3 February 2020
Author of Chocolat succeeds David Donachie to begin two-year term as Chair of the SoA's board of directors.
Joanne Harris (photograph Kyte Photography)
Novelist Joanne Harris has been elected Chair of the Society of Authors’ Management Committee – the SoA’s member-elected board of directors and charity trustees – at their January 2020 meeting. The position has been held since 2016 by David Donachie, who has now come to the end of his second two-year term.
The Management Committee meet six times a year to govern the direction of the SoA. Twelve elected members, alongside the chairs of professional groups – including the Translators Association and the Children’s Writers & Illustrators Group – are responsible for setting the strategy and policies of the organisation.
During David Donachie’s four years as Chair, membership grew by more than a tenth to over 11K, and we completed a major relocation to our new home at Bedford Row.
‘…a challenging time for authors…’
Commenting on her appointment, Joanne Harris said:
This is a challenging time for authors, as incomes fall, online piracy thrives, public libraries fall prey to local funding cuts, Brexit presents uncertainty around the copyright of our work, freedom of movement and more – and politicians continue to experiment with the education system that we hope will nurture the next generation of authors.
But this is also an exciting time to write, translate, and create – and for the Society of Authors as a trade union. With over 11,000 members and growing, our voice is louder than ever. I’m excited to be stepping into the role of Chair and look forward to continuing to raise awareness of the SoA and its role, campaigning on behalf of authors on the issues that impact them – and working with my colleagues on the Management Committee and the staff team to make sure we reach, benefit and remain relevant to all authors, regardless of background, career stage and the types of work they produce.
‘…a natural communicator…’
Outgoing Chair David Donachie, who has served since 2016, said:
I wish Joanne all the best for her tenure as Chair. She’ll work hard to keep the SoA up to speed in a fast-changing publishing landscape. Sometimes the job’s a slog, but along come projects which make everything worthwhile. Joanne, a natural communicator, is just the person to find and implement those which will improve life for our members.