How to Make a Living as a Writer

Location: Bristol
Address: The Arnolfini, 16 Narrow Quay, Bristol, BS1 4QA 
Event time: 1pm-5pm
Join us for a Q&A session with Nicola Solomon and Sarah Baxter, followed by a panel discussion with Helen Chaloner (Literature Works), Patricia Ferguson, and Sarah Baxter (SoA)

Event details

1pm-2.10pm Q&A with Nicola Solomon and Sarah Baxter from the SoA (members only)

2.10pm-2.40pm Break and networking with coffee and tea

2.40pm-3.45pm Panel discussion How to Make a Living as a Writer (open to members and non-members)

4pm-5pm SoA Social with drinks and informal discussion about setting up a Bristol regional group, at the nearby Watershed Bar

Q&A with the SoA (Member-only discussion)

Join us in Bristol for a members-only Q&A discussion with our CEO Nicola Solomon and one of our senior contracts advisors, Sarah Baxter. A fantastic opportunity to discuss the issues that matter to you and get your questions answered. 
As well as asking questions on the day, it would be useful to find out the areas you’d like to cover in advance. Please email your questions to by 16th May.

How to Make a Living as a Writer 

Join us for a panel discussion with the CEO of Literature Works, Helen Chaloner, writer and SoA member Patricia Ferguson, and Sarah Baxter from the SoA. 

Our panel will discuss ways in which their organisations help to support writers, explain the opportunities available to authors in the local area, and answer questions about how to make a living as a writer today.

The panel discussion is open to both members and non-members.

Unfortunately Kate Offord (Arts Council England) will now be unable to take part in the panel event due to it falling within the period of political purdah prior to the General Elections.

Networking drinks and SoA Bristol

Following the discussion you’re invited to join us for drinks at The Watershed bar, an opportunity to network and socialise with your professional writing community, and to discuss with Alex Klaushofer, a member of our Management Committee, plans for starting a regional group in Bristol. 

There are 481 Society of Authors members in the Bristol area. We’d love to help you get together and start a Bristol group. This group will be a fantastic way for local members to get together informally to chat, discuss their projects and worries, and to gain experience and support from each other and outside speakers. It will be run for members, by members, with the support and help of the SoA (including financial help).
This initial meeting will gauge interest and agree the remit of the group. This is a great opportunity to make new contacts and have a say in shaping the new group and the SoA

Tickets and How to Book

Member tickets: £10 (£12 offline) for the Q&A and Panel discussion. 
Non-member tickets: £12 (panel discussion only) (£15 offline). 
Social only: Free

If you are planning to attend the social but not the discussion, please email Poppy Rosenberg on so we know how many to expect.

If you are interested in joining the new group but are unable to attend the social do let us know.

Please book via our Eventbrite page.

To book offline please call 020 7373 6642 *please note that offline booking for members is £12 and for non-members is £15*

About the Speakers

Sarah Baxter advises SoA members on publishing contracts and issues, and handles our literary estates, including print permissions and amateur stage licences. She also administers grants for writers in need including the Authors Contingency Fund, PD James Memorial Fund and Authors Foundation grants.




Helen Chaloner joined Literature Works in March 2017 from Theatre Royal Plymouth, where she was Head of Development. She has worked in publishing PR for over nine years, at Penguin Books, Macdonald Publishing and, latterly, at Faber & Faber. Helen has held leadership positions as National Director of the Arvon Foundation and as Chief Executive of Farms for City Children, an educational charity offering inner city children a week on a working farm. Helen has a wide experience of writers and artists’ residency programmes, of educational outreach and of projects that provide relevant, paid employment for writers. She is a lover of fiction and principal short story reader for the Bridport Prize.

Patricia Ferguson grew up in Kent, went to Leeds University to read History, and trained as a nurse and midwife in London, but has lived in Bristol for the last twenty-five years. She started writing seriously in her late twenties, and so far has published seven novels and a volume of short stories. She taught Creative Writing for the University of Bristol, and was Royal Literary Fund Fellow at Reading University for three years.




About Literature Works

Literature Works is the strategic literature development charity for South West England. They are a National Portfolio Organisation of Arts Council England. Literature Works’ role is to fundraise for the Literature Works Annual Fund, a support and grant scheme providing small awards for literature activity across the region, and where possible securing funding for larger regional projects with delivery partners, advice, advocacy and partnership. Our mission is to support, understand and advocate for our regional literature sector in all its contexts, for everyone, for all ages, and that sector’s place, growth, relevance and value in a national and international literature development future.