March/April 2020

The Bad News and The Good

Due to the health and safety concerns arising from the coronavirus outbreak, we have no option but to postpone all meetings and events until further notice. Our planned prizegiving tea was unable to go ahead on 19 March but the winners have received their cash prizes and we hope to be able to present the trophies and certificates at a later date. Similarly, plans for the House of Lords lunch in June have been put on ice, but we are seeing this very much as a postponement and not a cancellation. A new date will be arranged as soon as possible. In the meantime, members and friends, please stay safe until we meet again.

And now for the good news… The SWWJ is always keen to recruit new members and friends, and so we are running a GRAND PRIZE DRAW. Every member who successfully sponsors, recommends or introduces a new member in any category by 30 September will automatically earn themselves an entry to the draw, so the more new members you bring us the more entries you receive. Our prize is a wonderful bundle of FIFTEEN new (signed) books, each one donated by its author, all of whom are successful SWWJ members. Details on our Competitions page.

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.


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

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 2019

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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