The Management Committee is responsible for the overall running of the Society of Authors. The Chief Executive and her staff report to the Management Committee. The authors serving on the Committee are listed below.
Members wanting to raise policy matters with the SoA are welcome to contact the Chief Executive in the first instance. Members with individual questions or queries on professional matters are encouraged to consult our Advisory Service, headed by Kate Pool, at any time.
If you would be interested in joining the Management Committee or wish to nominate another member as a possible candidate please feel free to contact Nicola Solomon at any time.
Current Management Committee
Dr Alison Baverstock (2012-2015) is a former publisher, now Course Leader for MA Publishing at Kingston University. She has researched and written widely (for Kogan Page, Bloomsbury, OUP) about the processes of publishing, marketing, author motivation and practice – as well as parenting (Whatever! and It’s not fair! Piatkus) and understanding art (for Prestel). Her most recent research has been into self-publishing (The Naked Author, Bloomsbury, 2011) which she sees as likely to benefit authors in their creative process, often helping them gain objectivity and feedback, and more generally broadening an understanding of how publishing works within wider society. She is passionate about helping to promote a wider enthusiasm for reading, and has been involved in several reader development schemes; she was the founder of Well Worth Reading and www.readingforce.org.uk. In 2007 she received the Pandora Award for services to the publishing industry. See: www.alisonbaverstock.com
Nicola Beauman (2013-2016) was brought up in London. After reading English at Cambridge she worked in New York as a journalist and in an art gallery, and in London in publishing and as a fiction reviewer. A Very Great Profession: The Woman’s Novel 1914-39, her first book, was published by Virago in 1983 (reprinted 1989 and 1995); it was reissued in 2008, twenty-five years after first publication, as a Persephone book. Cynthia Asquith appeared in 1987, Morgan: a biography of EM Forster in 1993, and The Other Elizabeth Taylor was published in April 2009 as 'A Persephone Life'. Nicola Beauman founded Persephone Books in 1998. It was set up to reprint women writers primarily, mostly of the inter-war period portrayed in A Very Great Profession, and now has one hundred and two titles in print.
Andrew Crofts (2012-2015) is a full-time author and ghostwriter. He has published more than 80 titles, a dozen of which have spent many weeks at the top of the Sunday Times best seller charts. As well as using traditional publishers to reach readers, he has also experimented with e-books, publishing The Fabulous Dreams of Maggie de Beer (a prequel to his traditionally published The Overnight Fame of Steffi McBride) on Kindle, Wattpad and Smashwords, and has guided a number of international clients successfully through the minefield of independent publishing. His books on writing include Ghostwriting (A&C Black), which was extensively quoted by Robert Harris in The Ghost, and The Freelance Writer’s Handbook (Piatkus), which has been reprinted eight times over twenty years. In 2010 he wrote The Change Agent – How to Create a Wonderful World, a biography of James Martin, the futurologist and biggest ever private donor to Oxford University. Andrew lectures at Kingston University and frequently guests at writing workshops, literary festivals and in the media. He blogs regularly on matters pertaining to publishing, self-publishing and writing. See: www.andrewcrofts.com
David Donachie (2014-2017)
Is immensely pleased to have been elected to the Management Committee of the Society of Authors and he hopes to be effective and with his colleagues improve things for us all.
Born in Edinburgh he left school aged 14 years with not one single one qualification but with an abiding love of history. Since then? The blurb on his first book jacket said he had more jobs than birthdays; decorator, salesman, truck driver, ice-cream vendor, cleaner, packer, theatre worker and indifferently successful entrepreneur. Once asked by a radio interviewer why he had become a writer, he could only reply: “Desperation. I’ve tried everything else.”
His first novel came about by accident; he sat down to write a radio play he ended up six weeks later with a 400-page novel, subsequently offered for, that offer turned down. If in hindsight that seems foolish, it made sense at the time. He can now list some 19 published novels under his own name, mainly naval fiction, the same number again under the pen names of Jack Ludlow and Tom Connery, all still in print and available as eBooks, as well as co-authoring a trio ghosted SAS titles.
David has had novels bought and paid for, sent back, in one case twice, to then finally see daylight through a third publisher. If he had not had the backing of the SoA on one occasion he would have been unable to threaten a publisher trying to cheat him out of £15K. He had and was paid so he feels a personal debt to the organisation as well as a professional one.
Having been with two of the large trade houses he now publishes with a relatively small but highly efficient house and does so without the aid of an agent, negotiating his own contracts.
Peter Groves (2014-2017)
Peter Groves is a solicitor by profession and the author of a dozen books and many articles on legal subjects, especially copyright. His legal background and his experience of political activism, together with a wish to see the Society made more democratic, responsive and accountable, led him to become a member of the Society's constitution task force and then to stand for election to the Management Committee. His own experience, and that of many of his clients, has demonstrated to him the importance of the writing profession having effective representation. While the Society has served its members well over many years, he believes that the interests of authors must be defended with greater vigour now than was necessary in the past. The pace of change in the publishing world and the problems it creates for writers require a robust and professional response. As a member of the Management Committee, Peter will work to rise to the challenge, but while the MC must provide leadership he believes that the Society must also be open and alert to the needs and concerns of authors, including the many who are not yet members. Peter welcomes any communication about his role in the Society from members, at email@example.com.
