Sarah Ladipo Manyika, Emma Dabiri, others become fellows of the Royal Society of Literature
The Royal Society of Literature (RSL) has announced 62 new fellows, including Sarah Ladipo Manyika and Emma Dabiri.
Sarah Ladipo Manyika is a writer and academic and Emma Dabiri is a broadcaster and writer. Also on the list are young adult author Patrick Ness, Guardian columnist Nesrine Malik and poet Anthony Anaxagorou.
The RSL, a UK charity aimed at advancing literature, announced its 62 new fellows during a ceremony at the Garden Museum in London on Wednesday, according to The Guardian.
Half of the fellows were elected through the second year of the RSL’s Open initiative, which aims to recognise writers from backgrounds currently underrepresented in UK literary culture. The latest cohort includes a “broad range” of writers from “different parts of the UK, from different communities, different demographics,” said Bernardine Evaristo, the Booker prize-winning president of the RSL.
The Open initiative was established as a two-year programme as part of the RSL’s bicentennial celebrations in 2020 to induct 60 new writers into the society. The initiative improves the “literary gene pool of the United Kingdom” because a lack of variety “causes weakness,” added Tade Thompson, one of the new fellows. The society also announced changes to the fellowship election process from next year onwards, which Evaristo described as a “radical move”. Drawing on the Open initiative – which ends this year – readers and writers across the UK will be invited to put forward names of fellows and honorary fellows alongside suggestions from the existing fellowship.
Alongside the Open fellows, 15 writers were elected by the regular process, which involves being nominated by two existing fellows for a body of writing including at least two works of “outstanding literary merit”.
All new fellows signed their names in the RSL Roll Book using a pen of a famous writer from the charity’s collection, including those of Andrea Levy, Jean Rhys, Charles Dickens, George Eliot, TS Eliot and Lord Byron.