First ever RSL International Writers announced

The new RSL International Writers programme recognises writers from all over the world for the first time.

The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) has recognised a number of writers from across the globe for their contribution to literature in English, and the power of literature to transcend borders to bring people together.

The 12 writers to receive the inaugural award, supported by ALCS and the International Authors Forum (IAF), hail from Antigua, China, Democratic Republic of the Congo, France, Israel, Jamaica, Lebanon, South Korea, Spain and the United States. Their range of works span essays, novels, poems, non-fiction and opera libretti.

The writers are: Don Mee Choi, Annie Ernaux, David Grossman, Jamaica Kincaid, Yan Lianke, Amin Maalouf, Alain Mabanckou, Javier Marías, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o, Claudia Rankine, Olga Tokarczuk and Dubravka Ugrešić.

The International Writers programme was announced last year as part of RSL 200, a five-year festival launched in 2020 with a series of new initiatives and 60 new appointments championing the great diversity of writing and writers in the UK. A life-long honour, new writers will be invited to join the RSL’s International Writers each year, forming an ever-expanding global community of authors.

RSL also announced that Professor Bernadine Evaristo OBE FRSL is to be the new President of the organisation when Dame Marina Warner steps down at the end of 2021.

Professor Bernadine Evaristo said she was “deeply honoured to take the role”.

She added: “Storytelling is embedded in our DNA as human beings – it is sewn into the narrative arc of our lives, it is in our relationships, desires and conflicts, and it is the prism through which we explore and understand ourselves and the world in which we live. Literature is not a luxury, but essential to our civilisation.”