Past, present and future: celebrating our 125th anniversary
On 1st May, the Society of Women Writers and Journalists is 125 years old! Since its creation by newspaperman Joseph Snell Wood in 1894, the Society has attracted the company of many of the world’s most famous writers, journalists, poets, playwrights and associated creative people involved in the wider world of literature, film, music, theatre and entertainment. Our presidents, patrons, members, associates and friends in the UK and overseas have all helped to make the SWWJ the thriving and all-encompassing society it is today.
On 2nd May we celebrate with a wonderful gathering at Stationers’ Hall in the City of London, with a welcome by our President, Baroness Floella Benjamin (pictured) and an after-lunch speech from bestselling novelist Kate Mosse. Looking forward, we are also pleased to announce our brand new writing competition – open to all, and based around the theme ‘Children are our future’. Details on our competitions page, and via social media, from 1st May.
The Society aims to encourage literary achievement, to uphold professional standards, to promote social contact with fellow writers and to defend the dignity and prestige of the writing profession in all its aspects.
The SWWJ is the UK's longest-established Society for professional women writers. Founded in 1894 by newspaper proprietor Joseph Snell Wood, the Society has grown to become an international association, and is affiliated to women's associations worldwide. In 2004, the Society took the decision to invite men who are published writers to join us as Associate Members. We also welcome aspiring writers and non-writing Friends from across the publishing industry and beyond.
In 2016 we were delighted to welcome Ann Widdecombe as our new Hon Life President, filling the position left vacant by Shirley Williams, who stepped down in 2014.
In 2017 Baroness Floella Benjamin agreed to become our new President, following in the footsteps of the late and much missed Victoria Wood.
Full membership is open to women writers of all ages who are bona fide professional workers in literature, drama or journalism.
Men who are bona fide professional workers in literature, drama or journalism may join the Society as Associate Members.
Supporters of the Society and its aims, including aspiring writers and others engaged in allied forms of work.
A special one-year membership open to new and unpublished writers, including a full manuscript critique. £145 To apply, please download and complete the form and return it to the address shown with your fee.
Benefits of membership
The Woman Writer
Email Information Loop
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram
In-house and Open Competitions
Manuscript Appraisal Service
The right to use the letters MSWWJ after your name
Hon. Life President
The Rt Hon Ann Widdecombe DSG
Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham, OBE DL (Floella Benjamin)
Sir Tim Rice, The Earl of Stockton, Simon Brett, OBE, Baroness Howard of Lympne (novelist Sandra Howard).
Lady Antonia Fraser, Victoria Glendinning, Jacqueline Wilson, Peter Lovesey, Keith Taylor, Michelle Harriman, Penny Holroyde.
Doris Corti, Valerie Dunmore, Joyce Elsden, Sylvia Kent, Jennie Lisney, Jean Morris, Mary Rensten, Jean Marian Stevens.
Council Officers & responsibilities 2019
Minutes Secretary: Vacant
The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)
Ensuring authors receive fair payment for copying and other secondary uses of their work.
Internationally respected research and learning centre for the study of early women's writing from 1600 to 1830.
The National Liberal Club
Venue for many of our celebratory events and for Council meetings from 2018.