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The Reader’s Patrons believe strongly that reading for pleasure has the capacity to dramatically transform lives. They see how this belief is given practical life through our energy, dedication, and most importantly, in the extraordinary results of our work.

Rob Trimble

Rob Trimble is Chief Executive of the Bromley by Bow Centre, an innovative community organisation in East London working in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK. The Centre supports local people of all ages to learn new skills, improve their health and wellbeing, find employment and develop the confidence to achieve their goals and transform their lives. In February 2016 Rob was named by the Sunday Times and Debretts as one of the 500 Most Influential People in the UK.

working in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK. - See more at:
working in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK. - See more at:
working in one of the most deprived boroughs in the UK. - See more at:

Erwin James

Erwin James began writing for The Guardian on criminal justice issues while a serving prisoner, he is now a regular columnist and writer. After spending his formative years in and out of care and prison, James received a life sentence for murder in 1984, eventually serving 20years. While serving his sentence, he developed an interest in reading and education, which he credits with changing his life. His collected Guardian articles appeared as A Life Inside: A Prisoner’s Notebook and The Home Stretch: From Prison to Parole.

What is the last book you read that moved you?

‘Samuel Pepys: The Unequalled Self’ by Claire Tomalin, an exquisite insight into a complex life. By the end of the book I felt I knew this man so well, I felt that Tomalin’s almost forensic narrative had allowed me the privilege of sharing his life’s trials.

Why are you interested in what The Reader does?

The Reader promotes and encourages reading as a shared rather than a solitary experience. Most of my reading I’ve done in forced isolation, but when I was able to read with others and share and discuss what we had read, I found I got so much more out of a book. It’s for that reason especially that I am interested in the work of The Reader.

Frank Cottrell Boyce

Frank Cottrell Boyce is a British screenwriter and novelist born in Liverpool, who is best known for his children's fiction and collaborations with director Michael Winterbottom. In 2004, Frank’s novel Millions won the Carnegie Medal, and was later made into a film of the same name, directed by Danny Boyle. Collaborating again with Danny, Frank wrote this year’s wonderful London 2012 Olympics Opening Ceremony, which was watched by 27M UK viewers. Frank has also written episodes for TV soaps Coronation Street and Brookside, and his latest books include Framed (2008), Cosmic (2009) and The Unforgotten Coat (2010), written for The Reader and Winner of the Guardian Prize for Children’s Fiction 2012. Frank still lives in Liverpool, with his wife and seven children.

Blake Morrison

Blake Morrison is a poet and author. His memoir, And When Did You Last See Your Father? won the J.R. Ackerly Prize for Autobiography.  Non-fiction books include As If (1997), about the James Bulger case. His latest novel, The Last Weekend was published in May 2010.

David Almond

David Almond’s Skellig (1998) won The Whitbread Children’s Novel of the Year and the Carnegie Medal. In 2010 David won the Hans Christian Anderson Author Award. His graphic novel The Savage was chosen as the book for The Reader’s ‘Liverpool Reads’ campaign in 2009.

A S Byatt

A S Byatt is an English academic, novelist and poet. She is author of the Man Booker Prize-winning  novel Possession (1990), the James Tait Black Memorial Prize-winning novel The Children’s Book and novel Angels and Insects, made into an Oscar nominated film. She has written for many media outlets including The Guardian, The Times and the British journal Prospect. A distinguished critic and writer of fiction, she was appointed CBE in 1990 and DBE in 1999.

David Constantine

David Constantine’s most recent publications are Nine Fathom Deep (poetry);  a translation of the second part of Goethe’s Faust; and Tea at the Midland, the title story of which won the BBC National Short Story Award 2010. From 2003 to 2012 he edited Modern Poetry in Translation with his wife Helen. They live in Oxford.

Why are you interested in what The Reader  does?

Because it believes in the power of reading, the power to do good, and fearlessly and in all manner of circumstances acts on that belief.

What is the last thing you read that inspired you?

Jean Rhys's Voyage in the Dark (1934). Because she is truthful, she shows what it is like being a woman under structures of power that are devised by men for men. The worst of it is,that if a woman wins - if she masters the situation - as a woman, as a human being, necessarily she loses.

Howard Jacobson

Howard Jacobson was born in Manchester and was educated at Stand Grammar School in Whitefield and Downing College, Cambridge, where he studied  under F. R. Leavis. His novels include The Mighty Walzer (winner of the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize), Kalooki Nights (longlisted for the Man Booker Prize) the Man Booker Prize-winning, The Finkler Question and, most recently, Zoo Time (2012).

Brian Keenan

Brian Keenan is an Irish writer. His works include Turlough (1996), Between Extremes: A Journey Beyond Imagination (2000) and I’ll Tell Me Ma (2010). He is also the author of the autobiographical book An Evil Cradling (1991), a chronicle of the four and a half years he spent as a hostage in Beirut, Lebanon. This book was the 1991 winner of the Irish Times Literature Prize for Non-Fiction.

Why are you interested in what The Reader does?

The Reader is, for me, the Fellowship of the Word. As language and the ability to communicate is the finely tuned instrument that separates us from our fellow creatures, it only follows that reading and listening to words in their many formats is what nurtures us as humans. Without words civilization ceases!

What is the last thing you read that inspired you?

Last book that inspired me was 'A Treasury of Yiddish Stories' It tantalized my imaginative curiosity, allowed me to enter an unfamiliar world, one with no Shakespeares, no Dantes, no Tolstoys, yet a remarkable world bursting with tragedy and comedy and peopled by men and women who compel my affection and sometimes my distaste, but they all engage me deeply.

Anna Lawrence Pietroni

Anna Lawrence Pietroni was training as a prison governor when she started writing in earnest. Her first novel, Ruby’s Spoon, was published in 2011 (Vintage). She lives in Birmingham, runs creative writing workshops and is working on two more novels.

Sir Andrew Motion

Sir Andrew Motion is an English poet, novelist, and biographer. He is author of many critically acclaimed works including Philip Larkin: a Writer’s Life (1993),which won the Whitbread Prize for Biography. Andrew was selected as Poet Laureate for the United Kingdom from 1999 to 2009, during which period he wrote for many charities including The Salvation Army and Childline.

Lemn Sissay MBE

Lemn Sissay MBE is a poet and playwright, and an Associate Artist at the Southbank Centre.  He was one of the people commissioned to write poetry for London Olympics 2012, with his poem Spark Catchers etched into a Transformer on the Olympic Site.Sissay has produced five books of poetry, including Tender Fingers in a Clenched Fist (1988), Rebel Without Applause (1992) and TheEmperor’s Watchmaker (2000) – a collection of Sissay’s poetry for children.

What is the last thing you read that inspired you?

A Love Letter From a Stray Moon by Jay Griffiths

Why are you interested in what The Reader does?

They release the true life changing power of the intimate act of reading. 

Jeanette Winterson

Jeanette Winterson is a writer and novelist. Her novel Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit won the 1985 Whitbread Prize for a first Novel. Her memoir, Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal was published by Jonathan Cape in 2011.

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