The Society of Authors' membership has reached five figures, it has revealed, surpassing 10,000 for the first time in its 133 year history.
The milestone will be celebrated this evening (18th July) at the SoA Summer Party at Waterstones Piccadilly, with an address from SoA council member Antonia Fraser dedicated to "Member 10,000". According to the organisation, 10 authors joining in June took membership to over the five-figure threshold.
In honour of the occasion, the SoA has invited current members to write welcome messages for new joiners, to be published this week in a booklet entitled Dear Member 10,000… It has been contributed to by more than 70 authors, including Philip Pullman, Joanne Harris, Ian Rankin, Malorie Blackman, Margaret Drabble, Philip Ziegler and Joanne Trollope.
In his message, SoA president Pullman wrote: "Our profession is a solitary one; much of our time is spent slowly building something substantial (we hope) out of evanescent things like memory and language; but when we need fellowship or guidance through fields we may not be familiar with, such as matters legal or contractual or financial, it is a great thing to know that the Society is there, with knowledge and experience and willingness we can rely on ... The work we do is important as well as difficult; we need the Society of Authors to help us do it confidently and to claim a fair reward for doing it."
Harris, SoA council and management committee member, said: "Dear Member 10,000 - congratulations! I’ve been with the SoA for 20 years ... Without them, I would have felt very lonely and disconnected from the writing community, but with them, I feel confident to deal with authority with publishers, agents and festival organisers ... We’re all on a perpetual learning curve, and the SoA allows experienced writers to connect with and to help those who are just starting out. I hope that, wherever you are on the curve, you’ll be a part of that, too."
They were joined by SoA chair David Donachie, who said he wished new members the "success as well as the pleasure of belonging to an organisation that has played such a valuable role in protecting authors since 1884".
The 10 authors whose membership brought the SoA to the 10,000 milestone are from all over the UK, as well as one from Canada, and represent a range of disciplines and professional experience. They are: writer and editor Hilary Bell, publisher by Unbound; novelist and Buzzfeed writer Dan Dalton; illustrator and writer Tony de Saulles; poet Cora Greenhill; journalist Robin Jarossi; journalist and novelist John McGhie; writer and illustrator Kimberley Mok; translators Kathryn Phillips-Miles & Simon Deefholts; and poet, performer, playwright and memoirist Tina Tamsho-Thomas.
SoA started the month of July with 10,051 members.
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