Get Organised: The Society of Authors

18 November 2019

Continuing our campaign to highlight the support provided by writers’ organisations, this month we’re profiling the Society of Authors (SoA), the UK trade union for writers.

Established in 1884, the SoA was set up in the interest of authors; to lobby for them and protect their rights. With Alfred Lord Tennyson elected as its first President, the Society has since gone on to have numerous high-profile presidents including PD James, Thomas Hardy as well as its current President, Philip Pullman. With over 130 years’ experience, it now boasts over 11,000 members and is a dominant force in the writing community.

What the SoA does for its members

Benefits of SoA membership include:

  • advice on professional issues and problems
  • clause-by-clause contract vetting
  • subscription to The Author, the SoA’s quarterly journal
  • free access to all SoA guides and articles
  • discounted tickets to SoA events
  • ​offers on specialist insurance, including public liability insurance, professional indemnity insurance and tax protection insurance
  • ​up to 25% discounts on books.

The SoA advises its members on all things concerning writing through professional workshops and tailored guidance, and is renowned for the invaluable contract advice it provides to members. It also makes available a wide range of offers, and, alongside ALCS, is dedicated to lobbying the government on issues of importance to writers including the Axe the Reading Tax campaign, the need for fair remuneration for writers, and Public Lending Right (PLR).

As well as fighting for the rights of writers, the Society also helps cultivate future authors through its awards and grants, most of which are open to all writers. Each year it hosts the Society of Authors’ Awards, administers the Imison and Tinniswood Awards as part of the BBC Audio Drama Awards, and awards £10,000 worth of prize money at the Translation Prizes. It provides works-in-progress and contingency grants to help fund writing, and offers payments from the PD James Memorial Fund for SoA members to do the same. To find out more and apply for these opportunities, visit societyofauthors.org/Prizes and societyofauthors.org/Grants.

Working together

ALCS and the SoA have a long history of working together and we are pleased still to be collaborating closely with the SoA in lobbying on issues of importance to writers today. To mark this close ongoing relationship, ALCS Members can use the code ALCS1512 to receive 15 months’ membership of the SoA for the price of 12.

ALCS members can also attend two SoA regional member meetings for free. In recent months these meetings have taken place in all corners of the UK including Kilmarnock, Brighton and Aberystwyth. To see what SoA member meetings are coming up, and to RSVP, visit the SoA events page.

How to join

For more information on SoA membership eligibility and to join online, visit societyofauthors.org/Join. Don’t forget, ALCS Members can use the code ALCS1512 for 15 months’ SoA membership for the price of 12.