The Royal Society of Literature has elected Marina Warner as its first female president
Marina Warner has been elected the RSL’s 19th, and first female, President, to replace Colin Thubron. She will be President Elect until the election is ratified at the RSL’s AGM of Fellows on 19 June.
Warner commented: "It is a huge honour and a great surprise to become President of the RSL. Literature has been my life – reading, writing, listening. I believe it matters to all of us, as individuals and in our relations with one another, now and stretching back into the past.
"These are strange, uneasy times. Ursula LeGuin is right when she says, ‘Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.’ The RSL has been committed ever since it was founded in 1820 to furthering the making, reading, discussion and enjoyment of literature in all its variety. I am proud - and touched - to become the first woman to be entrusted with the Presidency. Literature matters, now more than ever."
Chair of the RSL, Lisa Appignanesi, added: "It is both an honour and a delight to have the great Marina Warner take on the mantle of the RSL Presidency. She is a woman of resonant imagination and intelligence, as well as a writer of the highest distinction. I know she will guide the RSL to new heights as we move towards our bicentenary in 2020."
Marina Warner is a novelist, short-story writer, historian and mythographer. She is known for her many non-fiction books relating to feminism, myth and fairy tales. Her award-winning books include Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth and the Cult of the Virgin Mary (1976), Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism (1982), From the Beast to the Blonde (1994) , Stranger Magic: Charmed States and the Arabian Nights (2011), and Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale (2014). In l994 she gave the BBC Reith Lectures on the theme of ‘Six Myths of Our Time’. Her third novel, The Lost Father (1988), was shortlisted for the Booker prize, and in 2000 The Leto Bundle was longlisted.