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SoA launches #DeadGoodLit Book Club on Twitter

Writing.ie | Guest Bloggers | From the Front Row

Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin

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In 2020 the Society of Authors Estates team will launch a bi-monthly Twitter book club – #DeadGoodLit – to celebrate a selection of favourite titles from an expansive stable of works in our literary estates.

They are privileged to act as literary representative of the estates of over 40 distinguished writers – many of whom were closely associated with the SoA as members, including John Masefield, Walter de la Mare, Bernard Shaw, Compton Mackenzie, Harley Granville Barker, St. John Ervine, Rosamond Lehmann and T.S Eliot.

The Dead Good Lit Book Club will introduce one book every two months, launching on Twitter in January 2020. Starting with Rosamond Lehmann’s The Weather in the Streets, the first session is on Monday 27 January 2020 between 8-9pm.

Lisa Dowdeswell, Head of Literary Estates, commented:

 We wanted to share our passion for the authors whose estates we represent, and what better way to showcase their work than with a book club? Though you will see some well-known classics in our selection, this is also a celebration of the backlist and some long-forgotten literary gems.”

#DeadGoodLit selections for 2020 are:

  • January – The Weather in the Streets by Rosamond Lehmann
  • March – Memoirs of a Midget by Walter de la Mare
  • May – What Not by Rose Macaulay
  • June – Maurice by E M Forster

(Break for summer)

  • September – Pygmalion by Bernard Shaw
  • November – Eustace and Hilda by L P Hartley


How it works

To take part, readers can join the conversation on Twitter using the hashtag #DeadGoodLit. SoA will ask questions and look at key themes and topics in the selected works from the @Soc_of_Authors account.

About the SoA Literary Estates

The SoA established its Collection Bureau in 1912, providing a service for writers nearing the end of their working lives or to executors or heirs lacking the expertise or time to manage literary estates. The estate of Robert Louis Stevenson was one of the first.

The representative side of the SoA’s work grew considerably when in 1945, Bernard Shaw wrote: “The time has come (I am nearly ninety) when I must hand over the management of my literary and theatre to some permanent agency…You intimated some time ago that [the Society] is game for the job. On what terms?” The deal was done and, after Shaw’s beautifully organised papers had been passed to the SoA, another postcard from Shaw’s Corner decreed: “Act as if I were dead, as I soon shall be.”

Today, the Literary Estates Department handles the negotiation and administration of contracts for the full range of rights from print permissions to major stage productions and feature films. Income helps to support the SoA’s day-to-day work.

Rosamond Lehmann joined the Society of Authors in 1928. The Weather in the Streets was first published in 1936 and was recently reissued in the Virago Modern Classics/VMC 40th anniversary series. A bestseller when it was published, it was also controversial, ‘shocking its readers with its searing honesty and passionate portrayal of clandestine love’ (Virago). Newly separated, Olivia Curtis escapes middle-class domesticity in the suburbs for a more bohemian existence in London, where she embarks on an extra-marital affair. In 1984 it was dramatised as a BBC film, starring Michael York, Lisa Eichhorn and Joanna Lumley.

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