The Dorothy L Sayers Society
Patron: P D James, Baroness James of Holland Park
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
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.
Members may also like to know that a large body of material is held by the
Marion E. Wade Center at
Wheaton College, Illinois.
Apart from its routine services to members, the activities of the Society
have included, among much else:
See also the news page for some recent or forthcoming
events, and the publications page for a
selection of items published by the Society.
- saving DLS' Witham home from demolition and getting it restored as private
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
- 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
Somerville College Oxford,
University College Durham,
University of East Anglia in Norwich,
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,
Christ Church, Oxford,
Girton College Cambridge
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
- 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
There is a photo gallery of recent Society events (set up by Lesley
Simpson, who took many of the photographs in the
The Lord Peter Wimsey Companion)
at Fotopic, where you can
order copies - either as ordinary photos, or printed on various types of
"From one small spark springs up a mighty flare"
(Paradiso, Canto 1)
The Society hopes that by its light future generations will enjoy and profit
from the writings of Dorothy L Sayers.
|President ||Dr Barbara Reynolds
|Chairman, Witham Liaison ||Seona Ford *
|Hon. Secretary (Membership) ||Lenelle Davis *
|Hon. Secretary (Bulletin) ||Jasmine Simeone *
|Hon. Treasurer ||Brian Ogilvie *
|Publications ||Geraldine Perriam *
|Archivist ||Alison Hall *
|Sound Archives, Webmaster ||Richard Birkett *
|Research ||Philip Scowcroft *
|Convention Administration ||Simon Medd *
|Wheaton Liaison ||Marjorie Mead (co-opted)
|Without portfolio ||Jo Short *, Christine Simpson *,
Petra Birkett *
How to Join
There 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
- by Sterling or US Dollar cheque. This should be 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 card directly from this web site. This
method attracts a small additional charge to cover our costs.
Note: Please do NOT send us your credit 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!
The 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.
|Single ordinary membership|
Family membership (any number at same address)
Rest of World: £24.00
Rest of World: £12.00
Please note that we no longer accept US Dollars by any method other than
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.
Copyright © The Dorothy L Sayers Society.
Registered Charity Number 272120