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Starting A Branch

Have you thought of starting a branch of the Dickens Fellowship?

There are currently over 50 branches of the Dickens Fellowship and affiliated societies throughout the world – but there is always room for more!

"I’m not ambitious: once a month meetings for discussion of stories, scholarship, etc.; the occasional outing for a special event; an annual movie night (or two); & some kind of gathering in December with mince pies, wassail, & reading out loud; THAT would be my ideal group."

Extract from an e-mail received from Karen Ellery, who is interested in starting a Dickens Fellowship branch in the Twin Cities area (Minneapolis/St Paul).

Who? The Dickens Fellowship is open to all. To become an autonomous branch of the Fellowship, with an individual charter, groups should aim to have a starting membership of around 20. But several small informal Dickens reading groups exist who are hoping to achieve Branch status when they have attracted sufficient members. Each group needs to include at least one individual member of the Fellowship while it is working towards Branch status. Some Dickens groups arise from a common bond formed at a day/evening class studying 19th century literature or society. Some arise from book groups which meet at a local library. Some are formed by Dickens enthusiasts who already organise festivals or Dickensian events and who want to join a wider network. The most important quality is enthusiasm. Mere ‘twigs’ may develop into branches……..!

Branches of the Dickens Fellowship set their own membership fees and arrange their own programme. We do ask branches to contribute £30 (or $ equivalent) a year towards the central administration costs of the Fellowship.

Where? Some groups meet in private homes, some in local libraries. Educational institutions or churches will often accommodate meetings at little cost. Public libraries are a good place to put up notices with information about your proposal to form a reading group which focuses on Dickens. You might also be able to publicise your plans in a local free newspaper, or get publicity on your local radio.

When? Some groups meet on a fortnightly basis, some only quarterly. The majority of groups meet once a month (with a break in the summer)

How? If you are interested in establishing a branch of the Fellowship, please contact the Joint Hon General Secretaries via the post box.

  • We may be able, using your postcode, to identify someone in your area who is already an individual member of the Dickens Fellowship, and who may be interested in helping to start up a local branch. (We do not release the contact details but we can alert nearby members.)
  • We can put you in touch with the Secretaries of the branches nearest to you, who may offer advice, and inspire you by sending copies of their branch newsletters.
  • We can advertise your appeal for members on this site.

We are currently in touch with individuals who are hoping to establish branches of the Fellowship in the following locations:

UK Southport
USA Minneapolis/St Paul

Once a group achieves branch status, all of its members can enjoy the benefits of belonging to the international Fellowship (as shown on the Membership page) including access to the meetings of other branches and a reduced rate of subscription to The Dickensian.

If you are not already a subscriber, you may wish to subscribe to The Dickensian in order to learn more about Dickens and the activities of the Dickens Fellowship.

We look forward to hearing from you!