Nicola Solomon is the Chief Executive of the Society of Authors, the trade union for all types of writers, illustrators and literary translators, at all stages of their careers. The SoA has been advising individuals and speaking out for the profession for more than a century. Members receive unlimited free advice on all aspects of the profession, including confidential clause-by-clause contract vetting, and a wide range of exclusive offers. The SoA campaigns and lobby on the issues that affect authors and hold a wide range of events across the UK. The SoA also administers grants and prizes to support and celebrate authors at all stages of their careers and administers a number of literary estates, the income from which helps towards all its work. Nicola is a solicitor and a deputy district judge. She is on the boards of the British Copyright Council, the International Authors’ Forum and the European Writers’ Council.
What was the last book you read?
Five Rivers Meet on a Wooded Plain by Barney Norris which was a winner in the recent SoA awards and Zennor in Darkness by Helen Dunmore, a great writer and huge supporter of the SoA who will be sadly missed.
And what did you read it on?
What TV series are you obsessing over right now?
The Handmaid’s Tale: who isn’t? A fantastic adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s brilliant dystopian novel.
Tell us what you do in 20 words.
Advise authors on contracts. Campaign and lobby for better laws. Negotiate with publishers. Run events and build communities for authors.
What is the one thing about your company that we need to know?
The SoA empowers authors. Join us! www.societyofauthors.org/join
What do you like about your job?
I work with lovely and committed people, I get to meet my heroes and I make a difference. What’s not to like?
Which great novel have you tried to read but failed?
I never give up on a book but let’s say I’ve been reading Proust’s In Search of Lost Time for several years.
What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?
A bodger: it’s a tool for sewing legal documents, green tape for court and red tape for barristers’ briefs. They are obsolete now but I’ve done a lot of late note sewing in my team. It’s a physical link with the past in an increasingly digital age.
Who has been your greatest inspiration and why?
Philip Pullman, the SoA’s President. He is such a brilliant writer and stands up fearlessly for causes that matter- getting to the moral heart of the issue in every sentence such as in our campaign for authors to be paid for attending festivals.
What piece of advice would you give first-timers at the Fair?
Read up carefully in advance, plan what you want to see and hear and take advantage of the amazing free advice and seminars. And don’t forget to come and chat to SoA in the Writers’ Block area.