Monday Literary Society


Welcome to the Monday Literary Society. 

Just to let you know in good time about a few changes to the Society that will be in place for our next season in October 2015. Firstly, Catherine Smith will be resigning as Chair due to other work commitments which clash with the Society’s programme. Miriam Moss will be taking over as Chair, with Nick Tucker as Deputy. We now have Jean Dolby as Secretary, and we are also delighted to welcome on to the committee Jane Wright, who has retired from a career in Law, and the author and journalist Beth Miller. 

The committee, as usual, has worked extremely hard to deliver this year’s programme. Despite this, membership numbers continue to be lower than in the past because of the (understandable) trend for cherry picking events, rather than signing up for membership. This obviously impacts on our finances. Income from membership is our core funding – the money we use to pay speakers, technical crew and room hire. Income from guests is an unknown quantity, although pre-selling tickets via the website and Bow Windows bookshop has proved successful, allowing us to calculate more accurately how many guests will attend meetings. 

Each event costs us between £500 and £650, depending on writers’ expenses and whether we require extra technical input. The largest cost is room hire at the already discounted price of £240 per event. It is no longer economically viable for us to continue holding our talks there, so from October all talks will be held at the All Saints Centre, Friar’s Walk, where the cost is considerably lower.  

Unfortunately All Saints are not able to offer the Society Monday nights - and so the talks will be held on the third Tuesday of the month. As the Society can no longer hold meetings on Mondays, keeping Monday in our name is problematic. After much soul-searching, given the long history of the ‘Monday Lit’, we have decided we have to change the Society’s name to The Lewes Literary Society. 

There will be six talks next year rather than seven, in October, November, January, February, March and April. The membership cost will stay at £30 per member per season – or £5 per talk, which I’m sure you’ll agree is still extremely good value. From October, the cost of attending a talk as a guest will rise from £7.50 to £10. This rewards those who take out membership, and still compares favourably to other one-off talks at Charleston and The Brighton Festival. 

We have a great programme developing for you for next season. 

Confirmed speakers (so far) are: 

Tuesday October 20th 2015

The novelist Neel Mukherjee, The Lives of Others, shortlisted for Man Booker & Costa Prizes 2014. 

Tuesday November 24th 2015   

Novelist of the lyrical Mr Loverman, Bernardine Evaristo, who also writes verse fiction, short stories and radio and stage drama.   

Tuesday January 26th 2016   

The comment and features writer Sali Hughes, also Beauty columnist for The Guardian. 

Tuesday February 23rd 2016    

The novelist, short story and screen writer, Mick Jackson. The Underground Man was shortlisted for the Man Booker and Whitbread prizes. 

 Tuesday March 29th 2016

Anthea Bell, Translator of numerous literary works, including W.G. Sebald’s Austerlitz, and many children’s books, including 35 Asterix adventures.  

Please put these dates in your diary!

The website will be renamed in due course. All further information will be available there, as well as confirmed in the new Chair’s letter to you in September.  

We look forward very much to seeing you there at All Saints! 

With best wishes,

The Lewes Literary Society Committee

For more than sixty years, we've been running an annual programme of talks and readings by distinguished speakers from many areas of literary endeavour – novelists, short fiction writers, poets, playwrights, biographers, historians, literary critics, travel writers, as well as illustrators and cartoonists.

Leonard Woolf was president of the Club from 1954 until 1969, and our current presidents are Grace Nichols and John Agard.

We welcome new members, and joining is very simple. You can also buy tickets for individual meetings.

Dear once and prospective members,
It’s my pleasure to tell you about our forthcoming season of talks by renowned writers, and to invite you to renew your membership. As agreed at our last AGM, we’re raising the price of membership to £30 for seven meetings; at less than £5 per meeting, this is still fantastic value. 

‘One-off’ tickets will still be £7.50. Please fill in and return the enclosed form (if you’ve received this by post) or attached form (if you’ve received this by email) and send it, with your cheque, to our Membership Secretary. 

As you may be aware, we are totally reliant on membership and ticket sales, and receive no grants/additional funding. Our costs have risen in recent years. In order to continue running the Monday Lit, we need a core membership to guarantee us an income. Please ask anyone you know locally who loves reading, and who wants to support writers, to consider joining – or to come to specific readings of interest.

We will be putting distinctive postcards in Lewes and surrounding areas, and there will also be posters for each reading. Viva Lewes often interviews our guest writers, which means that everyone in the Lewes area knows about our events, but ‘word of mouth’ and also email and social media are very effective ways of letting others know about our programme…so please, spread the word!

As usual, meetings will start promptly at 8pm. At the first meeting, if you’re collecting your membership card, please aim to arrive between 7.30 and 7.45pm. For subsequent meetings, would all members/those with pre-purchased tickets please arrive by 7.45pm at the latest. After 7.45pm, unless the chamber is full, we’ll have a limited number of tickets for sale on the door. 

Advance tickets will be available from our website, or for sale from Bow Windows Bookshop (175 High Street, Lewes, BN7 1YE).

A warm welcome to our new Secretary, Jean Dolby, a Monday Lit member and ‘avid reader and lover of all things literary.’ Jean has been involved with Charleston since the early eighties. She also has considerable committee experience, and a background in careers guidance and counselling.

We’re thrilled to have a number of very high-profile writers as guest speakers for our 2014/15 programme; their enthusiasm for accepting our invitations shows the enduring appeal of Lewes audiences. Please note the dates carefully;  there will be no December meeting. There will instead be a meeting in May. 

On behalf of the committee, I look forward to welcoming you in October.

With very best wishes,

We now have a facebook page and you can see it here.