About us

Founded in 1820, the RSL is the UK’s charity for the advancement of literature. We act as a voice for the value of literature, engage people in appreciating literature, and encourage and honour writers.

People need to feel in their bones that the whole of English literature from Beowulf to Byron to Benjamin Zephaniah is theirs by right of inheritance. The RSL shows people what belongs to them, and welcomes them into it.’

Philip Pullman

Today, alongside our world-class events programme, we support authors both established and emerging with awards and grants and manage a Schools Outreach Programme to inspire the next generation of readers and writers.
Find out more about our activities.

Watch our trailer about the work we do and why it matters. Video by Paul Wyatt.

Membership of the RSL is open to all – for £60 a year for the first year (reducing to £50 a year thereafter) Young Person’s Membership for under 30s £40 a year for first year (reducing to £30 a year thereafter). Member benefits include a free ticket to every RSL public event – 20 a year –  a free subscription to RSL Review and  Members-only Book Groups.

Who we are

A society of, and for, writers. At the heart of the RSL is its Fellowship, which encompasses the most distinguished authors working in the English language. We build bridges between our Fellows and the reading public, so that their talents are shared as widely as possible.
Meet our Fellows.

Led by authors. Our Council, Chair and President – who are responsible for the direction and management of the RSL – are drawn from our Fellowship. Authors steer our vision and play a pivotal role in all our activities.
Learn more about our Council.

An independent charity. We do not receive regular public or government funding and are reliant upon the support of our Members, Patrons, Fellows and friends to continue our work.
Find out more about supporting the RSL.

A Society for all who love literature. Membership is open to all, and offers the benefits and joys of a literary festival and book club rolled into one, all year round. Our Members enjoy free entry and discounted guest tickets to our events, priority booking for our masterclasses and a complimentary subscription to the RSL Review.
Learn more about the benefits of membership.