A Literary Society to Call Your Own…

This was the only book I could physically locate with "literary society" in the title--inconceivable!
This was the only book I could physically locate with “literary society” in the title–inconceivable!

When you hear or read the phrase “literary society,” what are your first thoughts? Do visions of Victorian parlors, with wainscoted walls and lots of embroidered pillows, dance through your head? And are those visions populated with an abundance of women? Do you see dead authors? Dead flowers?

I searched high and low for possible business-related “threads” to weave into a literary keepsake. I wanted to gift my business amigos with a bookish abode just for them. Alas, I found not even one literary society dedicated to the reading and discussing of business literature!

Sadly, I had no choice but to fill this blog post with suggested literary societies for the general population. But I remain in search of literary sanctuary for business professionals.

There’s something here for everyone who reads for pleasure, guaranteed. Gentlemen, I’ll start with the unexpected, so I don’t lose your attention too soon. Ladies, please be patient; there’s good stuff here for y’all as well…

Read Long and Prosper with the World Science Fiction Society: I think it’s appropriate (in a time-warped kind of way) that the home page of this literary society’s website hasn’t been updated since 1/30/13. Because…that’s how this genre rolls.

I suspect the organization’s leadership focuses mostly on two related events: the Hugo Awards (science-fiction achievement awards) and the World Science Fiction Convention (better known as Worldcon). To become a WSFS member, you must first register for an upcoming Worldcon, regardless of location.

Attempting a better explanation would be foolish of me. If you have interest, read the membership blurb. Then swim at your own risk via the Worldcon page, which seems quite current (as of 8/25/15). Boldly go where many (men, I’m sure) have gone before…

If You Prefer Literature with Some Bite, Join the Dracula Society: Spoiler alert: This literary society’s hub is in London (England). But that shouldn’t stop you from joining if Bram Stoker’s Dracula holds a prized position in your bookcase.

There is no call to action more persuasive than this minor blood transfusion on the Dracula Society’s About Us page:

“We cater for lovers of ‘the vampire and his kind’–werewolves, reanimated mummies, mad scientists and their creations, and all the other monsters spawned by the Gothic genre.”

The organization was originally founded in 1973 as inspiration for traveling to Dracula’s alleged homeland, Transylvania. The Dracula Society still organizes trips to Gothic-flavored venues, but the focus is on its London-based meetings.

Membership does include a subscription to the organization’s quarterly magazine, Voices from the Vaults. For a hauntingly good time, and potential motivation to travel abroad, consider joining the Dracula Society.

In need of further persuading? Be advised that the long-departed American king of campy horror films, Vincent Price, is an honorary life member.

The Golden Crown Literary Society Gives Lesbian Literature the Royal Treatment: Lest you make any assumptions regarding the Golden Crown Literary Society and its raison d’être:

“The Golden Crown Literary Society (GCLS) is a 501(c)3 non-profit, volunteer organization whose mission is education and the promotion and recognition of lesbian literature.”

This forward-thinking organization offers individual and business memberships. Both membership levels provide access to a community of “authors, readers, publishers, and booksellers.” You can even create and maintain your own blog on the GCLS site–fantastic!

I encourage you to check out the Quick Links box (on the Home page) and learn more about the GCLS’s annual conference. You have all kinds of time to register for the 2016 conference in Washington, D.C.

(Gentlemen authors and readers in a homosexual relationship: Where the heck is YOUR literary society, hmm?!?)

JASNA Is for (Barely) Tolerable Ladies (And the Prideful Gents They Attract): Guilty reveal: As an amateur Janeite, I’ve been eyeballing the Jane Austen Society of North America for years. But I still haven’t secured the appropriate online introduction; “Good God, Willoughby.”

Don’t let your first impressions (a sly reference, dear reader) of JASNA’s website lull you into false Sense and Sensibility (originally entitled Elinor and Marianne).

Even if your closest encounter with Miss Austen’s novels consists of multiple viewings of the BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice TV serial, don’t pass up the opportunity to meet other nearby Janeites. There are 75 regional JASNA groups scattered across the U.S. and Canada; see what’s available in your state!

Membership has its Regency-era privileges, including a subscription to the JASNA newsletter, a copy of JASNA’s annual journal, your invite to the society’s annual General Meeting, and more.

I cordially invite you to visit JASNA before Jane Austen’s birthday (December 16th). Please remember to leave your (virtual) calling card…

More “Dead Authors Societies” for Your Consideration: Why should the Jane Austen juggernaut consume all the literary oxygen in this post? Yes, I readily admit my Austen obsession. But there are plenty of established literary societies inspired by well-known authors other than Miss Austen.

Here’s a cobbled-together smorgasbord of literary organizations dedicated to deceased scribblers:

The Lewis Carroll Society of North America (Perhaps you were expecting this society to name-drop “Cheshire Cat” or “Mad Hatter” or “Queen of Hearts”…)

The Dickens Fellowship (Per David Copperfield: “Reading was my only and my constant comfort.”)

The Emily Dickinson International Society (My honest opinion: The EDIS newsletter should be named “Belle Letters from Amherst”…)

The Kipling Society (Please tell me you’ve at least heard of Rudyard Kipling’s The Jungle Book, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi, Kim…)

The Tolkien Society (Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit are so 21st-century hot!)

The H. G. Wells Society (If you’ve seen the 1960s film The Time Machine, it’s about time you read the book.)

A Hodgepodge List of Literary Societies–One Eclectic Mishpocheh: You won’t believe some of the organizations waiting to share their love of a particular genre or author with you. I decline to reveal all my research sources, but there’s no denying you’ll be intrigued by this next compilation of literary societies.

Here we go, gentle readers:

Electronic Literature Organization (For those of you who read by Kindle, by Nook, and so on.)

Guys Read (It’s actually an online literacy program for boys, but I’m enamored with the organization’s name and had to share…)

Irish Literary Society (AKA “Yeats Gonne Wilde”–Blarney Stone chips and Guinness pints sold separately.)

Literary Death Match (It’s less of a society, and more of a “grueling” competition–check it out!)

The Marxist Literary Group (Because socialists need an online home too…)

The International Wizard of Oz Club (And no one will ask you: Are you a good witch or a bad witch?)

To learn more about the many literary societies affiliated with American colleges and universities, kindly peruse this Wikipedia entry (and its l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g list). Another extensive (and exhaustive–or is it exhausting?) source of literary societies is the UK-based Alliance of Literary Societies.


Have you ever been a member of a literary society? If so, why did you join, and what was the experience like? Which of the literary societies suggested here appeal to you? As a result of reading this post, might you take a walk on the literary-society side?

As mentioned previously, I searched and searched and searched, but could not find a literary organization geared toward business authors and readers. Anyone interested in forming a coalition of the willing to create one? South Jersey yearns for a literary society of some type; it might as well be business related.

I already thought of a possible name: the Society of Business & Entrepreneurial Readers (aka SOBER–you love it, don’t you?).

Lori Shapiro is the owner of By All Writes LLC, a business-to-business (B2B) writing, editing, and research company in Marlton, New Jersey. She revels in shielding her clients from the pain of writing their own print or web marketing and educational copy. Please call Lori Shapiro at 856-810-9764 or e-mail By All Writes LLC at lori@byallwrites.biz  for a no-obligation project quote today!

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