To celebrate our 203rd birthday, and the end of the third year of RSL 200, we can now reveal 12 new RSL International Writers, and two new awards and prizes for 2024!
‘The ever-expanding portfolio of the Royal Society of Literature initiatives continues the essential support and acknowledgement of writers at different stages of their careers along with a commitment to fostering global relationships. Thriving and impactful, it is an utterly unique organisation, founded two centuries ago, and embracing inclusivity in the twenty-first century.’
– Bernardine Evaristo, RSL President
This annual, life-long award recognises the contribution of writers across the globe to literature. The 2023 RSL International Writers are:
Tony Birch, Yussef El Guindi, Lorna Goodison, Yaa Gyasi, Han Kang, Yiyun Li, Attica Locke, Valeria Luiselli, Anne Michaels, Scholastique Mukasonga, Maria Stepanova, and Gao Xingjian.
The award celebrates the power of literature to transcend borders and bring people together, new writers are invited to join the RSL’s International Writers each year forming an ever-expanding global community of authors. We asked you, the RSL community, to recommend writers outside the UK for nomination. Maureen Freely chaired a panel of Fellows and Honorary Fellows including Sandra Agard, Kit Fan, Daniel Hahn, Margaret Jull Costa, Hannah Khalil, Musa Okwonga and Gaby Wood. The panel nominated the RSL International Writers, who were then appointed by Council.
Maureen Freely, Chair of this year’s panel, said:
‘The RSL International Writers programme, now in its third year, is delighted to welcome 12 new writers to the fold. They come to us from five continents and as many languages, with most working across a variety of forms. All are writers of great distinction. Though no two are alike, they share a fascination for erased lives and histories that can, once restored, serve as eloquent reminders of our commonalities as readers, writers, and global citizens. We would like to thank all those who took the trouble to recommend them to us. We hope they will keep up this excellent habit as the programme enters its fourth year.‘
ENTENTE LITTERAIRE AND RSL JERWOOD POETRY AWARDS
The Entente Littéraire Prize and the RSL Jerwood Poetry Awards will join the existing roster of awards and prizes presented by the RSL, bringing together writers and readers in celebration of the breadth of literature today.
The Entente Littéraire Prize (Prix de l’Entente Littéraire), is a UK-France literary prize for young adult literature, that looks to encourage and celebrate the joy of reading and shared literary experiences between France and the UK. The Prize is inspired by the Entente Cordiale, the 1904 agreement between the UK and French governments that improved bilateral relations. The idea to establish a UK-France literary prize was agreed by the Prime Minister and President Macron at the UK-France bilateral Summit in Paris on 10 March 2023.
The RSL is working with the Institut français du Royaume-Uni, the French Ministry of Culture, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, the British Embassy in Paris and the French Embassy in London.
The Prize will be opened to submissions in early 2024, when the judging panel will also be announced.
The RSL Jerwood Poetry Awards is a new flagship programme supporting poets across Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and England to make significant step-changes in their careers. Through direct financial support, mentoring, professional development workshops and project funding, the RSL will provide what a poet needs to meaningfully develop their creative practice: time, encouragement and connection.
Generously funded by Jerwood Arts and Creative Scotland, these Awards continue the work done from 2017 to 2022 in the Jerwood Compton Poetry Fellowships, which enabled poets to build the next stage in their professional lives. Taking learning from this previous programme, the new round of Awards will create career-making opportunities for selected poets. Mentoring from RSL Fellows and financial support will be given to 12 poets over three years. In each edition, an award will be ringfenced for one poet from each nation – Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and England.
Selection of the winning poets will use a nomination process, which has been highly successful in the past in encouraging and supporting poets who would not normally apply for major awards. A range of literature and poetry organisations — from grass-roots collectives to national development agencies across the four nations — will be invited to nominate poets for whom they believe this award could help them in developing their practice and getting to what they feel is the next level in their poetry career.
Each poet will receive a £10,000 stipend to give them time to write, as well as mentoring from an RSL Fellow poet and the opportunity to take part in networking sessions and put on their own events and performances.
Last but not least, we are celebrating our birthday with three new team members in the RSL office! Welcome to Catherine Riley (Head of Communications and Partnerships), Mekella Broomberg (Programming Manager) and Amber Sale (Communications Officer).
The RSL is grateful to Hawthornden Foundation for supporting its work over the course of RSL 200.