Meet the President

4 April 2023
We had a lively and engaging evening with our new president, James Naughtie, via Zoom.  We certainly experienced his breadth of reading, love for literature and music, and his wonderful storytelling abilities. Questions ranged from which writer of the past would you like to spend an evening with (Dickens) to which character in Alice in Wonderland would you identify with (the White Rabbit)? Jim will be attending our 50th anniversary AGM weekend, hosted by the Charlotte M. Yonge Fellowship, in Winchester and will be signing copies of his new book, The Spy Across the Water, for ALS members on Saturday, 22 April

ALSO the Journal

Deadline of May 1st to submit for the 2023 Journal.  This year’s title is:
‘BETTER DROWNED THAN DUFFERS’: Adventures by Land, Sea, Air and Imagination.
Riding a fighting bear in the Arctic, flying to Neverland, disappearing down a rabbit hole, travelling with Johnson and Boswell in the Hebrides, sailing with the Swallows and Amazons, crossing the Alps on foot…the possibilities are endless. Please sharpen your pencils and tell us about your writers’ adventures in reality or on the page. We welcome articles of around 1,000 words, presented as Word documents (please see our style sheet on the publications tab) and sent to

Now We Are 50!

Our first foray into Zoom (January 31st) went well with around 40 people representing nearly 30 societies experiencing the ALS ‘Free For All’. Feedback was extremely positive, many good connections were made and we have more events planned for our Anniversary Year. One Society even gained a new Secretary! Keep your eyes open on the website and via our Newsletter for the next exciting installment.

Kathleen Adams, secretary of the George Eliot Fellowship, wrote a letter to The Times in July 1973, when one of the childhood homes of Charles Dickens in Chatham was under threat, to urge the formation of an alliance of literary societies. Here we are, 50 years on, with over 100 societies ranging from Margery Allingham to Emile Zola, representing about 50,000 readers. In our golden anniversary year we hope to be offering you several special events.  Watch this space!

Introducing our new president: James Naughtie

We are delighted to announce, at the start of our 50th anniversary year, that James Naughtie is our new president. An eminent BBC journalist, he co-presented the Today programme from 1994 to 2015, with a particular focus on political reporting and US elections.  He is now a Special Correspondent for BBC News. Books are one of his passions and he has presented BBC Radio 4’s Bookclub programme since its inception in 1997. He has chaired both the Man Booker and Samuel Johnson judging panels.  He is the author of several books, most recently, On the Road: Adventures from Nixon to Trump. In March his new novel, The Spy Across the Water, will be published.