Society of Authors

The Society of Authors (SoA) is a United Kingdom trade union for professional writers, illustrators and literary translators, founded in 1884 to protect the rights and further the interests of authors. As of September 2019, it represents 11,000 members and associates.

The Society of Authors
Founded1884; 137 years ago (1884)
HeadquartersLondon, UK
More than 11,000
Key people
Philip Pullman, President

Joanne Harris, Chair

Nicola Solomon, Chief Executive

The SoA vets members' contracts and advises on professional issues, as well as providing training, representing authors in collective negotiations with publishers to improve contract terms, lobbying on issues that affect authors such as copyright, UK arts funding and Public Lending Right.[1]

The SoA administers a range of grants for writers in need (The Authors' Contingency Fund, The Francis Head Bequest and The P.D. James Memorial Fund) and to fund work in progress (The Authors’ Foundation and K Blundell Trust), awarding more than £250,000 to writers each year.[2]

The SoA also administers prizes for fiction, non-fiction, poetry, translation and drama, including the Betty Trask Award and the Somerset Maugham Award.

The SoA acts as the literary representative for the estates of a number of writers. This list includes George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf, Philip Larkin, E. M. Forster, Rosamond Lehmann, Walter de la Mare, John Masefield and Compton Mackenzie.[3]

Authors of all kinds are eligible to join, whether they are already established or at the beginning of their careers.[4]