Authors Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Deborah Levy are among a roster of starry names made new Royal Society of Literature fellows for 2017, while Waterstones m.d. James Daunt, publisher Margaret Busby and Bloomsbury's Alexandra Pringle are among those to be honoured with honorary fellowships.
The newly-elected fellows will be introduced at the Society’s Summer Party on Monday 19th June. While the RSL chair Lisa Appignanesi reads a citation for each fellow, they will be invited to sign their names in the roll book which dates back to the Society’s founding in 1820. New Fellows sign the RSL roll book using either T S Eliot’s fountain pen or Byron’s pen.
Outgoing RSL president Colin Thubron is due to speak on an aspect of literary life and incoming president Marina Warner will give her inaugural address.
Joining Rankin, McDermid and Levy as the new RSL Fellows for 2017 are Simon Schama, Artemis Cooper, Meera Syal, Satnam Sanghera, Patience Agbabi, Tahmima Anam, Kwame Anthony Appiah, Terence Blacker, Howard Brenton, Helen Castor, Richard Cohen, Rebecca Lenkiewicz and Daljit Nagra.
Honorary Fellowships are awarded to publishers, agents, booksellers and producers. New RSL Honorary Fellows for 2017 are Allison & Busby co-founder Margaret Busby, Waterstones m.d. and founder of Daunt Books James Daunt; writer and BBC radio producer Tim Dee; group editor-in-chief at Bloomsbury Alexandra Pringle; and editor of the London Review of Books, Mary-Kay Wilmers.
This year’s Benson Medallists for exceptional contribution to literature are Busby, Wilmers and Carmen Callil.
Following the presentations and president’s address there will be a celebration of literary anniversaries – including those of Jane Austen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Robert Lowell, A A Milne, Harry Potter, Jonathan Swift and Edward Thomas - read by students and alumni of the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.
The RSL will be hosting the evening on Monday 19th June at the Bloomsbury Hotel 16-22 Great Russell Street, London WC1B 3NN at 6pm.