Pullman new president of SoA

Pullman new president of SoA

Novelist Philip Pullman has been elected as the new president of the Society of Authors.

Pullman will replace crime writer P D James, who will retire from the role in August, the month of her 93rd birthday.

Pullman said: "P D James has been a magnificent president, whose knowledge and wit and wisdom will be very hard to follow.

"The Society of Authors has been representing and supporting the work of writers for 130 years, and now that we're in the middle of one of the greatest revolutions in printing and publishing and reading there has ever been, the society's experience will be needed more than ever. I am both honoured and  excited to be taking on the role of president."

James said Pullman would "face a far more complex and challenging world for writers than did I when I was elected" but "no one could be better qualified for the task".

Anne Sebba, chair of the SoA's management committee, said she looked forward closely to working with Pullman, though "We will miss Baroness James' measured, wise and insightful guidance."

The role of president is a lifetime position, but the SoA constitution is currently under review and it is thought likely the timespan of the role will be reduced to between five and seven years. The president acts as an ambassador for the society and comments on its behalf on broad policy and specific issues.

Pullman has been highly outspoken on key issues for the trade including library closures, age-ranging for children's books, and compulsory new child safety checks for authors visiting schools.