Thompson, Emma

Emma Thompson

Elected: 2021

Dame Emma Thompson is one of the world’s most critically-lauded and respected talents for her versatility in acting as well as screenwriting.  She is the sole artist thus far to have received an Academy Award for both acting (Howards End) and screenwriting (Sense and Sensibility).

In June of 2018 she was appointed a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire.

She is currently to be seen opposite Emma Stone in the Disney feature film Cruella. Also this year, she is shooting three feature films back-to-back: What’s Love Got to Do With Itstarring Lily James and Shazad Latif, directed by Shekhar Kapur from a screenplay by Jemima Khan; Good Luck To You, Leo Grande, co-starring Daryl McCormack, based on the original screenplay by British Comedy award-winner Katy Band for director Sophie Hyde; and the film adaptation of Tim Minchin’s hit stage musical Matildabased on the Roald Dahl classic novel, in which she will play the dreaded school head mistress, ‘Trunchbull’, for director Matthew Warchus.

Thompson’s film credits include Sense and Sensibility (for which she also received a Best Actress Oscar nomination); The Remains of the Day (Oscar nomination); In the Name of the Father (Oscar nomination); Last Christmas (for which she was also co-screenwriter and producer), Late Night, The Children Act, Love Actually; Saving Mr. Banks; The Meyerowitz Stories; Disney’s live action Beauty and the Beast; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; Harry Potter and the Order of the PhoenixHenry V; Dead Again; Peter’s FriendsMuch Ado About Nothing; Junior; CarringtonThe Winter Guest; Primary Colors; Stranger Than Fiction; Last Chance HarveyLove Punch; Brave, and two of the Men In Black sequels. Thompson starred as the title character in both Nanny McPhee and Nanny McPhee Returns, for both of which she also wrote the screenplay, based on Christiana Brand’s Nurse Matilda stories and was an Executive Producer on the latter. She is currently developing a stage musical on the character.

Television credits include the BBC One/HBO six-part Russell T. Davies series Years & Years; HBO’s Wit (2001 Golden Globe nomination) and Angels in America (2002 SAG Award, Emmy nomination), both for director Mike Nichols; Song of Lunch for BBC Two (2012 Emmy nomination); Walking the Dog; Alfresco; and the eponymous BBC series Thompson. Thompson was commissioned to write the 24th, 25th and 26th tales in the existing collection of Peter Rabbit stories beginning in 2014, the only author since Beatrix Potter to do so.

More of our Fellows

Sean O'Brien

Jonathan Douglas

Baroness Ruth Rendell (Baroness Rendell of Babergh)

Polly Samson

Fellowship Election Process​

Fellows are nominated by peers and elected by our Council of writers – our governing Board. Being elected a Fellow of the RSL is a lifetime honour. This role gives them the opportunity to support other writers, readers and the future of literature. The RSL connects writers in the Fellowship to one another, and to a wider readership.