Looking back with Tony Bradman

We sat down with outgoing ALCS Chair Tony Bradman to reflect on his past six years in the role and his proudest achievements in that time.

You’ve been Chair at ALCS for the last six years, can you tell us what you’re most proud of having achieved during that time? 

I’m most proud of the rise in the amount of money we’ve distributed to our members. When I became Chair in 2016, we distributed just over £33m, and this year it will be just over £42m. Of course, the driving force behind that huge increase has been the hard work of our brilliant team. It’s a great feeling to know that more writers have received more money. It’s also been great to see the membership increasing – in 2016 we had 86,556 members, and currently we have over 117,000. Hitting the 100,000 mark was a real achievement! 

Can you tell us how you got involved in the work of ALCS in the first place?  

I joined the Society of Authors pretty much as soon as I started being published – I’d been a member of the NUJ before that, so I knew the benefits of belonging to a union. I soon became involved with the work of the Society – I was chair of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group (CWIG) and sat on the Society’s Management Committee. At that time both the Society and the Writers’ Guild could nominate directors to sit on the ALCS board, and the Society nominated me. As soon as I joined the Board, I knew ALCS was the organisation for me – I mean, they actually had a department whose goal was to find authors and give them money they were owed! How cool is that? 

Do you have any advice you’d like to give to your successor?   

Jo Revill, my successor, is clearly very able and experienced and I’m sure that she’s going to be a great Chair, so I’m not sure she needs any advice from me! All I’ll say is that ALCS can seem complicated from the outside, but it’s actually a very straight-forward organisation with two simple and connected goals – we seek out and collect money for our members and pay it to them as quickly and efficiently as possible, and we work with the rest of the creative industries to protect the legislation that makes collecting the money possible. I think that if ALCS sticks to that, it will never go far wrong. 

What are you going to be doing with all that spare time now? 

Spare time? I doubt that I’ll have any. I’m a writer, so when I’m not actually writing and worrying about it, I’m thinking about writing, or what to write next, and worrying about that. The days are just packed! I might take a bit of time off to do something really exciting, like re-arrange my bookshelves or tidy the cupboard where I keep my notebooks. Although, I tend to get side-tracked by old ideas I wrote down years ago! 

Do you have any parting words for the members? 

Yes – keep writing and may all your royalty payments be big ones!