The Reading Agency is delighted to welcome Teresa Cremin, Kit de Waal, Aimée Felone, Michael Lewis, David Shelley and Sue Williamson to its Board of Trustees. With a breadth of experience in the areas of writing, publishing, academia and public libraries, the appointments of the new Trustees will help to guide The Reading Agency as it embarks on its three-year strategy to empower people of all ages across the UK to get reading.
Teresa Cremin is a Professor of Literacy Education at The Open University. She is co-director of the Literacy and Social Justice Centre, a Fellow of the English Association, the Academy of Social Sciences, and the Royal Society of the Arts. Teresa leads a reading for pleasure research and practice coalition, seeking to build readers for life.
Aimée Felone is managing director of Knights Of, a multi award-winning inclusive publisher focused on bringing underrepresented voices to the forefront of commercial children’s publishing. With a team led by women of colour, and an unwavering focus on their intended readership for each book, Knights Of works to engage with gatekeepers across the industry, including booksellers, teachers and librarians, and supports non-traditional community spaces with events, outreach, marketing and partnerships.
Michael Lewis has over 30 years’ experience of working in and managing libraries, supporting local community organisations and encouraging greater community partnerships. He is currently the Head of Libraries at Shropshire Council.
He also advises and supports the development of Waterfront, a sports and education charity, creating activities for deprived communities as a trustee, boxing and martial arts coach. As well as helping cultural charities, supporting culture, arts and education organisations, connect and collaborate to develop cultural and sporting programmes in Leicester.
Michael is also ex-chairperson of the West Midlands Region of Libraries Connected raising the profile of public libraries and helping to develop services nationally.
David Shelley started his career at independent publisher Allison & Busby. He joined Little, Brown as Editorial Director in 2005. Initially commissioning mainly crime and thriller novels and overseeing the audio and ebook lists, he became Publisher of their commercial imprint Sphere in 2007, then overall Little, Brown Publisher in 2011. Authors he published include Mitch Albom, Mark Billingham, Carl Hiaasen, Dennis Lehane, Val McDermid and J.K. Rowling. He became CEO of Orion and Little, Brown in 2015, and in January 2018 became Group CEO of Hachette UK, which is the second-largest consumer publisher in the UK. David is an Officer of the Publishers Association.
Kit de Waal, born to an Irish mother and Caribbean father, was brought up among the Irish community of Birmingham in the ’60s and ’70s.
Her debut novel My Name Is Leon was an international bestseller, shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award, longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize and won the Kerry Group Irish Novel of the Year Award for 2017. In 2022 it was adapted for television by the BBC. Her second novel, The Trick to Time, was longlisted for the Women’s Prize and her young adult novel Becoming Dinah was shortlisted for the Carnegie CLIP Award 2020. A collection of short stories, Supporting Cast was published in 2020. An anthology of working-class memoir, Common People was crowdfunded and edited by Kit in 2019.
Kit founded her own TV production company, Portopia Productions and the Big Book Weekend, a free digital literary festival in 2020 and was named the FutureBook Person of the Year 2019. Kit is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Professor and Writer in Residence at Leicester University.
Her memoir Without Warning and Only Sometimes was published in August 2022.
Sue Williamson MBE worked in public libraries for 18 years in a variety of roles, finishing as Head of Library Services in St Helens before joining the Arts Council in 2018 as National Director for Libraries. Under her leadership, the Arts Council tripled its investment in libraries and supported a wide variety of library projects with national and international significance. Her love of libraries is rooted in her passion for reading for pleasure, a passion she is devoted to sharing now that she is retired, but not retiring.
Matthew Littleford, Chair of the Board of Trustees, The Reading Agency said: “I’m delighted that these brilliant people have agreed to join The Reading Agency. Their combined experience and individual passions will ensure that we go from strength to strength in the coming years and will be invaluable in shaping new partnerships and helping The Reading Agency champion the proven power of reading to people of all ages and backgrounds.”
Article Posted on The Reading Agency, 26 July ’23