“Storytelling is at the heart of who we are as humans – it is how we understand, contextualise, mirror, examine, challenge, entertain and imagine life from multiple experiences and perspectives. We all deserve to be active and equal participants in the production and consumption of literature that is as wide-ranging as ourselves.”

Bernardine Evaristo, President of the Royal Society of Literature

History is in the Making

For our new anthology, History is in the Making, we asked 20 of our current Fellows to tell us about writers from the last 200 years – from when the RSL was founded in 1820 to now – who they would like to have seen nominated for an RSL Fellowship. They’ve written letters to those writers, thought about why they weren’t celebrated by the RSL when they were alive, and shared with you – their readers – why you should be reading them too. 

Remembering these writers is important – those who are famous, and those who you’ve never heard of before. But it’s only part of the work the RSL and literature in the UK needs to do – we’ve also got to build a society that champions literature for everyone. 

To celebrate the launch of the anthology, we are ran a competition for 13 -18-year-olds living in the U.K, asking them to tell us about the writer from the past that most inspires them. You can find the winning entries below or here

I and all the Fellows who’ve written for this anthology hope that it inspires you to read people you’ve never read before, and to write with confidence, knowing that literature is for everyone. 

Molly Rosenberg, Director, Royal Society of Literature  

To request a physical edition, email [email protected].

Read the full History is in the Making Anthology digitally, or read individual articles below

Content warning: This anthology contains strong language, as well as mentions of domestic violence, and suicide.

Watch writing workshops with some of our featured writers

Our foremost thanks go to the RSL Fellows who contributed essays to this anthology, and to the Tara Getty Foundation, the Sutton Place Foundation and the Maria Björnson Memorial Fund for their generous support. Thanks to Splitpixel for designing this publication. Within the RSL team, special thanks to Beth Gallimore and Amanda Demwell for their time and attentions in producing the anthology.