Dreda Say Mitchell is a best-selling and ward-winning author who was appointed an MBE by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth for her services to literature and education work in prisons. She scooped the CWA's John Creasey Dagger Award in 2004, the first time a Black British author has received this honour. She writes with her writing partner, Ryan Carter across the crime and mystery genre and was one of twelve international female writers chosen to reimagined Agatha Christie's Miss Marple in a new anthology of short stories. Their psychological thriller, Spare Room, was a #1 UK and US Amazon best-seller. They performed a specially commissioned monologue on the ground-breaking SkyArts50 on Sky TV.
Dreda is a passionate campaigner and speaker on social issues and the arts. She has appeared on radio and TV including presenting BBC Radio 4's flagship Books programme, Open Book and written in a number of leading newspapers, including The Guardian. She was named one of Britain's 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia. She is a trustee of the Royal Literary Fund and an ambassador of the Reading Agency. Dreda grew up in the east End of London where she continues to live.
What do you love about reading?
"The escapism but also the reality of connecting to a main character because the issues they face may be issues I have faced too. Books help me work out what my place in the world is. I love the joy and beauty of reading words on a page."
Why have you chosen to be an ambassador for Reading Ahead?
"On one occasion while I was visiting a prison, an inmate told me that one of my novels got her into books and now she was an eager reader of fiction. That's what The Reading Agency does, connects with hard-to-reach communities to improve literacy skills and gets people who otherwise might not pick up a book, reading.
I am a huge admirer of what The Reading Agency does, so what an honour to be part of such innovative and ground-breaking initiative that truly makes a difference in people's lives."
Find Dreda on Twitter, Facebook, and through her website.