May 2020

Introducing your new-look Journal

The Journal

We are very pleased to introduce the Spring issue of our newly-designed magazine, which is on its way to members now. Goodbye The Woman Writer. Hello Journal! We do hope that you like the new fresh look, but rest assured the content is as comprehensive and compelling as ever. In this issue, you can read extracts from our recent competition winning entries although, sadly, the winners did not get the opportunity to meet the judges and receive their awards in person. Our House of Lords Summer event has also had to be postponed, but your Council will do all it can to reschedule as many events as possible once the current pandemic restrictions are lifted.

A reminder that annual subscriptions are now due. We appreciate that members may be missing our regular get-togethers, both regional and national, but we continue to offer the magazine, a range of writing competitions and lots of opportunities to meet ‘virtually’ via social media and online, so do please renew your membership and help us to keep your society active and thriving through this very difficult time.

Diary    Latest News

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 2017 Baroness Floella Benjamin agreed to become our new President, following in the footsteps of the late and much missed Victoria Wood.

To learn more about the SWWJ, explore this site and/or check out our Social Media feeds (Facebook / Twitter / Instagram).



We are a non political, professional society for women writers and journalists. We recognise the professional skills of our members and we protect their interests in their professional work. We promote opportunities for women to write and to be heard, and we defend their rights to do so no matter what their race, religion or geographic location.

See the full Manifesto

Membership Full details


SWWJ membership is open to professional writers anywhere in the world. Full and Associate Members must be proposed and seconded by two bona fide writing professionals who have personal knowledge of their work.

Download Membership form


Full Member

Full membership is open to women writers of all ages who are bona fide professional workers in literature, drama or journalism.

Associate Member

Men who are bona fide professional workers in literature, drama or journalism may join the Society as Associate Members.

New Writer

Writers who have some published work or work in progress who do not qualify as full or associate members.


Bona fide writers who hold a valid student card.


Supporters of the SWWJ and its aims, including those engaged in or concerned with allied forms of literary or journalistic work, eg editors, publishers, agents, illustrators, photographers, librarians

Benefits of membership

The Journal

Email newsletter


Press Card



Regional Groups

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

...and more


Who's who



The Baroness Floella Benjamin, DBE DL


Sir Tim Rice, The Earl of Stockton, Simon Brett, OBE, Baroness Howard of Lympne (novelist Sandra Howard), Freya North.

Honorary Members

Lady Antonia Fraser, Victoria Glendinning, Jacqueline Wilson, Peter Lovesey, Keith Taylor, Michelle Harriman, Penny Holroyde.

Vice Presidents

Pamela Birley, Doris Corti, Valerie Dunmore, Joyce Elsden, Barbara Field-Holmes, Sylvia Kent, Jennie Lisney, Mary Rensten, Jean Marian Stevens.


Council Officers & responsibilities 2020

Chair: Rebecca Harding

Vice-chair: Pamela Payne

Hon. Treasurer: Benita Cullingford

Hon. Secretary: Janice Grande

Communications Co-ordinator: Barbara Field-Holmes

Marketing Co-ordinator: Michelle Harriman

Editor, The Journal: Barbara Field-Holmes

Newsletter Editor: Barbara Field-Holmes

Newsletter Features: Doreen Friend

Twitter/FaceBook/Instagram: Vivien Brown

Membership Secretary: Carol Cannavan

Events: Janice Grande

Events (Speakers): Pamela Payne

Archives: Sylvia Kent

Welfare: Jennie Lisney

Competitions: Vivien Brown

Manuscript Appraisal Service: Vivien Brown

Book Reviews: Pamela Birley

Chawton House Liaison: Pamela Birley

Overseas Liaison: Doreen Friend

Website: Gwyneth Box

Minutes Secretary: Vacant

SCRIPTORA: Mary Rensten



Marketing Consultant: Patrick Forsyth

Drama Consultant: Martin Cort

Poetry consultants: Doris Corti and Dorothy Pope


Council support

Katherine Bolton

Associated organisations


The Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS)

Ensuring authors receive fair payment for copying and other secondary uses of their work.

Chawton House

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.

London Press Club

Long established organisation with links to SWWJ.

About SWWJ

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.

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