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GAW Constitution

Constitution of the Gay Authors Workshop

1. Name

1.1. The name of the body shall be the Gay Authors Workshop, hereinafter referred to as GAW. It shall be a not-for-profit organisation.

2. Aims and Objectives

2.1. GAW exists to:

a) support LGBT+ writers by providing opportunities for them to meet, read, discuss and develop their work;

b) exchange information between members about how to get their work published and/or performed, including outlets, competitions, style and presentation issues, and production techniques;

c) promote the public enjoyment and appreciation of LGBT+ history, literature and philosophy;

d) ensure that the work of past and present GAW authors remains accessible to future generations.

2.2. In fulfilment of these aims, GAW shall:

a) hold workshop meetings of writers to read and discuss work in progress, and offer mutual support and criticism;

b) organise public readings by GAW writers, and other meetings of relevance to LGBT+ readers and writers;

c) regularly communicate with members, including information to interest to writers and members’ work in progress for discussion and comment;

d) publish work available for sale to the general public under its publishing imprint, Paradise Press;

e) ensure that all work published by GAW is held in a suitable electronic and paper archive.

2.3. GAW will not unfairly discriminate on grounds of age, class, colour, disability, ethnic or racial origin, gender identity or reassignment, marital or civil partnership status, maternity or parenthood, nationality, religious or similar belief, sexual orientation or preference, or other irrelevant criterion.

3. Membership

3.1. Membership shall be open to all LGBT+ people who:

a) support the aims and objectives of GAW; and:

b) pay the annual membership fee.

3.2. A prospective member who has contacted the Secretary enquiring about GAW and provided his/her contact details may attend no more than two workshop meetings, at the discretion of the organiser of each meeting, prior to committing to membership.

3.3. Any such person who has attended two workshop meetings must become a member of GAW by paying the annual subscription before attending any further meetings.

3.4. The Secretary shall maintain a list of current members of GAW, additionally recording which of them are members of the Paradise Press Collective, as notified by that Collective.

3.5. All members shall:

a) maintain confidentiality of other members’ personal details;

b) respect other members’ intellectual property rights.

4. General meetings

4.1. The Secretary shall convene an Annual General Meeting, not more than 18 months after the previous AGM.

4.2. The Secretary shall notify all members of GAW of this meeting not less than 35 days in advance.

4.3. Any two members may propose a motion in writing to be put to the meeting, to reach the Secretary not less than 28 days in advance; the Secretary shall circulate motions not less than 21 days before the meeting.

4.4. The AGM shall appoint a person to chair that meeting.

4.5. The AGM shall appoint or elect a GAW Treasurer and Secretary as the minimum two officers the organisation requires, plus any other committee members it thinks fit, to a maximum total committee size of seven.

4.6. The AGM shall receive the annual accounts.

4.7. The AGM shall set subscription fees for the following year.

4.8. The AGM shall receive and note an annual report and accounts from the Paradise Press Collective covering its activities and finances.

4.9. The AGM shall discuss any motions, emergency motions, and amendments to motions put before it; emergency motions shall only cover issues which could not reasonably have been addressed 28 days before the meeting.

4.10. Where it is put to a vote, a motion shall require a simple majority; in the event of a tie, the motion shall be deemed to be lost.

4.11. Members unable to attend an AGM may send postal votes on any motions and in any elections to the Secretary, who shall administer them.

4.12. At other times, a Special General Meeting (SGM) may be called at the request of three GAW members, stating what business they wish the meeting to discuss.

4.13. Proceedings of an SGM shall be convened and conducted according to the same rules as the AGM.

4.14. An SGM shall discuss only the business for which it has been called.

4.15. SGMs and AGMs are responsible for determining the policies of the organisation.

4.16. A quorum for both SGMs and AGMs shall be five paid-up members of GAW present. If an AGM is not quorate, the Secretary shall circulate the Annual Accounts and any formal resolutions within a week to all members, to approve or vote upon by email or post within four weeks.

5. Committee

5.1. The Treasurer and the Secretary shall form, with other Committee members where elected, a Committee responsible for the day-to-day business of the group, providing facilities for GAW members as agreed, and administering the organisation.

5.2. The Committee shall be permitted to co-opt not more than two additional GAW members to serve on the Committee, to fill casual vacancies until the next AGM.

5.3. The Committee is responsible for carrying out the policies determined at General Meetings.

5.4. The Committee shall meet not less than twice a year.

6. Finance

6.1. The Treasurer is responsible for the financial probity of the organisation. To this end, he or she shall maintain proper financial records.

6.2. All cheques or online payments issued by the organisation shall be signed (or the equivalent in the case of online payments) by two authorised signatories, of whom one must be either the Secretary or the Treasurer.

