A to B

The Margery Allingham Society
Margery Allingham (1904-1966) is ranked as one of the most distinguished writers of detective fiction’s ‘Golden Age’. The aim of the Society is to bring together all those who share an interest in preserving, promoting and enjoying her literary work and reputation through meetings, social events, publishing and by encouraging research into her life and times. The Society meets regularly in London and East Anglia. Members receive the twice-yearly journal, and a newsletter is produced from time to time. For more detail visit www.margeryallingham.org.uk.

The Jane Austen Society
Jane Austen (1775 – 1817), novelist, lived her life as part of a large and close knit family located on the lower fringes of English gentry.  Works:  Sense and Sensibility, Pride and Prejudice, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion.

The Jane Austen Society is active in its wider aim of honouring the author and promoting interest in her life and work.  In addition to the Society’s day and weekend conferences, a varied menu of events is offered by Branches and Groups in Bath and Bristol, Cambridge, Hampshire, Kent, London, the Midlands, Norfolk, the North, Scotland, Wales, the South West, and counties adjoining Surrey – the Southern Circle.  More details on their website at www.janeaustensoci.freeuk.com.

The Jane Austen Society Midlands
The Midlands Society was founded in 1990 with the intention of providing regular meetings where like-minded people could share and promote interest in, and understanding of, the life and works of Jane Austen.  It produces an annual publication Transactions, and members also receive seasonal newsletters – and there are events.  More information on the Midlands home page 

The William Barnes Society
William Barnes (1801 – 1886) was born in Bagber, North Dorset.  He was a poet who wrote mainly in the Dorset dialect but also in national English.  He taught himself 60 languages, was a competent engraver, antiquary; linguist and musician playing the flute, violin and piano.  He was a schoolmaster but later registered as a ten year’s man with St John’s College, Cambridge, and was priested in 1848.  Died at Winterborne Came and is buried in the churchyard there. The Society promotes the enjoyment of the poems of William Barnes and knowledge of the man himself and his times.  They aim to nurture the dialect and encourage the reading.  They hold events which include talks, members’ evenings when members read poems both dialect and national English, musical entertainment drawing on Dorset’s rich folk and cultural traditions and an annual service of remembrance.  They produce a bi-annual newsletter which contains articles and information on publications and research related to William Barnes. More information at www.william-barnes-society.org.uk.

The J M Barrie Literary Society

J M Barrie (1860-1937), writer, particularly known for Peter Pan. The Society was set up in May 2017, focussing on exploring Barrie’s textual output rather than biographical fact/fiction. To find out more, visit their website at www.jmbarriesociety.co.uk/, or email them at jmbarriesociety@gmail.com.

The Adrian Bell Society
Adrian Bell (1901-1980), journalist-farmer.  The son of a newspaper editor, born in London and later moved to Suffolk.  Publications include Corduroy, Silver Ley, The Cherry Tree, The Countryman’s Notebook.  One of the finest writers on country matters.  Wrote 24 books between 1930 and 1976, generally based on the country and farming.  Weekly essays in local paper.  These are currently being republished in the same paper. Numerous articles for varied publication.  Compiled 4,520 Times crosswords over a 50 year period. The aim of the Society is to encourage an interest in Adrian Bell’s life and work. Membership is worldwide. It produces two journals and holds two meetings each year (April and October).  There are also various outings. Talks about Bell given to clubs and similar.  More details from Mr M Flynn (Treasurer and Membeship Secretary), 28 Skelton Road, Diss, Norfolk, IP22 4PW.

The Arnold Bennett Society
Arnold Bennett, journalist and writer of fiction. Best known for the Clayhanger trilogy, and The Old Wives’ Tale. The present Society was reformed in 1954 and has members throughout the UK and overseas. It is based in the city of Stoke on Trent, the ‘five towns’ of Bennett.  Their aim is to promote the study and appreciation of the life, works and times, not only of Arnold Bennett himself, but also of other provincial writers, with particular relationship to North Staffordshire. More details on the Society from www.arnoldbennettsociety.org.uk.

The E F Benson Society
E F Benson (1867-1940), prolific writer and best known for his Mapp and Lucia series and ghost stories.  Also wrote biographies and autobiographies, as well as fiction. Formed in 1984, the Society publishes an annual journal, The Dodo, a talk, and organises walks in Rye, an annual visit to Rye, and also visits to places of Benson interest. It gives talks on the Bensons and has organised exhibitions. More detail on the Society from www.efbensonsociety.org.

The Betjeman Society
John Betjeman (1906-1984), poet, writer and broadcaster.  Educated at Magdalen College Oxford, his first book of poems Mount Zion was published in 1931. Knighted in 1969 and Poet Laureate from 1972 until his death in 1984, he is buried in St Enodoc, Daymer Bay, North Cornwall. The Society aims to promote the study and appreciation of the work and life of Sir John Betjeman by bringing together all those who admire his writings and share his enthusiasms. There is an annual programme which includes poetry readings, lectures, discussions, visits to places associated with him, walks, picnics and social events. A regular newsletter is published which gives information about the Society. Our annual journal, The Betjemanian, contains articles, letters, reviews and photographs.  Meetings are held in London and other centres. There is also a growing number of local branches. More details on the Society from www.betjemansociety.com and for more information about the poet from www.johnbetjeman.com.

