Nomination. Potential new Fellows must have had published in the United Kingdom at least two substantial works (or a sufficient body of other work) in the English language of outstanding literary merit. They are first nominated by an existing Fellow; that nomination must then be seconded by another Fellow.
Becoming a Fellow of the RSL is an honour like no other. We are elected not by some faceless bureaucratic committee but by our fellow writers and professional peers. Fellowship means everything to me.
Voting. Our Council elect new Fellows twice a year. Previously, Council members would place counters into a ballot box, which now serves a purely decorative role. Nominated candidates who have not been successful are reconsidered at every election for three years from the year in which they were proposed.
Election. Newly elected Fellows are introduced at the RSL’s Summer Party. While the President reads a citation for each, they are invited to sign their names in the Roll Book – which includes the signatures of Fellows since the Society’s foundation in 1820 – using either George Eliot’s, T S Eliot’s or Byron’s pen.