August 2019

In the footsteps of Jane Austen



Chawton House in rural Hampshire is a very special place. It was not only the home of Jane Austen’s brother, now open to the public as a visitor attraction, but is also renowned as a centre for early women’s writing. It is where the SWWJ keeps its collection of silver cups and trophies, many of which are presented each year to our competition winners and then returned to their permanent home in Chawton’s display cabinet. Our recent group visit was a wonderful occasion. A guided tour of the old Elizabethan manor house, including the magnificent library packed with old books by female authors, was followed by a lovely lunch in the courtyard and a wander around the glorious grounds and gardens. We have plans to work more closely with Chawton in the future as it extends its programme of talks, panels and events, and hope to soon be able to display our leaflets and membership forms in the foyer. If you have not been to Chawton, or to visit Jane Austen’s own much smaller home in the adjacent village, put them on your list!

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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).



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.

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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.

Friend


Supporters of the Society and its aims, including aspiring writers and others engaged in allied forms of work.

Writer's Debut


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.

Download Membership form

 

Benefits of membership

The Woman Writer

Email newsletter

Website

Press Card

Events

Workshops

Regional Groups

Email Information Loop

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

In-house and Open Competitions

Manuscript Appraisal Service

Publishing

Welfare

The right to use the letters MSWWJ after your name

...and more

 

Who's who

 

President

Baroness Benjamin of Beckenham, OBE DL (Floella Benjamin)

Patrons

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

Honorary Members

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

Vice Presidents

Doris Corti, Valerie Dunmore, Joyce Elsden, Sylvia Kent, Jennie Lisney, Jean Morris, Mary Rensten, Jean Marian Stevens.

 

Council Officers & responsibilities 2019
 

Chair: Barbara Field-Holmes

Vice-chair: Rebecca Harding

Hon. Treasurer: Benita Cullingford

Hon. Secretary: Janice Grande

Marketing Co-ordinator: Michelle Harriman

Editor, The Woman Writer: Carol Cannavan

Newsletter: Doreen Friend

Twitter/FaceBook/Instagram: Vivien Brown

Acting Membership Secretary: Val Dunmore

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

Writer's Debut: Benita Cullingford

Website: Gwyneth Box

Minutes Secretary: Vacant

SCRIPTORA: Mary Rensten

 

Consultants
 

Marketing Consultant: Patrick Forsyth

Drama Consultant: Martin Cort

 

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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