Society of Authors welcomes four new council members: Anne Fine, Philip Gross, Judith Kerr and Lemn Sissay

21 April 2017

We are delighted to welcome four distinguished authors, who have all generously agreed to join the Society of Authors Council.

The Council is an honorary body made up of authors of high standing who have been exceptional in their support of the SoA. They join our president Philip Pullman and, among others, Malorie Blackman, Anthony Beevor, Neil Gaiman and JK Rowling.

Anne Fine OBE

Photograph: Carsten Murawski

Anne Fine has twice won both the Carnegie Medal and the Whitbread (now Costa) Children's Novel Award, a Guardian Children's Fiction Award and two Smarties Prizes. She has twice been voted Children's Author of the Year, and in 1998 was the UK nominee for the international Hans Christian Andersen Award. From 2001-3 she was the Children's Laureate. Anne is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She has published eight novels for adults and her work has been translated into over forty languages.

Commenting on the appointment, Anne said:

'Writing is a lonely business and publishers can make the most egregious requests and demands, leading to the inevitable worry, "Am I being unreasonable?" The Society of Authors has never failed to advise me well, and I bless them for it.'

Philip Gross

Photograph: Stephen Morris

Philip Gross has published more than twenty poetry collections, including The Water Table, winner of the T.S.Eliot Prize 2009.  He has also published ten novels for young people, and is an insatiable collaborator across art forms, as with artist Valerie Coffin Price on A Fold In The River, and with composer Benjamin Frank Vaughan on The King in the Car Park, a cantata about the re-discovery of Richard III. He has been a creative writing educator for thirty years, in universities and with people of all ages.

Commenting on the appointment, Philip said:

It’s a privilege to be invited to serve the Society of Authors as a Council member, and particularly at a time like this. In an age of friction, change and complication, who better than authors, such a famously diverse and individual bunch (we are the cats who won’t be herded) to show that we can meet and represent our common interests… especially when that common interest is to be as gloriously different as we, and all our readers, truly are - to be that different for the culture’s sake?

Judith Kerr OBE

Photograph: Eliz Hüseyin

Judith Kerr has worked as an artist, a BBC television scriptwriter and, for the past thirty years, as author and illustrator of children’s books. She has written and illustrated more than thirty books, including the enduring and popular Mog series and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, and three autobiographical novels based on her early ‘wandering years’ following her family’s escape from Nazi Germany in 1933 when she was nine. Her ‘Out of the Hitler Time’ trilogy has been internationally acclaimed, particularly in Germany, where the stories are used as an easy introduction to a difficult period of Germany history. Kerr was awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to children's literature and Holocaust education.

Lemn Sissay MBE

Photograph: Hamish Brown

Lemn Sissay’s published his first poetry collection at the age of 21. Since then, his work has included seven more collections, eight plays, his Landmark Poem installations in Manchester and London, as well as collaborations with recording, visual and performance artists. He was the first Black Writers Development Worker in the North of England. He established Cultureword, where he developed, supported and published many new writers. He is associate artist at Southbank Centre, patron of The Letterbox Club and The Reader Organisation, ambassador for The Children’s Reading Fund, trustee of Forward Arts Foundation and inaugural trustee of World Book Night.