Who we are
When elected: March 2009
Professional background: Liz worked for the BBC for 25 years in a variety of roles from radio and television production to launching BBC Knowledge, the forerunner of BBC 4 and setting up the interactive capability for all factual and learning programmes. As Controller BBC Learning, she was responsible for all learning activity across the BBC. Main focus on delivering ambitious learning campaigns that aim to inspire and support millions of people to take action beyond the broadcast of BBC TV and radio programmes, community activity and work with partner organisations. These include RaW which aims to motivate people to improve their literacy skills, and Breathing Places, a campaign linked to the BBC's natural history output and encouraging mass participation in action to improve the local environment.
Why The Reading Agency: Passionate about reading.
A favourite book: An impossible question but when forced to choose it was To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf. I first read it when I was 17 and became intrigued by her style.
Vivien Griffiths OBE
When elected: 2002
Professional background: I spent virtually all of my professional career as a librarian in Birmingham, where I specialised in work with children and young people. I was President of the Society of Chief Librarians during 2000-2001 and a Board member of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (MLA). I became an independent consultant in 2001 and since then, I have edited the Start with the Child report for CILIP and the Fulfilling Their Potential report for the MLA, as well as a variety of other commissions and conference presentations.
Why The Reading Agency: Reading and libraries have been a fundamental part of my life, since I was a child and it has been a pleasure and a great privilege to be a part of The Reading Agency's success.
A favourite book: Miss Garnett's Angel by Salley Vickers, partly because I live for part of the year in Italy and I love Venice, where the book is set and partly because its underlying message is that it's never too late to make a radical change in your life, which I find uplifting and inspiring.
Malorie Blackman, author
Professional background: Malorie Blackman has written over 50 books for children and young adults, including the Noughts and Crosses sequence of novels (Noughts and Crosses won the Children's Book Award as well as being included in the top 100 of the BBC Big Read), The Stuff of Nightmares, Thief and Hacker.
Her work has appeared on screen, with Pig-Heart Boy, which was shortlisted for the Carnegie Medal, being adapted into a BAFTA winning TV serial.
In 2005, Malorie was honoured with the Eleanor Farjeon Award in recognition of her distinguished contribution to the world of children's books. In 2008, she was then honoured with an OBE for her services to Children's Literature.
Why The Reading Agency:
A favourite book:
When elected: May 2009
Professional background: I spent 20 years in the venture capital and private equity industry, latterly as the Deputy Managing Director of Cinven. I left Cinven in 2001 to spend time working in the voluntary sector and since then have been either the treasurer or trustee of a range of organisations including UnLtd, Box Clever Theatre Company, Evelyn Oldfield Unit, London Detainee Support Group, First Rung and Islington Boat Club.
Why The Reading Agency: I'm enthused by the exciting work The Reading Agency has done in such an important area.
A favourite book: Surviving The Killing Fields by Haing S Ngor - a gripping and uplifting true account of how one man came through terror with his humanity intact and the ability to develop a new life
Janene Cox, assistant director culture and libraries, Staffordshire County Council Library
When elected: June 2008
Professional background: I began my professional life as a librarian in the Central Library in Birmingham. I have also managed libraries in Northamptonshire and Staffordshire, where I became Head of Libraries in 2005. I really like my current job and working with my Heads of Service we have put together a really strong cultural offer for the people of Staffordshire.
Why The Reading Agency: The Reading Agency actively promotes and encourages reading and supports libraries to deliver innovative and creative reading programmes. This is something which I wanted to be involved in developing, steering and advocating.
A favourite book: Jamie Oliver, The Naked Chef, one that I constantly return to, that demonstrates the power of language and reading to stimulate, enthuse and to get you to do different things - and which you share with lots of other people!
Nicky Parker, head of transformation, Manchester City Council
When elected: From the beginning
Professional background: I managed libraries, the archives service, the County Records Office and the Library Theatre for Manchester City Council. I have been Chair of ASCEL, I am an elected member of the General Assembly of the University of Manchester and a member of the Advisory Council on Libraries. I am also a member of the Executive of the Society of Chief Librarians, chair the NW Youth Library Board and a member of the National Youth Library Board which is improving library services to teenagers. I have recently been invited to participate in the Secretary of State's National Review of Public Libraries.
Why The Reading Agency: I had been watching what The Reading Agency was up to for a while and really liked its collaborative creative approach.
A favourite book: An Equal Music by Vikram Seth because I'm a big music fan so this really appealed and some of it is set inside Manchester Central Library!
Joseph O'Reilly, head of education, Save the Children
When elected: May 2009
Professional background: I have over 15 years experience working for public interest organisations and causes. Originally from Australia I've worked in Asia, Africa, North America and the Caribbean and have been living in London for the last ten years. Most recently I've been working to support education and literacy in developing countries and this led me to establish First Read.
Why The Reading Agency: I share The Reading Agency's belief that reading can transform lives. Reading's had a transformative effect on me and I've seen how it's changed the lives of countless people around the world with whom I've worked.
A favourite book: My favourite books are the Fire novels by Henning Mankell. The books are based on the true story of Sophia an indomitable young girl in war-torn Mozambique. Written for young adults these books open up the world through an accessible story written with unflinching honesty.
John Readman, divisional director children and young people's services, London Borough of Lambeth
When elected: May 2009
Professional background: I am implementing the change agenda for children's services across a wide partnership of organisations in Lambeth. I have a keen interest and background in supporting literature and literacy development and was an active librarian for 15 years before taking up more senior roles in children's services.
Why The Reading Agency: I have always been passionate about what The Reading Agency does in supporting reader and reading development and in supporting libraries in the unique role they play.
A favourite book: Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Woolf because this is a great book and by far Woolf's most accessible, and I have wonderful memories of being a student and reading it together with three fellow students in 24 hours, consuming much cake and wine on the way.
Jenny Stevens, freelance media/education consultant
When elected: May 2009
Professional background: A New Zealander, I trained as a high school teacher but have worked mostly in adult education. I directed a pioneering adult literacy scheme in London and co-directed the national Right to Read campaign. I then moved to the BBC to work on its first major adult literacy project and subsequently embarked on a TV production career. I was the first Head of Education at the BBC World Service. For the last 10 years I have worked as a freelance consultant and project manager, specialising in educational and literacy projects.
A favourite book: The End of the Golden Weather by Bruce Mason: a seminal piece of New Zealand literature. It evokes a childhood similar to my own, with the underlying theme of growing up and consequent loss of innocence - the golden weather.
Nick McDowell, literature officer, Arts Council England
David Cross, assistant literature officer, Arts Council England
The senior management team
Chief executive, Miranda McKearney
Director of HR, Penny Shapland-Chew
Director of Business Management, Peter Barker
Reading Agency people
Our work is undertaken by a network of skilled project workers and support staff. Some are employed by the organisation and others work on a freelance basis. The project managers responsible for each project are listed on the relevant project page so please get in touch with them if you would like any more information about our work.
You can also Contact us. We'd be very pleased to hear from you.