Who we are
The Dorothy L Sayers Society was founded in 1976 to promote the study of the life, works and thoughts of this great scholar and writer, to encourage the performance of her plays and the publication of books by and about her, to preserve original material for posterity and to provide assistance for researchers. It acts as a forum and information centre, putting members in touch with other workers and sources of information, and providing for study purposes material not otherwise available. It holds an annual seminar convention of which the proceedings are published, and commemorates the name of Dorothy L Sayers with plaques and notices as opportunity offers. We are privileged to count among our members a number of people who knew DLS; our president Dr Barbara Reynolds has published a number of books about her, most recently a collection of her letters.
There is no entrance qualification beyond an appreciation of her works. The Society is registered as a charity and is run by voluntary effort. There is a small subscription to cover expenses, set at the annual general meeting in November. Details of how to join are given below.
The list of over 1200 items held by the Society, most of which can be copied for members’ research and study, is sent free to new members on request for the cost of postage. Six bulletins per year, with news and plans for events, are sent free to all members. Any other material is sent surface mail unless otherwise requested, and is invoiced accordingly.
Apart from its routine services to members, the activities of the Society have included, among much else:
- saving DLS’ Witham home from demolition and getting it restored as private residences.
- setting up the DLS Centre within the Witham Library next door to her home, to hold a collection of her works and Society material (contact the Centre for details of the opening hours).
- being instrumental in the commissioning of a bronze statue by John Doubleday which now stands opposite the Witham library.
- holding on the thirtieth and fortieth anniversaries of her death a memorial service at St Anne’s Soho, where her ashes are laid, and where we have installed a tablet.
- presenting a copy of the Hutchison portrait now in the National Portrait Gallery.
- celebrating Lord Peter Wimsey’s birth centenary with a peal of bells at Terrington St Clement; a visit to L’École des Roches in Normandy; the presentation to Balliol College of his portrait by Rod Munro; a garden party in Witham; luncheons in New York and at the Park Lane Hotel (110a Piccadilly, London) and the opening of the Lord Peter Wimsey Suite at the hotel; and the publishing of the tributes from other crime writers in “Encounters With Lord Peter”.
- celebrating the centenary of Dorothy’s birth with a new copper beech tree at Bluntisham Rectory to replace the one she knew, destroyed in a storm; commemorative plaques there and at 1 Brewer Street, Oxford, her birthplace; a musical reception in the Lord Mayor’s Parlour in Oxford; centenary celebrations at Mainz in Germany and Madison, Wisconsin; a production of “The Zeal of Thy House” in Canterbury Cathedral; the laying of a memorial stone on her parents’ hitherto unmarked grave at Christchurch, Cambs; and numerous luncheons, dinners and talks.
- celebrating the 21st birthday of the Society at the Park Lane Hotel, with a tea party and readings from a wide range of DLS’s works.
- supporting the 2004 republication of all of the Wimsey novels with many events, including a peal of bells at Terrington St Clement to mark the 70th anniversary of the publication of The Nine Tailors.
- recent annual conventions have been held at Exeter University, Somerville College Oxford, University College Durham, University of East Anglia in Norwich, Keele University, St Mary’s College, Strawberry Hill, Oriel College Oxford, Wheaton College, Illinois (in 1997 and again in 2007), Newnham College Cambridge, Whitelands College, Roehampton, Writtle College, Chelmsford, University College, Chichester, Royal Holloway College, London, Loughborough University, Christ Church, Oxford, York University, Girton College Cambridge and University of Surrey.
- visits have included Normandy, the Marne and Somme battlefields, Bramshill Police College, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Dartmoor, Galloway, Lingfield Park racecourse, the Finchcocks Collection of Keyboard Instruments in Kent, and the wartime code-breaking centre at Bletchley Park.
- lecture tours in Sweden, Germany and the Netherlands.
- making annual awards for young musicians and actors.
- competitions for carol settings, short stories and artistic designs.
- the first public reading of several of her poems, including a dramatised version of “The Mocking of Christ”.
- presenting some of the ground-breaking play cycle The Man Born to be King.
The Society hopes that by its light future generations will enjoy and profit from the writings of Dorothy L Sayers.
|Chair, Witham Liaison||Seona Ford *|
|Vice Chair||Geraldine Perriam *|
|Hon. Secretary (Membership)||Lenelle Davis *|
|Hon. Secretary (Bulletin)||Jasmine Simeone *|
|Hon. Treasurer||Brian Ogilvie *|
|Publications||Gillian Thumpston *|
|Archivist||Alison Hall *|
|Sound Archives, Webmaster||Richard Birkett *|
|Convention Administration||Simon Medd *|
|Wheaton Liaison||Marjorie Mead (co-opted)|
|Without portfolio||Christine Simpson *, Petra Birkett *, Margaret Sangster *|
How to JoinThere is lots more to discover about this exciting Society and the books of Dorothy L Sayers, but you really need to take the plunge and join us to discover the friendship and/or scholarly support we can offer.
You may pay your initial (and annual renewal) subscription in a number of ways:
- by Pound Sterling cheque. This should be drawn on a UK bank, made payable to The Dorothy L Sayers Society, and sent to the Membership Secretary (see the contacts page for the correct postal address).
- for UK members only, by standing order.
- by credit or debit card directly from this web site.
Note: Please do NOT send us your credit or debit card number by email or post! Whilst we can process your payment this way, it is much less secure than using the online payment page, and we reserve the right to charge an additional handling fee.
When you join, you will be sent some further information about forthcoming meetings and general literature about recent and forthcoming Society matters - how to obtain archive materials and so on. You will indeed be made most welcome!
SubscriptionThe membership year runs from January to December. Those joining from July onwards receive membership for the current year and the following year at a discounted combined rate: from July to September, this is 150% of the current full annual rate; from October to December, it’s 125% of the current full annual rate. The calculation is made automatically on our online payment page.
At the AGM in October 2012, we announced that postage costs have now risen so far that we are now encouraging members to receive their Bulletin online (as a PDF downloadable from the web site), and that the cost of a subscription will be lower for those who do. For those who prefer to receive a Bulletin by post, the prices vary by country, according to the following table.
|Online Bulletin||Bulletin by post|
|Single ordinary membership||Worldwide: £18.00||UK: £20.00
Rest of World: £26.00
|Family membership (any number at same address)|
|Under-25 membership (online only)||Worldwide: £9.00|
Please note that, if you wish to pay in any currency other than Pound Sterling, your only option is to use a credit or debit card. We do not accept cash or cheques in any other currency.
Gift Aid: UK Tax payers can increase the value of their subscriptions to the Society at no extra cost to themselves, by authorising us to reclaim the tax you have already paid on your subscription. To do this, please send us a completed Gift Aid form (download as Word or PDF).