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The Reader announces new leadership

Written by Lily Kehoe, 20th December 2022

The Reader’s founder and director, Dr Jane Davis, is retiring in December 2022 after 25 years as the head of the organisation.  

It was Jane’s personal experience of literature as both a ‘life-saver and life-maker’, and later experiences with readers in the Continuing Education programme at Liverpool University, that led to the creation of The Reader – a charity that works to get great novels, poems and plays into the hands of the people who need it most. 

Starting life as a magazine in 1997, created by Jane and two colleagues – Dr Sarah Coley and Dr Angela Macmillan – The Reader quickly evolved into a growing national organisation, bringing people together to read great literature aloud in small groups in prisons, care homes, libraries, schools, hospitals and communities around the UK.  

This Shared Reading practice has now been adopted by hundreds of volunteers and partners across the UK – and around the world as a way to transform people’s lives 

The Board of Trustees has appointed a new joint leadership team to take The Reader forward into the next chapter of its development: 

Katie and Jemma

Jemma Guerrier has been appointed as Managing Director and takes up her post in January 2023. Jemma is currently Chief of Transformation & Growth and has been at The Reader for six years. She will be responsible for strategic development, providing leadership across the organisation and ensuring its financial viability.  

Katie Clark, The Reader’s Director of Literature, will be responsible for developing the creative vision and Shared Reading practice at the core of the organisation. Katie will take responsibility for literature, programming and volunteer support.  

Jane Davis said: “It’s been an absolute joy to work at building the Reader for the first 25 years of its life. So much has been achieved as the organisation has grown from a glimmering vision, to a people-powered movement that has the backing of so many wonderful volunteers, funders and supporters.  

“Having worked directly with both Jemma and Katie for a number of years, I have every confidence in their ability to guide The Reader as it continues to find its place in the world.  

I am very much looking forward to seeing what happens next.” 

Anita Marsland, Chair of the Board of Trustees, said: ‘On behalf of the trustees and everyone at The Reader, I’d like to thank Jane for her many years of dedicated leadership.  Her vision for Shared Reading and what it can do has been a constant inspiration. 

“Jemma and Katie not only bring a long-standing commitment to The Reader’s mission and core purpose, but also new energy and creative power that will drive the organisation forward at a time when the world needs Shared Reading more than ever.” 

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