We just announced seven new members of our Council!

Malorie Blackman, Neil Gaiman, Joanne Harris, Roger McGough, Ian Rankin, Anne Sebba and Sarah Waters have all joined the Council of the Society of Authors. Daniel Hahn, Chair of the Management Committee, welcomes them:

We are all delighted and immensely proud that Malorie, Neil, Joanne, Roger, Ian, Anne and Sarah have accepted positions on the Council. The Council is made up of distinguished authors who have made a great contribution to the SoA and to our profession, and these seven new members exemplify this perfectly - they are supremely accomplished writers whose work is much loved by their readers all over the world, but they are also committed, passionate advocates for writing and reading and the values that matter to us all.

Joanne Harris writes:

I am delighted to have been invited onto the Society of Authors’ Council. I have been a member of the SoA since the publication of my first novel and I have an enormous amount of respect for the work they do. The advice and guidance they provide is invaluable to both new and more experienced authors and I welcome this opportunity to give any help I can.

The Council is made up of 60 members, read the full list here.

About the new Council Members

Malorie Blackman is the current Children’s Laureate. She worked in computing before publishing her first book at the age of 28. She has written over 60 books for children and young adults as well as television scripts and a play. Her numerous prizes include the Red House Children’s Book Award and the Fantastic Fiction Award. In 2005 she was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her contribution to children’s books, and in 2008 she received an OBE for her services to children’s literature. She has served on the SoA’s Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group committee and Management Committee.

Neil Gaiman was a ‘feral child who was raised in libraries’ and credits librarians with fostering a life-long love of reading. A prolific creator of works of prose, poetry, film, journalism, comics, song lyrics, and drama, Neil writes for all ages and his award-winning work crosses the boundaries of medium and genre. He was one of the first authors to explore social media, first with his blog, and later with Twitter, where over two million people now follow him. He is a Professor in the Arts at Bard College and an Honorary Visiting Professor at the School of the Arts at Liverpool University.

Joanne Harris published her first three novels while working as a teacher, including Chocolat which was made into an Oscar-nominated film. Since then, she has written 11 more novels, two collections of short stories and three cookbooks. Her books are published in over 50 countries and have won a number of British and international awards. She has recently written online aboutthe importance of writers being paid for festival appearances.

Roger McGough has been a prominent and popular poet since he was included in the Mersey Sound anthology in 1967. As well as entertaining and inspiring generations through his own work, he has done much for the popular appeal of poetry. He is at the forefront of the movement to get poetry into schools and shares his passion as presenter of Poetry Please on BBC Radio 4. He has been awarded an OBE, CBE and the Freedom of the City of Liverpool and is the President of the Poetry Society.

Ian Rankin started writing novels when he was meant to be working towards a PhD in Scottish Literature. The first Inspector Rebus novel was published in 1987 and the books have become bestsellers on several continents, with the series translated into 37 languages. Ian has been elected a Hawthornden Fellow and is also a past winner of the Chandler-Fulbright Award as well as four Crime Writers’ Association Dagger Awards, including the prestigious Diamond Dagger in 2005. He received an OBE for services to literature, and was recently made a fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.  

Anne Sebba can’t remember a time when she didn’t want to write. After working with Reuters as a foreign correspondent she became a biographer, lecturer and journalist. She has written ten books, several short stories and introductions to reprinted novels. Her non-fiction focuses on the lives of women who enjoyed using power and influence in different ways, such as Mother Teresa and Wallis Simpson. She is currently writing about Paris from 1939-49 through women’s eyes. From 2012-2014 she was the Chair of the SoA’s Management Committee, during which time she was temporarily imprisoned (at her own request).

Sarah Waters’ popular and award-winning novels use period settings to explore the lives of those who have, historically, been hidden, ignored or erased. Her books have been adapted for TV, stage and film and she has co-written an original stageplay. She was included in Granta’s prestigious list of ‘Best Young British Novelists 2003’, and in the same year was voted Author of the Year by both publishers and booksellers at the British Book Awards and the BA Conference. She sat on the SoA’s Management Committee from 2009-2012.

Photo credits: Dominic Turner (Malorie Blackman); Kimberly Butler (Neil Gaiman); Jennifer Robertson of Kyte Photography (Joanne Harris); Hamish Brown (Ian Rankin); John Stoddart (Anne Sebba); Jeremy Sutton-Hibbert/Getty Images (Sarah Waters)

April Book Photo Challenge I 18. I Interesting Cover 

Neverwhere, by neil-gaiman

Mouse cover art! I love mice, and I love this novel - two interests combined in perfect harmony. Unfortunately for me, tiny Bianca has claimed this copy. It’s her book now. Can’t argue with the tail wrap.

Quick story about a “posher-than-thou” couple.

Yesterday at work, I was cashiering, and a couple came through the line… I asked them standard questions like, “have any plans for the weekend?” At first they were saying, “oh, nothing really…” But then, “Well, we are going to see Neil Gaiman, he’s visiting UW campus this weekend.”

I GOT EXCITED. I mean, great author, inspiring speaker for anyone pursuing arts, collaborated on one of my favorite books ever–

When they saw me get excited, the scoffed, “No, not Neil Diamond, we said Neil Gaiman, an author.”

“… yes, I know.” Wow guys. “Author of such books as The Graveyard Book, Coraline. More recently, The Ocean at the End of the Lane. American Gods. Good Omens. If you’re into comics, The Sandman series.”

They seemed to get really uncomfortable that their simpleton, lowly cashier understood their “very cultural” plans (or maybe my excitement was off-putting? That’s possible). They didn’t seem to want to talk much more about it, except to say, “Did you know that Amanda Palmer is going to have a baby?”

sigh. 

And by the by, it’s a shame that people routinely look down on those in low-wage service jobs like mine. I get it all the time. It’s especially terrible in this case, given that an overarching theme in Gaiman’s works are empathetic glimpses into the experiences of a huge breadth of people. 

extra sigh.

karengardens asked:

Hi, my 5year old son and I have just watched the episode of Arthur in which you feature. Once it ended I told him that I have several of your books, he then patted my arm sympathetically and replied "I'm sorry Mummy, but he's not real! Its just a story!" I tried to explain but he remained adamant. He still believes in the Tooth Fairy and Father Christmas though!

Best ask ever. Thank you!