New Fellows and Election Process Announced

On 12 July, we have announced 62 new appointments, including the second induction of writers elected to Fellowship through the RSL Open initiative. Launched as part of the bicentenary celebrations, the initiative has seen 60 new writers from communities, backgrounds and experiences currently under-represented in UK literary culture elected to Fellowship.

At the induction event, new Fellows and Honorary Fellows elected in 2023 signed their names in the RSL Roll Book using a pen from the charity’s collection. The RSL’s pens are from some of the most historically influential UK writers including Arnold Wesker, Andrea Levy, Jean Rhys, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, T.S. Eliot and Lord Byron. The RSL Roll Book dates back to 1825, five years after the founding of the charity in 1820, and features the signature of Fellows and Honorary Fellows elected in the past 200 years.

For full details of the newly elected Fellows, please read the press release.

This year marks the midway point of the RSL 200, a five-year festival championing the great diversity of writing and writers in the UK. As the two-year RSL Open initiative draws to a close, the Society has announced an unprecedented change to the election process by which new Fellows and Honorary Fellows are appointed. Drawing on the success and learnings of the initiative, it was announced that the Society would further open up its Fellowship by inviting readers and writers throughout the UK to recommend writers for Fellowship. Each year, a specially selected panel of RSL Fellows will review recommendations, read the writers put forward, and nominate a cohort of 30 writers for election to Fellowship. These changes will help to ensure the diversity of excellent writers in the UK continues to be celebrated within the RSL Fellowship, engage more RSL Fellows in the election process, and help form greater connections between writers and their readers.

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Our Members are champions of literature. Their support makes our engagement work in schools and prisons possible and they enable us to celebrate literature in all its wonderful diversity. As a thank you, we give them all the joys of a literary festival and book club rolled into one, all year round.