The Royal Literary Fund and the Perils of Authorship

By admin

David Williams

Please see below for details of a symposium and evening event exploring the history of authorship using the archive of the Royal Literary Fund; these will be held at the British Library on Friday 9th May. I feel that I should declare an interest here (I’m one of the organisers and the most junior of the speakers), but I’m pretty excited by the line-up and think that it should be a really interesting day.

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The Royal Literary Fund and the Perils of Authorship

The British Library Conference Centre

Friday 9th May

10:30-17:45 (followed by a wine reception, then an evening event from 18:30-19:30)

The dissenting minister, philosopher and educationalist David Williams (above) founded the Royal Literary Fund in 1790 in order ‘to withdraw those apprehensions of extreme poverty, and those desponding views of futurity, which lead Genius and Talent from the path of Virtue’, which in practice meant providing confidential financial aid to struggling writers. More than three thousand six hundred writers applied to the Fund prior to 1939, including luminaries such as Samuel Taylor Coleridge, John Clare, Leigh Hunt, Joseph Conrad, Bram Stoker, James Joyce, D.H. Lawrence and Dorothy Richardson, but also hundreds of less familiar figures. Their stories …read more