Date of this Version
The George Eliot Review 35 (2004)
The Fellowship year always begins with the Annual General Meeting and in 2003 we amended our Constitution to exclude our Vice Presidents from the management team. This was because the Charity Commission rule that all members of the Fellowship Council are automatically trustees of the charity, and are unable to receive any payment from the Fellowship. This meant that we could not pay any of them for lectures, readings etc - an unacceptable situation. All the Vice Presidents were happy with this decision and we still keep them closely in touch with our affairs through the Minutes of the Council's meetings. Another feature of the AGM was the Chairman's wish to stand down at the 2004 AGM when he would have reached the age of eighty, but as no one seems willing to take over from him, he is still going on and it seems that the Fellowship Council don't want to part with him anyway.
After the business meeting Michael Harris gave us a very amusing talk on 'Beaks in Books'; there are some very funny magistrates in fiction.
The Alliance of Literary Societies, to which the Fellowship is affiliated, held its AGM in Swansea in April with the Dylan Thomas Society as hosts. Dylan Thomas's daughter Aeronwy was with us as President of the Society and it was an added pleasure to meet her and hear about her childhood in that strange family. 2003 was the thirtieth anniversary of the foundation of the ALS and a presentation was made to me as its founder in 1973; it has grown a lot in those thirty years. The Chairman and I represented the Fellowship and were pleased to meet two other Fellowship members there; we are always sorry not to see more as it is so interesting to meet members of many other literary societies as well as to take part in the various activities organized for us by the host society.
Gabriel Woolf and Rosalind Shanks made their annual visit on 10 April with yet another theme for this ever popular programme of readings. This year it was based on 'Workaday World' - fascinating material beautifully presented and with a capacity audience.
The George Eliot Day on 10 May was entitled 'Daniel Deronda on Page and Film' and the film part was to have been a talk by the producer of the BBC TV film Louis Marks. Unfortunately, Louis Marks was prevented from coming. The entire afternoon had been allocated to this coverage of the TV adaptation seen the previous November but, rather than cancel the Day, our good friends Gabriel Woolf and Rosalind Shanks again came to our rescue. Gabriel put together a programme of readings from the novel and also compared scenes in the film with George Eliot's version. Again a lovely and interesting presentation and one for which we felt most grateful. I am sure no other literary society has such a wonderful asset as these two gifted actors who do so much for us and, even more importantly, for George Eliot.