The study and appreciation of the life, works and times of Arnold Bennett

About the Society

The current society was founded in 1954 in Stoke on Trent, the setting for his Five Town Novels and the majority of our members live in the UK, but we also have member in Australia, Turkey, Italy, India, America and Japan.

The Society’s aim since 1954 is to promote the study and appreciation of the life, works and times – not only of Arnold Bennett himself – but also of other provincial writers, with particular relationship to North Staffordshire.

A selection of Arnold Bennett novels has been re published by Churnet Valley Books

Please click on the Books link above for further details.

Also details on how to purchase copies of our Conference Papers.


Meet the Team

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Mary Beardmore

Position:Vice President

Mary Beardmore – Vice President

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Dr Catherine Burgass

Position:Chair of the Society

Dr Catherine Burgass – Chair of the Society

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Mrs Fiona Cole

Position:Membership Secretary

Fiona Cole is the Membership Secretary

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Dr Randi Saloman – Wake Forest College, Winston Salem, NC. U.S.A.

Position:Editor the Society Newsletter

Dr Randi Saloman is the Editor of the Society Newsletter

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Dr Les Powner – Chairman

Dr Catherine Burgass

Mr Kevin Burke

Mrs Carol Gorton

Mr Tim Gray

Mr Ray Johnson MBE

Mrs Morag Jones

Mr Jerry Park

Christopher Sandrawich



Dr Leslie Powner

Position:Vice Chairman of the Committee

Dr Les Powner is an Honorary Research Fellow Keele University

His email address is:

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Mrs Carol Ann Gorton

Position:Hon Secretary

Carol Ann Gorton has been Hon Secretary of the society for a number of years and her email address is



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Kevin J Burke

Position:Hon Treasurer

Kevin Burke is an accountant and is Hon Treasurer of the Arnold Bennett Society

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Other members

Position:Other committee members

Fiona Cole

Carole Cregan

John Davies

John Shapcott – Honorary Research Fellow Keele University





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Overseas committee members

Position:Overseas Committee Members

Professor Chitose Ikawa – Hitotsubashi University, Tokyo, Japan

Dr Randi Saloman – Wake Forest College, Winston Salem, NC. U.S.A.

The Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trent


The current Lord Mayor of Stoke on Trent is Patron of the society during their year of office

Denis Eldin – Arnold Bennett’s Grandson


Denis Eldin is Arnold Bennett’s grand-son and lives in Paris.  He is a frequent visitor to Stoke on Trent.  This picture was taken at the 2016 annual dinner, held at Port Vale Football Club Banqueting Suite.

Margaret Drabble

Position:Vice President

Dame Margaret Drabble, Lady Holroyd DBE FRSL.

Margaret is a novelist, biographer and critic.  She is the author of “Arnold Bennett a biography“.

Jacques Eldin

Position:Vice President

Jacques is Arnold Bennett’s son-in-law and was married to Virginia, his only daughter.

This picture was taken when a plaque was unveiled at Villa les Nefliers, Fontainebleau, France, the home of Arnold Bennett while he was writing The Old Wives’ Tale.  The picture features Jacques in the garden with Gyles Brandreth.

Professor Ray Johnson

Position:Vice President

Professor Ray Johnson was the Film Heritage and Documentary Professor at Staffordshire University prior to retiring in 2014.  Founder of the Staffordshire Film Archive in 1980.  Ray was awarded the MBE in 2011.

John Shapcott

Position:Vice President

John Shapcott is an Honorary Research Fellow, at the Research Institute for the Humanities at Keele University, and is an ex chairman of the Society.