to the experience of Indians born in the UK, and often employ language that imitates the English spoken by Indian immigrants whose first language is Punjabi, which some have termed "Punglish". He currently works part-time at JFS School in Kenton and visits schools, universities and festivals where he performs his work. He was appointed chair of the Royal Society of Literature in November 2020.

Jennifer Sheila Uglow is an English biographer, historian, critic and publisher. She was an editorial director of Chatto & Windus. She has written critically acclaimed biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell, William Hogarth, Thomas Bewick, and Edward Lear, and a history and joint biography of the Lunar Society, among others, and has also compiled The Macmillan Dictionary of Women's Biography.

Bernardine Evaristo British author and academic

Bernardine Anne Mobolaji Evaristo, is a British author and academic. Her novel Girl, Woman, Other, won the Booker Prize in 2019, making her the first black woman and the first black British person to win the Booker.

Peter Ackroyd English biographer

Peter Ackroyd, is an English biographer, novelist and critic with a particular interest in the history and culture of London. For his novels about English history and culture and his biographies of, among others, William Blake, Charles Dickens, T. S. Eliot, Charles Chaplin and Sir Thomas More, he won the Somerset Maugham Award and two Whitbread Awards. He is noted for the volume of work he has produced, the range of styles therein, his skill at assuming different voices, and the depth of his research.

<i>Wasafiri</i> British literary magazine

Wasafiri is a quarterly British literary magazine covering international contemporary writing. Founded in 1984, the magazine derives its name from a Swahili word meaning "travellers" that is etymologically linked with the Arabic word "safari". The magazine holds that many of those who created the literatures in which it is particularly interested "...have all in some sense been cultural travellers either through migration, transportation or else, in the more metaphorical sense of seeking an imagined cultural 'home'." Funded by the Arts Council England, Wasafiri is "a journal of post-colonial literature that pays attention to the wealth of Black and diasporic writers worldwide. It is Britain's only international magazine for Black British, African, Asian and Caribbean literatures."

Ellah Wakatama Allfrey

Ellah Wakatama, OBE, Hon. FRSL, is Editor-at-Large at Canongate Books, a senior Research Fellow at Manchester University and Chair of the AKO Caine Prize for African Writing. She was the founding Publishing Director of the Indigo Press. A London-based editor and critic, she was on the judging panel of the 2017 International Dublin Literary Award and the 2015 Man Booker Prize. In 2016, she was Visiting Professor & Global Intercultural Scholar at Goshen College, Indiana, and was Guest Master for the 2016 Gabriel Garcia Marquez Foundation international journalism fellowship in Cartagena, Colombia. The former deputy editor of Granta magazine, she was senior editor at Jonathan Cape, Random House and assistant editor at Penguin. She is series editor of the Kwani? Manuscript Project and the editor of the anthologies Africa39 and Safe House: Explorations in Creative Nonfiction.

Jacob Ross is a Grenada-born poet, playwright, journalist, novelist and creative writing tutor, based in the UK since 1984.

Barbara Jenkins is a Trinidadian writer, whose work since 2010 has won several international prizes, including the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the Wasafiri New Writing Prize.

Daisy Hay is Associate Professor in English Literature and Life Writing at the University of Exeter and an author of non-fiction. Hay was elected a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.

<i>Blonde Roots</i> British satirical prose novel

Blonde Roots is a prose novel written by British-Nigerian author Bernardine Evaristo. Published by Penguin UK in 2009 and Penguin USA in 2010, this satirical novel reverts notions of transatlantic slavery, placing Africans as masters of European slaves. In 2009, it was the Orange Prize Youth Panel Choice and the Big Red Read Award.

Irenosen Iseghohi Okojie FRSL is a Nigerian-born short story and novel writer working in London. Her stories incorporate speculative elements and also make use of her West African heritage. Her first novel, Butterfly Fish won a Betty Trask Award in 2016, and her story Grace Jones won the 2020 Caine Prize for African Writing. She was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 2018.

<i>Girl, Woman, Other</i> 2018 novel by Bernardine Evaristo

Girl, Woman, Other is the eighth novel to be written by Bernardine Evaristo. Published in 2019 by Hamish Hamilton, it follows the lives of 12 characters in the United Kingdom over the course of several decades. The book was the co-winner of the 2019 Booker Prize, alongside Margaret Atwood's The Testaments. It has received over 30 Book of the Year and Decade honours, alongside recognition as one of Barack Obama's top 19 books for 2019 and Roxane Gay's favourite book of 2019. Its prizes include Fiction Book of the Year at the 2020 British Book Awards, where she also won Author of the Year. It also won the Indie Book Award for Fiction and the Gold Medal of Honorary Patronage. It received many nominations and was finalist for the Orwell Prize for Political Fiction, the Australia Book Industry Awards, and the Women's Prize for Fiction.

Alastair Neil Robertson Niven Hon FRSL is an English literary scholar and author. He has written books on D. H. Lawrence, Raja Rao, and Mulk Raj Anand, and has been Director General of The Africa Centre, Director of Literature at the Arts Council of Great Britain and of the British Council, a principal of Cumberland Lodge, and president of English PEN. In 2021, Niven was chosen as the recipient of the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature, awarded for exceptional contribution to literature.

Susheila Nasta, MBE, Hon. FRSL, is a British critic, editor, academic and literary activist. She is Professor of Modern and Contemporary Literatures at Queen Mary University of London, and founding editor of Wasafiri, the UK's leading magazine for international contemporary writing. She is a recipient of the Benson Medal from the Royal Society of Literature.



  1. "History". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  2. "Fellows". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  3. "About us — Who we are". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  4. "Membership". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  5. "Royal Society of Literature » Magazine selections".
  6. Quigly, Isabel (2000). The Royal Society of Literature: a portrait. London: Royal Society of Literature. ISBN   0-902205-57-9.
  7. 1 2 "Royal Society of Literature celebrates 200th birthday with 60 appointments and five-year festival (Press release)" (PDF). The Royal Society of Literature. 30 November 2020. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  8. "Sky Arts Ambassadors". ky Community. 29 January 2021.
  9. "Press Release" (PDF). The Royal Society of Literature. 6 July 2021. Retrieved 9 July 2021.
  10. 1 2 "Royal Society of Literature » History". Retrieved 3 June 2016.
  11. 1 2 "The RSL elects 40 new Fellows under the age of 40", The Royal Society of Literature press release, June 2018.
  12. "Royal Society of Literature » Membership".
  13. "About Us – Council". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 14 December 2020.
  14. Alison Flood (28 June 2018). "Royal Society of Literature admits 40 new fellows to address historical biases". The Guardian.
  15. Dr Robert Douglas-Fairhurst, University of Oxford. Archived 11 September 2015 at the Wayback Machine .
  16. "Our People | Peter Kemp". Kellogg College, University of Oxford.
  17. "Fellows". The Royal Society of Literature. Retrieved 7 August 2022.