F to H

The Ford Madox Ford Society
Ford Madox Ford (1873-1939), novelist, poet, critic and editor. Best remembered for the Good Soldier and the Parade’s End tetralogy. The society was founded in 1997 to promote knowledge of and interest in Ford.  They organise an active programme of events. For more information on the Society, visit www.fordmadoxfordsociety.org

The C S Forester Society
C S Forester (1899 – 1966) is one of the great writers of the 20th c. His novels are distinguished by the famous Hornblower stories and by ‘The African Queen’ and many other works that are a pleasure to explore. He was born in Cairo, brought up in south London, and, in his early life, he was both a failed medical student and also the archetypal struggling young writer until his first success, ‘Payment Deferred’.

The Society was established in 1998 to “celebrate and promote the enjoyment of his literary works”. Their website offers much information about his publications and contains many contributions from its members in its ‘Reflections’ articles. They hold an AGM at varying locations, usually associated with places written about in his books. In recent years, these have included Stockholm, Greenwich, Brest and Dover. Membership of the Society is free. Find out more at csforester.eu.

The Gaskell Society
Elizabeth Cleghorn Gaskell (1810-1865), nee Stevenson, was raised in Knutsford, Cheshire, before her marriage to a Manchester Unitarian Minister in 1832. The death of her only son inspired her to write and dickens invited her to contribute to his magazine.  Her home at Plymouth Grove was visited by many famous people from 1850 to her early death. Formed in 1985, in Knutsford, the Society works to promote and encourage the study and appreciation of the work and life of this Victorian author of Cranford, Mary Barton, North and South, Wives and Daughters, Silvia’s Lovers, as well as numerous short stories, and biography of Charlotte Bronte. To arrange associated visits and encourage republication of her works.  Bi-annual conference. For more information, visit www.gaskellsociety.co.uk.

A Ghostly Company
Formed in 2004, it takes its name from the classic 1932 ghost story collection by H R Wakefield, and provides opportunities for like-minded enthusiasts to meet at appropriate locations around the country. Previously, the Ghost Story Society and Ghosts and Scholars had organised conventions in Chester and Rochester but had then decided to devote their energies entirely to publishing. Hence the foundation of the Company. They are an informal, non-profit-making literary society devoted to the study of the ghost story in all its forms. To learn more visit the website at www.aghostlycompany.org.uk

The Robert Graves Society
Robert Graves (1895 – 1985) was the author of some 140 books of poetry, fiction, biography, criticism, anthropology, social history, mythology, biblical studies, translation, and children’s books. The Society was launched in 1995. Its membership consists of both experts and interested lay people, including literary scholars, historians, classicists, archaeologists, biblical scholars, bibliographers, editors, writers and translators, besides of course general readers of his books. To find out more, visit our website at www.robertgraves.org/rg-society/

The Graham Greene Birthplace Trust
Henry Graham Greene (1904-1991), novelist, short story writer, playwright, screenwriter, travel writer, and critic.  Greeene combined serious literary acclaim with wide popularity. Works include Brighton Rock, The Quiet American, Our Man in Havana, The Man Within, Stamboul Train. The Trust aims to promote the appreciation and study of the works of Graham Greene, and is based in Berkhampsted, his birthplace. More detail from www.grahamgreenebt.org.

The Fulke Greville Society
Fulke Greville, 1st Baron Brooke, de jure 13th Baron Latimer, and 5th Baron Willoughby de Broke (1554-1628), Elizabethan poet, dramatist and statesman. His poetry consists of closet tragedies, sonnets and political/moral subjects. Work include the Life of the Renowned Sir Philip Sidney, Alaham, Mustapha. For more information on the Society, contact Anthony Astbury, 6 Mellors Court, the Butts, Warwick, CV34 4ST.

The Thomas Hardy Society
Thomas Hardy (1840-1928), is most famous for novels such as Far From the Madding Crowd, The Return of the Native, The Mayor of Casterbridge, and Tess of the d’Urbervilles, but he also published 947 poems; the epic poetic drama, The Dynasts, based on the Napoleonic Wars; and nearly fifty short stories. The Society, based in Hardy’s native Dorset, was founded in 1968. It is dedicated to advancing ‘education in the works of Thomas Hardy by promoting in every part of the world appreciation and study of these works’. The Society is for anyone interested in Hardy’s writings, life and times. Among its members are many distinguished literary and academic figures, and many more who love and enjoy Hardy’s work sufficiently to wish to meet fellow enthusiasts and develop their appreciation of it. It arranges regular events throughout the year, as well as a biennial conference and festival, and publishes three journals each year. For more information, visit www.hardysociety.org.

