Why Harriet stood for the Management Committee:
"In an increasingly febrile atmosphere authors need those who can reach out to all sides without any agenda other than that of ensuring fairness and representation. Twenty-five years in the publishing industry, first as an editor then author have given me a granular understanding of the literary landscape, the writer’s mindset and the mistakes publishers make – often with the best of intentions. I have sympathy for the difficult position many publishers are in today but questions about some of the choices they’re taking, and the increasing disconnect between what readers want and publishers need. Having moved out of London several years ago I’m aware of the London-centric nature of many bookselling and publishing conversations, too.
"Of especial concern to me is opening up routes to market for those who, unlike me, didn’t grow up in a house full of books. The closure of 800 libraries in the last ten years, savage cuts to funding, the fact that 1 in 17 children has no books in their home, and the stagnation in social mobility are all issues that should gravely concern anyone who loves books. I’ve been a reading volunteer in primary schools, written a Quick Reads title and visited prisons and adult literacy classes to this end. I volunteer with Inspiring the Future to help young people broaden their horizons to pursue the careers they want. There is a fine line to tread between supporting authors who, like me, have been writing for years and have any number of career issues which only the SoA can help with, and ensuring we make the Society a welcoming and inclusive place for anyone starting out as an author.
"I’ve been an SoA member for four years and know from personal experience my membership is worth every penny. Last year I sought advice from the SoA: not only was it immensely helpful, the swift, humane response was incredibly reassuring. I felt for the first time in a long while that someone had my back and how important that is in a strange job like this. And with the wider questions – ebook royalties, threats to IP and copyright, negotiating the post-Brexit, post-pandemic publishing landscape – writers need representation from an organisation that understands both the issues and their unique situation. It’s more vital than ever authors are aware of the SoA so it has their back. I’d love to help do that."