Appignanesi appointed new RSL chair

Appignanesi appointed new RSL chair

The author Lisa Appignanesi has been appointed the new chair of the Royal Society of Literature (RSL).

Appignanesi, previously president of English PEN, as well as chair of the Freud Museum in London, replaces Jenny Uglow in the role following "unanimous invitation" from the RSL council.

The usual term for chair is five years. Uglow stood down from the position in February.

Appignanesi is a novelist and cultural commentator, currently a visiting professor in literature and medical humanities at King’s College London. She was made a Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in recognition of her contribution to literature and the OBE for services to literature in 2013. 

Her non-fiction includes Trials of Passion: Crimes in the Name of Love and Madness (Virago), All About Love: Anatomy of an Unruly Emotion (Virago), Mad Bad and Sad: A History of Women and the Mind Doctors from 1800 (Virago), Freud’s Women with John Forrester (W&N); and a biographical portrait of Simone de Beauvoir (Haus Publishing). She is also the author of family memoir Losing the Dead (Virago) and nine novels, including The Memory Man (Arcadia Books) and Paris Requiem (Paris Requiem). 

Appignanesi said: "I’m honoured and delighted to be following in the great Jenny Uglow’s footsteps and taking on the chair of this august society. As the RSL moves towards its 200th anniversary in 2020, I know that we will find many ways to celebrate that very special and wonderfully various world that literature is."

President of the RSL Colin Thubron commented: "Replacing Jenny Uglow as chair of the society was always going to be hard, so we are thrilled that Lisa Appignanesi, on council’s unanimous invitation, has accepted the position. Lisa’s energy and vision, her experience and stature and her talents as an author are a near-unique combination, and we look forward to a dynamic and imaginative future with her. We are all delighted."

The appointment of Appignanesi will be ratified at the RSL’s a.g.m. on 23rd June.