The John Harris Society
John Harris (1820-1884) was a Cornishman, poet, miner and Methodist preacher … and much more. Born in Bolenowe, near Troon, he had 15 volumes of poems and an autobiography published. He was largely self-taught and used discarded wrappers to write with the aid of Blackberry juice and a nail. While working at Dolcoath, he read Shakespeare, Milton and Byron. The Society publishes a regular newsletter, and organises walks and tours where they read his poems. For more information, visit http://www.johnharrissociety.org.uk/

The Hazlitt Society
The Hazlitt Society is dedicated to the writer, journalist and critic, William Hazlitt (1778 – 1830). It grew out of a campaign to restore Hazlitt’e long-neglected grave in St Anne’s churchyard in Soho. The Society has also been involved with the Hazlitt Day Schools, at St Catherine’s College, Oxford, and which now run alongside the annual lecture at UCL. Members receive an annual newsletter and The Hazlitt Review. For more information, visit their website at www.ucl.ac.uk/hazlitt-society.

The James Hilton Society
James Hilton (1900-1954), novelist and scriptwriter.  Author of Lost Horizon, Random Harvest, Goodbye Mr Chips. Eight of his novels were made into films. The aims of the Society are to promote interest in the life and works of James Hilton. We publish a quarterly newsletter and an annual scholarly journal, and organise conferences and meetings. For more information visit www.jameshiltonsociety.co.uk.

The Historical Novel Society
Founded in 1997, the Society promotes all aspects of historical fiction. They provide support and opportunities for new writers, information for students, booksellers and librarians; and a community for authors, readers, agents and publishers. They publish a quarterly magazine, Historical Novels Review, and a twice yearly mazine Solander. There are also conferences in the UK and the USA.  For more information visit www.historicalnovelsociety.org.

The Sherlock Holmes Society of London
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – “patriot, physician & man of letters”, to quote the inscription on his gravestone. But the Society’s principal interest is less in the author (who was a remarkable and in many ways a great man) than in the characters he created, specifically Sherlock Holmes and John H Watson of 221B Baker Street. Founded in 1951, the Society is open to anyone with an interest in Sherlock Holmes, Dr John H Watson, and their world. It is a literary and social Society, publishing a scholarly Journal and occasional papers, and holding meetings, dinners and excursions. For more information visit their website at www.sherlock-holmes.org.uk or contact their Press and Publicity Officer at shj@btinternet.com.

The Hopkins Society
Gerard Manley Hopkins, priest and poet (1844 – 1889) was a Victorian poet but his work is emphatically not confined by his era.  He loved the beauty of nature, which he saw as directly related to the glory of God. In his poetry he piles metaphors, consonants and sprung rhythms together to produce uniquely beautiful, disturbing and often painful poetry. He was unregarded in his own lifetime but his insights into the natural world and man’s place in it are deeply relevant to the 21st c and his poetry has heart breaking beauty. The Hopkins Society has been studying and celebrating Hopkins for more than 20 years. They have strong links with St Beuno’s Jesuit Spirituality Centre in Tremeirchion where Hopkins spent his happiest years training for the Jesuit priesthood. They welcome all those who love his poetry – whether or not it is understood! The Society holds workshops on the history, context, structure and performance of his poetry, visits to places connected to Hopkins and an annual lecture. For more information, visit their website at www.hopkinssociety.co.uk.

The Housman Society
Alfred Edward Housman (1859-1936) was a poet of great popularity and widespread influence.  He was a Latin scholar of the front rank and his influence is still felt today. Founded in 1973, the Society aims to promote knowledge and appreciation of the lives and works of A E Housman and other members of his family. It produces two newsletters and one journal per year, and sponsors an annual lecture at Hay on Wye. For more information, visit www.housman-society.co.uk.

The Howdenshire Literary Society

The Society has recently been formed to promote classical literature and poetry. Lectures in future months will reflect this emphasis. Meetings will be on Friday evenings by invitation. To find out more, contact gbloom@outlook.com.