Ruth Rendell at the ALCS
Posted by jonathanfryer on Thursday, 25th November, 2010
Baroness Rendell, peer of the realm and peerless writer of mystery/murder stories was the guest speaker at the AGM of the Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society (ALCS) at the Clothmakers’ Hall on the edge of the City this evening. Though the organisation now has over 80,000 members — allegedly making it the biggest writers’ association in the world — fortunately only a few hundred turn up to the annual meetings, these days held in alternate years in London and the provinces. ALCS now distributes well over £20 million in royalties to authors each year — from photocopying and other rights — which doesn’t go all that far, but I can tell you, as someone who earns most of his bread and butter from his ‘pen’, it helps. After the administrative and financial reports, there is always a guest speaker, but Ruth Rendell broke with precedent by talking entirely off the cuff — a rather charming ramble along the past 47 years of her publishing life, through to her love of the London Underground. No dead bodies or unseemly messes were left at the end, disappointingly, but as ever on these occasions, the canopés were rather fine.