The British Royal Society of Literature has elected author Marina Warner as its first female president. She succeeds Colin Thubron and will be president-elect until the election is ratified at the Society's annual general meeting of Fellows on June 19. Warner's books include Once Upon a Time: A Short History of Fairy Tale; Stranger Magic: Charmed States & the Arabian Nights; Alone of All Her Sex: The Myth & the Cult of the Virgin Mary; and Joan of Arc: The Image of Female Heroism.
Lisa Appignanesi, chair of the RSL, said: "It is both an honor and a delight to have the great Marina Warner take on the mantle of the RSL Presidency. She is a woman of resonant imagination and intelligence, as well as a writer of the highest distinction. I know she will guide the RSL to new heights as we move towards our bicentenary in 2020."
Warner commented: "Literature has been my life--reading, writing, listening. I believe it matters to all of us, as individuals and in our relations with one another, now and stretching back into the past.... These are strange, uneasy times. Ursula Le Guin is right when she says, 'Resistance and change often begin in art. Very often in our art, the art of words.' The RSL has been committed ever since it was founded in 1820 to furthering the making, reading, discussion and enjoyment of literature in all its variety. I am proud--and touched--to become the first woman to be entrusted with the presidency. Literature matters, now more than ever."