The title of Companion of Literature is conferred upon "writers of conspicuous attainment" by the Royal Society of Literature. Inaugurated in 1961 it can be held by up to ten writers at any one time, although at the moment the honour is held by eight individuals, namely;
Seamus Heaney, Michael Holroyd, Patrick Leigh Fermor, Doris Lessing. V.S. Naipaul, Harold Pinter, Tom Stoppard and
Past recipients of the award include; Samuel Beckett, Sybille Bedford, John Betjeman, Elizabeth Bowen, Edmund Blunden, Anthony Burgess, David Cecil, Winston Churchill, Kenneth Clark, Cyril Connolly, Ivy Compton-Burnett, Cecil Day-Lewis, E.M. Forster, David Garnett, William Golding, Graham Greene, L.P. Hartley, Aldous Huxley, Arthur Koestler, Philip Larkin, Rosamund Lehmann, Compton Mackenzie, John Masefield, W Somerset Maugham, Iris Murdoch, Ruth Pitter, Victor Pritchett, Steven Runciman, Edith Sitwell, Osbert Sitwell, Muriel Spark, Stephen Spender, G.M. Trevelyan, Evelyn Waugh, Rebecca West, and Angus Wilson.