Lucinda Hawksley (2014-2017)
Lucinda Hawksley is an author & biographer who has written or contributed to more than 20 books. Lucinda started her career in publishing as a book editor, before moving into magazines and online journalism; she is also an award-winning travel writer. Her titles include Lizzie Siddal, The Tragedy of a Pre-Raphaelite Supermodel; Katey: The Life & Loves of Dickens’s Artist Daughter; Charles Dickens: A Bicentenary Celebration (1812-2012); 50 British Artists You Should Know; March, Women, March: Voices of the Women’s Movement; The Mystery of Princess Louise: Queen Victoria’s Rebellious Daughter and (despite being pogonophobic) Moustaches, Whiskers & Beards, Facial Hair in Portraits. Lucinda is a regular lecturer at the National Portrait Gallery and a Patron of the Charles Dickens Museum in London. She has appeared on a number of TV and radio programmes.
William Horwood (2014-2017)
It’s a tough time to be a writer – whatever genre or medium we’re working in. Incomes down, publishers running scared, our work pirated. The rise of e-publishing has thrown up huge new issues for the marketing, copyrighting and distribution of our work. I’ve been a journalist (Daily Mail, FT), novelist (Duncton Wood, Skallagrigg) and memoir writer (The Boy With No Shoes) all my working life but this is the most challenging it’s ever been. For our Society to stay relevant and effective we need ever-more democracy, transparency and member-involvement. There’s work to do and by working together we can make a difference. So be in touch and share a view or issue. You'll reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Nell Leyshon’s (2013-2016) first novel, Black Dirt, was long-listed for the Orange prize. Her recent novel, The Colour of Milk, was published worldwide. Her plays include Comfort me with apples, which won an Evening Standard Award, and Bedlam, which was the first play written by a woman for Shakespeare’s Globe. She is currently writing a play for the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic. She also writes drama for BBC Radio 3 and 4, and won the Richard Imison Award for her first radio play. Follow Nell on Twitter.
Andrew Lycett (2013-2016) is an English biographer and journalist. After studying history at Oxford University, he worked for two decades as a foreign correspondent, specialising in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Since the mid-1990s he has concentrated on writing books. The subjects of his biographies include Colonel Gadaffi, Ian Fleming, Rudyard Kipling, Dylan Thomas, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and, most recently, Wilkie Collins, a former Vice President of the Society. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
Charles Palliser (2013-2016) has published five works of fiction including the historical novels The Quincunx (1989), The Unburied (1999) and Rustication (2014). He has written plays for BBC radio and the stage. Before becoming a full-time writer in 1990 he taught literature and creative writing in universities in the UK and the USA. The Quincunx was awarded the Sue Kaufman Prize by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
You can view the full Management Committee Election Report from Electoral Reform Services here.
Lin Anderson (The Society of Authors in Scotland) has published eight novels and one novella featuring forensic expert Dr Rhona MacLeod, which have been translated into several languages. The latest, Picture Her Dead, is currently out in paperback. Her short stories have appeared in a number of collections. Dead Close was chosen for the Best of British Crime 2011 and is currently being developed as a film. Also a screenwriter, her film River Child won a student BAFTA and the Celtic Film Festival best fiction award. The Rhona MacLeod novels have been optioned by ITV as a crime series. Other literary work includes a collection of short African stories, broadcast on BBC Radio, and featured in the 30th anniversary edtion of New Writing Scotland. Lin has degrees from Glasgow University, Edinburgh University and The Screen Academy of Scotland. She is co-founder of Scotland's first international crime writing festival, Bloody Scotland. See: www.lin-anderson.com
Maureen Freely (representing the Translators Association) is the author of six novels and three works of non-fiction. She is perhaps best known for her translations of five books by the Turkish novelist and Nobel Laureate, Orhan Pamuk and for her campaigning journalism after he and many other writers, scholars and activists were prosecuted for insulting Turkishness or the memory of Ataturk. Read more...
John Dougherty (representing the Children's Writers and Illustrators Group) graduated from the Queens University of Belfast with a degree in psychology and absolutely no idea what he wanted to do with his life. Later he became a primary teacher, at which point he rediscovered his love of children's fiction and suddenly remembered that what he really wanted to do was write. His first book, Zeus on the Loose, published in 2004, was shortlisted for the Branford Boase award. Since then he has written fiction, mostly humorous, for both trade and educational publishers, including most recently the Stinkbomb & Ketchup-Face books (Oxford University Press). He has been a Society member since 2003, a member of the CWIG committee since 2010, and CWIG chair since November 2013. He is also an active member of the Scattered Authors’ Society and part of the editorial team on An Awfully Big Blog Adventure, one of the earliest writers’ blog co-operatives and host of the world’s first online children’s literature festival. A frequent visitor to schools, John is particularly keen to help children make the connection between reading and enjoyment. He is a passionate supporter of the library service, and believes that access to a wide range of stories is fundamental to both a healthy childhood and fully-effective education. See: www.visitingauthor.com
Photo: © Michael Dannenberg
John Taylor (representing the Broadcasting Committee) runs Fiction Factory, an independent production company which specialises in drama and whose “landmark” productions include dramatisations of Proust’s In Search of Lost Time novels, and Anthony Powell’s Dance to the Music of Time. Recent productions include the Radio 3 feature Ghost Lines and a Drama on 3 dramatisation of W G Sebald's Austerlitz as well as several Radio 4 afternoon dramas and the returning series Chronicles of Ait. He has written for children’s theatre and his radio plays include A Darker Sister, Love's Executioner, Letters from the Ice Land, Lost Girls, The Villa Madeira, Markheim, and Rage on the Road. He recently wrote A Bottle on the Shore for R4 based on Karen Liebreich's book The Letter in the Bottle.