The Society aims to encourage literary achievement, to uphold professional standards, to promote social contact with fellow writers and to defend the dignity and prestige of the writing profession in all its aspects.

The SWWJ is the UK's longest-established Society for professional women writers. Founded in 1894 by newspaper proprietor Joseph Snell Wood, the Society has grown to become an international association, and is affiliated to women's associations worldwide. In 2004, the Society took the decision to invite men who are published writers to join us as Associate Members. We also welcome non-writing Friends from across the publishing industry and beyond.

In the words of our current President, Victoria Wood, CBE, “from pen and ink to Twitter, it's one hundred and twenty years of creativity and communication”.

To learn more about the SWWJ, download a copy of our 120th Anniversary Supplement.

120th Anniversary Supplement


120 Anniversary

2014 sees the 120th anniversary of the SWWJ and we are proud to celebrate the important contribution that women writers have made – and continue to make – to the world of journalism and literature.
Society members and non-members came together to mark the occasion on 14th October with a special service at London's St Bride's Church, Fleet Street – known as the "spiritual home of the media" – and with a luncheon at Stationers' Hall, a venue associated with the written word for over five centuries. The celebratory service included music from the renowned St Bride's choir, as well as readings and addresses from SWWJ Honorary Life President, Baroness Williams of Crosby, freelance journalist Libby Purves, and SWWJ Patron Simon Brett. The Society President, Victoria Wood, joined us at the luncheon and the event concluded with a talk by Ann Widdecombe.
If you would like to know more about our reasons for celebration – our history, our current activities and our plans for the future – you can download a copy of our 120th Anniversary Supplement.


SWWJ membership is open to professional workers in literature, drama or journalism anywhere in the world. Full and associate members must be proposed and seconded by two bona fide writing professionals who have personal knowledge of their work.


  • There is a one-off Joining Fee of £15 for all new members, apart from Friends.

Benefits of membership


The Woman Writer

Published five times per year, “The Woman Writer” is the Society’s in-house magazine. Contents include members’ news, articles of interest, genre-specific pages, reviews, market and competition information.


To keep abreast of technological changes, we are updating our website. This current page is a taste of what is to come, but our old site, with existing information can still be visited here.

Press Card

For Full/Associate Members, the press card gives useful access for bona fide copy and research at exhibitions, conferences and events etc. across the country.


Our Spring Festival, Autumn Lunch and Christmas celebration take place in London. They feature guest speakers, prize presentations and networking opportunities.


In different genres including journalism, fiction, novels, non-fiction, poetry and drama. Our Drama Coordinator is director, actor, writer and producer, Martin Cort.

Regional Groups

Local meetings are held across the country, often with guest speakers or workshop elements.

Email Information Loop

A facility that provides up­to­date market and other information and allows members to keep in touch and share their news.

Facebook and Twitter

For keeping in touch and publicising news, events and activities to the wider public.

In-house and Open Competitions

In all genres with cash and prestigious trophy prizes.

Manuscript Advice Service

Advice and critiques are available across all genres from specialists among the Society members.


Scriptora is the Society’s own mentored self-publishing imprint. Manuscripts submitted for publication are subject to a rigorous selection process before acceptance.


The Society has a benevolent fund offering support to members in times of sickness or special need.

Who's who



Victoria Wood CBE


Sir Tim Rice, The Earl of Stockton, Lord Quirk, Simon Brett, Baroness Howard of Lympne (novelist Sandra Howard).

Honorary Members

Anne Fine, Lady Antonia Fraser, Victoria Glendinning, Jacqueline Wilson, Penny Vincenzi, Peter Lovesey.

Vice Presidents

Jean Bowden, Joyce Elsden, Jocelyn Glegg, Barbara Haynes, Jennie Lisney, Mary Rensten, Jean Marian Stevens, Valerie Dunmore, Jean McConnell, Jean Morris


Council Officers & responsibilities 2014/2015

Caretaker Chair: Valerie Dunmore

Vice Chair: Barbara Field-Holmes

Hon. Treasurer: Benita Cullingford

(Acting) Membership Secretary: Jennie Lisney

Editor, The Woman Writer: Barbara Field-Holmes

Press/PR: Doreen Friend

Events: Trudy Lewis

Markets: Jean Morris

Overseas/Regions: Jean Morris

Archives: Sylvia Kent

Welfare: Jennie Lisney

Competitions (pro. tem.): Mary Rensten

Poetry Coordinator: Gwyneth Box

Drama: Benita Cullingford

Book Reviews: Colleen McMath

Chawton House Liaison: Pamela Birley

Overseas trips: Joyce Elsden


We are currently updating our website and online presence and this page is just a taste of what is to come. You can still view the old website.

A number of our members' profile pages can be found here.

One of the services we offer to our members is mentored self-publishing through the Scriptora imprint. Details of our Scriptora mentored self-publishing service and the books Scriptora has published can be found here.

Get in touch


Contact Info

Room 2, Aileen McHugo Building
Westmore Green, Tatsfield
Westerham, Kent
TN16 2AG


Write to us