Get Organised: Society of Women Writers and Journalists

12 June 2020

As part of our ongoing campaign to highlight the support provided by writers’ organisations, Rebecca Harding, Chair of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists (SWWJ) tells us what that organisation does for its members.

Who we are

The SWWJ was founded in 1894 at the start of the Suffragette movement to defend the rights of women writers and encourage them in their abilities. As recent research shows women writers are still paid considerably less than their male counterparts in many sectors, we continue to support women of all backgrounds and races in the UK and internationally. We have a manifesto setting out what we see as our aims, which is available on our website swwj.co.uk.

Our current president is Dame Floella Benjamin, but we have also had the privilege of having other great women presidents such as Victoria Wood, Joyce Grenfell, Vera Brittain, Clemence Dane and Nina Bawden. Men are also involved in the society, including patrons Sir Tim Rice and Simon Brett and, in the past, George Bernard Shaw.

Benefits of joining

  • Welfare scheme
  • Networking opportunities
  • Input into government consultations
  • Post nominals (MSWWJ) to recognise your professionalism
  • Press card
  • Subscription to the Journal magazine
  • Weekly Bulletins
  • Competitions for prestigious trophies
  • International Zoom meetings for writers
  • Youth Group on Instagram to encourage young writers from 11 to 20 years old

There are also a range of events – online and venue based – including author interviews, agents’ advice, professional training and social events such as the popular literary quiz night. We have special events such as trips to the House of Lords and lunches at Stationers Hall in London. We also run drama workshops for script writers where professional actors perform your work and the ever-popular poetry group sessions. All events are publicised on our social media pages.

How to join

We have different levels of membership from ‘Friend’ and ‘New writer’ to ‘Full member’ with eligibility ranging from being a full time, bona fide professional worker to bona fide writers with a valid student card. For more details on these different levels of membership, information on how to join and to fill out an application form, visit swwj.co.uk.