Novelist Joanne Harris has been elected Chair of the Society of Authors’ Management Committee – the SoA’s member-elected board of directors and charity trustees – at their January 2020 meeting. The position has been held since 2016 by David Donachie, who has now come to the end of his second two-year term.
The Management Committee meet six times a year to govern the direction of the SoA. Twelve elected members, alongside the chairs of professional groups – including the Translators Association and the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group – are responsible for setting the strategy and policies of the organisation.
Commenting on her appointment, Joanne Harris said:
This is a challenging time for authors, as incomes fall, online piracy thrives, public libraries fall prey to local funding cuts, Brexit presents uncertainty around the copyright of our work, freedom of movement and more – and politicians continue to experiment with the education system that we hope will nurture the next generation of authors.
But this is also an exciting time to write, translate, and create – and for the Society of Authors as a trade union. With over 11,000 members and growing, our voice is louder than ever. I’m excited to be stepping into the role of Chair and look forward to continuing to raise awareness of the SoA and its role, campaigning on behalf of authors on the issues that impact them – and working with my colleagues on the Management Committee and the staff team to make sure we reach, benefit and remain relevant to all authors, regardless of background, career stage and the types of work they produce.
Outgoing Chair David Donachie, who has served since 2016, said:
I wish Joanne all the best for her tenure as Chair. She’ll work hard to keep the SoA up to speed in a fast-changing publishing landscape. Sometimes the job’s a slog, but along come projects which make everything worthwhile. Joanne, a natural communicator, is just the person to find and implement those which will improve life for our members.
Writing.ie’s Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin has recently been elected to the board of the Society of Authors and will be working closely with Joanne, the incredible staff and other board members who have a wide ranging and exiciting skillset – she is already involved in several projects that will directly benefit writers. She explains:
The Society of Authors provides huge support and negotiating power for writers in the UK and in Ireland, and in fact have many members living outside the UK. Authors rights have never been more important as the publishing landscape changes, and Britain, a country that is at the heart of global publishing, finds its way forwards. I’m very excited to be involved and to add an Irish voice to the mix.
In Ireland, The Irish Writers Union is the main advocacy body for Irish writers and it is open to Irish writers and writers of Irish interest publications, wherever they are based. They offer members publishing advice, contract advice and promotion via their website and social member channels. Find out more here: https://irishwritersunion.org/
About the Society of Authors
The Society of Authors is the UK trade union for all types of writers, scriptwriters, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. They have more than 11,000 members and have been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century.
www.societyofauthors.org | twitter.com/soc_of_authors
About the Society of Authors Management Committee
The Management Committee is responsible for the direction of the SoA and makes all major policy and strategy decisions. The Management Committee is made up of democratically elected Members who are unpaid volunteers. Voting members are directly elected by the Membership and each serve a term of three years. Current elected members are Joanne Harris (Chair), Simon Cann, Samantha Collett, Ferdinand Dennis, David Donachie, Mary Hoffman, Abie Longstaff, Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin, Woodrow Pheonix, Katharine Quarmby, Hugh Roberts and Philip Womack.
Membership of the Society of Authors gives many benefits to authors keen to build their careers including:
Develop your craft at our professional workshops
Get specialist training on the business aspects of authorship
Negotiate better agreements with our free confidential contract vetting
Get individual guidance and advice on all aspects of your professional life, and help with disputes or concerns*
Meet other authors
Make friends for life at our bustling regular socials
Establish a network of professionals in the same boat as you
Share your career and creative concerns with people who understand
Make a difference
Support our campaigns for a fairer publishing industry
Make your voice heard in an increasingly difficult profession
Join the fight to save libraries, improve literacy and defend the arts
Joining the SoA gives you access to a wide range of benefits, including:
- advice on professional issues and problems
- clause-by-clause contract vetting
- lobbying and collective negotiation on behalf of authors
- The Author – the SoA’s quarterly journal
- free access to a range of top level guides and articles
- discounted tickets to our events
- membership of special interest and regional groups
- free ALCS membership
- offers on specialist insurance, including public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance and tax protection insurance
- a public profile on our searchable, online database
- up to 25% discounts on books
- access to a free tax helpline provided by the accountants HW Fisher & Company
- discounts on membership to many affiliated organisations including The British Library
Find out more here: https://societyofauthors.org/