About The Society

The Society

The Sylvia Townsend Warner Society was launched in 2000 in Sylvia Townsend Warner’s home town of Dorchester by a group of enthusiasts, who assembled for an inaugural meeting at the Dorchester County Museum. The Society has since grown, and now hosts a variety of events in Dorchester and London. The aim of the Society is to promote a wide readership and a better understanding of the writings of Sylvia Townsend Warner, as well as a sense of community among readers, scholars, and admirers of her work.

The Society regularly organises visits to places connected with Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, including to Norfolk, Dorset, Essex, and Sussex. Each year, the writers’ birthdays are marked with a poetry reading in the churchyard of St. Nicholas, Chaldon Herring.

As well as publishing the Journal and Newsletter, the Society hosts an annual essay competition, the details of which will be posted on this website. The Society has also supported two conferences dedicated to the work of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland, held in Dorchester in 2012 and Manchester in 2019.

The annual Society lecture is held at University College London (UCL). Past speakers include Peter Swaab, Maud Ellmann and Claire Harman. An occasional reading group is also held online, open to everyone. For more information, please contact readingsylviatownsendwarner@gmail.com.

The Sylvia Townsend Warner Society Committee

Chair Janet Montefiore
Membership Secretary Sarah Jane Pattison
Treasurer Vacant
Journal Editor Peter Swaab
Newsletter Editor Kate Macdonald
Website Editor Hannah Berry


To contact the Society, please send an email to info@townsendwarner.com and we’ll reply within a few days.


To join the Society, please contact us on sarahjanepattison1@gmail.com for further instructions. Yearly membership fees are as follows:

UK individual – £18.00 (student / unwaged £12.00)
UK joint – £20.00 (student / unwaged £15.00)
Overseas individual – £28.00 (student / unwaged £20.00)
Overseas joint – £30.00 (student / unwaged £22.00)

The Archive

The archive of Sylvia Townsend Warner and Valentine Ackland is rich and comprehensive. It is held at the Dorset History Centre in Dorchester, and is available to view by appointment. Please check their website for up-to-date information or to view the collection online. Please contact archives@dorsetcouncil.gov.uk for further details.

There is currently no online catalogue available and access to the collection is via staff, so enquirers are requested to be patient as locating items can take time. The Dorset History Centre hopes to catalogue, conserve and selectively digitise this important archive, thereby providing the level of detail and context that such a collection merits. Such a project will be reliant upon external funding.

We are a member of the Alliance of Literary Societies.

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