The Bewick Society
Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), wood engraver and ornithologist.  Works include Select Fables, A General History of Quadrupeds, and History of British Birds. The Society works to promote an interest in the life and work of Thomas Bewick and related subjects, especially with regard to wood engraving.  They produce a newsletter, Cherryburn Times, twice a year, and there are also visits to special collections (some of which are not open to the public). For more detail, visit www.bewicksociety.org

The Blake Society of St James’s
William Blake (1757-1827), poet, painter and engraver. Founded in 1985, the Blake Society encourages a greater appreciation of William Blake’s remarkable artistic achievement through regular meetings with eminent speakers.  They publish a journal each year and this is regarded as a major source of Blake studies.  For more detail, visit www.blakesociety.org.uk

The Robert Bloomfield Society
Robert Bloomfield (1766-1823), poet, best known for The Farmer’s Boy.
The Robert Bloomfield Society was founded in 2000 and aims to serve admirers of this remarkable and unjustly neglected poet through promoting awareness of his life and work.  It acts as a focus for anyone who may have a local, family, academic or general literary interest in the poet. Membership entitles you to participate in the events that the Society organises and to receive its newsletter. The Society hosts an annual Bloomfield Day, and at least one social event, usually involving a visit to locations identified with Bloomfield.  In past years, they have toured Bloomfield’s Suffolk, the Bedfordshire locations where he spent his latter days, and visited the British Library for an introduction to their extensive Robert Bloomfield holdings. To find out more, visit the website at robertbloomfieldsociety.blogspot.com, or by email to sam.ward@ntu.ac.uk. 

The George Borrow Society
George Henry Borrow (1803-1881), writer of novels and travelogues.  His most important works were:  The Zincali, or The Gypsies of Spain; The Bible of Spain; Lavengro; The Romany Rye; Wild Wales; Romano Lavo-lil; Word-book of the Romany. Founded in 1991, the Society works to promote knowledge of the life and works of George Borrow.  Meetings are held each year, usually either close to the date of Borrow’s birth (5 July) or in September. The pattern varies but may include the reading and discussion of papers, visits to sites connected with Borrow, and related social activities.  The Society issues the George Borrow Bulletin twice a year, containing scholarly articles and news of events and publications relating to Borrow. For more detail, visit georgeborrow.org.

The Bronte Society
The Bronte Society is one of the oldest literary societies in the world and is open to everyone who loves the Brontes and their work. The Society owns the Bronte Parsonage Museum in Haworth, where the family lived from 1820 to 1861, and oversees the largest and most important collection of Bronte artefacts in existence. In 2016, they will be celebrating the bicentenary of the birth of Charlotte Bronte (1816 – 1855), with the bicentenaries of Branwell, Emily and Anne Bronte following in 2017, 2018 and 2020 respectively.
To join the Society and to find out more about their exhibitions, contemporary art and education programmes, visit www.bronte.org.uk.

The John Buchan Society
John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir (1875-1940), Scottish novelist.  Works include The Thirty Nine Steps, and Prester John.
Founded in 1979, the Society works to promote a wider understanding and appreciation of the life and works of John Buchan.  There is an annual dinner and AGM, alternately in Scotland and in England. To find out more visit www.johnbuchansociety.co.uk/.

The International John Bunyan Society
John Bunyan (1628 – 1688), writer and preacher, is best known for his allegory of the Christian life, The Pilgrim’s Progress (1678; part two, 1684). This book has been more widely read than any other work in English except the Bible, and has circulated across the world in over 200 languages. A religious Dissenter, Bunyan spent twelve years in goal as a prisoner of conscience before becoming pastor of the Independent Church in Bedford. The Society was founded in 1992 to promote the study of the life, work and influence of Bunyan, and the history of Protestant Dissent more generally. It has members from about a dozen countries and holds a triennial conference and regional day conferences. Membership includes a subscription to Bunyan Studies: A Journal of Reformation and Nonconformist Culture, and an annual Newsletter. Anyone with an interest in Bunyan and in the history of Dissent is warmly invited to join the Society. For more information, visit www.johnbunyansociety.org, or email bob.owens@beds.ac.uk.

The Burney Society
The Burney Society UK exists to promote the works of Frances Burney (1752 – 1840), friends, family and associates. To find our more, visit their website at www.burneysociety.wordpress.com.

The Byron Society

The Byron Society celebrates the life and works of one of England’s most famous poets, George Gordon, Lord Byron (1788 – 1824). They hold regular events in London and occasionally elsewhere. To learn more about them, visit thebyronsociety.com.