6.3. The Treasurer may authorise expenditure up to £30; the Committee may authorise expenditure between £30 and £200; expenditure over £200 must be authorised by a General Meeting.

6.4. Costs associated with events where the primary purpose is the selling of books shall be the responsibility of the Paradise Press Collective.

6.5. The Treasurer shall present annual accounts at the AGM, which shall be checked and countersigned by at least one other GAW member, not being a Committee member.

7. Paradise Press Collective

7.1. There shall be a Paradise Press Collective, whose function shall be to manage the Paradise Press publishing imprint and publications produced under that imprint.

7.2. The Collective shall comprise all paid-up members of GAW who:

a) are the authors or editors of works that have been published by or accepted for publication by Paradise Press; or who function in a supporting office for Paradise Press, such as editor, publicist, marketing manager or sales co-ordinator; and:

b) pay such fees as shall be determined by the Collective; and:

c) agree to play a full part in the administration of Paradise Press to the best of their abilities and according to their circumstances; and

d) agree to promote the work of the whole Paradise Press Collective membership on a collective basis, and not just their own work.

7.3. For the avoidance of doubt, all GAW members who were members or associate members of the Gay Authors Self-Publishing Society (GASPS) during 2015 or 2016 shall be deemed to be members of the Paradise Press Collective at the time of coming into force of this Constitution.

7.4. There shall be an Ordinary Meeting of the Paradise Press Collective at least once a year, to review the progress of Paradise Press, to formulate future policy, and to elect a Treasurer and any other officers that the Collective may deem appropriate.

7.5. Members shall attempt to resolve any issues by consensus, but if this is not possible the matter may be referred to an Ordinary Meeting of the Collective, or to an AGM or SGM of GAW.

7.6. The Collective shall maintain its own bank account or accounts, separate from the general GAW bank accounts. All cheques or online payments issued by the Collective shall be signed (or the equivalent in the case of online payments) by two authorised signatories.

7.7. The Collective’s Treasurer may authorise expenditure up to £30; the Collective’s Treasurer and two other members may authorise expenditure between £30 and £200; expenditure over £200 must be authorised by an Ordinary Meeting.

8. Publication under the Paradise Press imprint

8.1. Any new books or other items to be published by Paradise Press shall be the work of one or more members of GAW.

8.2. All works to be published by Paradise Press shall be subject to approval by the Paradise Press Collective, having been read and recommended by at least two members of the Collective, who shall each individually submit a Reader’s Report for circulation to other members of the Collective.

8.3. Following such approval, any author (including the author’s executor in the case of a deceased member) shall be required to sign a standard contract, the terms to be determined by the Collective and ratified at an AGM or SGM of GAW.

8.4. The contract shall include:

a) any fee payable to Paradise Press in advance of publication to cover services such as provision of an ISBN and inclusion in the Paradise Press website and Catalogue;

b) any percentage of remitted payment for books sold through Paradise Press.

8.5. Where a work has been once published by Paradise Press, the Collective shall have the right to continue publishing it, unless and until specifically instructed otherwise by the author or editor.

8.6. All members carrying out work for Paradise Press do so on a voluntary basis but are entitled to be reimbursed for approved out-of-pocket expenses.

8.7. Individual members may agree to carry out work for other members in return for payment, including but not limited to editing, proof-reading, typographical design and cover design.

8.8. Each member is responsible for the costs of publication and distribution of his or her work, including, but not limited to, the design, printing, production, publicity, and postage and packaging.

8.9. In the case of an anthology commissioned by GAW containing work by several GAW members

a) GAW shall appoint an editorial board comprising two or more existing members of the Collective;

b) the costs of producing the anthology shall be paid by GAW;

c) any profit on sales shall be returned to GAW rather than to any individual member or members;

d) GAW members who have contributed items to the anthology shall be offered membership of the Collective.

9. Amendments to the Constitution

9.1. Any proposal to amend this Constitution shall be submitted as a motion to an AGM as per 4.3 above, or be included in the business for which a SGM is requested as per 4.12 above. Such a proposal shall require a two-thirds majority of votes cast to be carried.

10. Dissolution

10.1. Any proposal to dissolve GAW shall be submitted as a motion to an AGM as per 4.3 above, or be included in the business for which a SGM is requested as per 4.12 above. Such a proposal shall require a two-thirds majority of votes cast to be carried. The same meeting shall determine whether to dispose of any assets by donation to a recognised LGBT+ voluntary organisation, or to divide them equally between all current members.

Adopted at the Annual General Meeting of GAW, 11 September 2016.