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New Chair of Trustees at the National Literacy Trust

The National Literacy Trust has announced that Joanna Prior is its new Chair.

New Chair of Trustees at the National Literacy Trust
Joanna Prior: “I passionately believe we can take the charity to the next level.”

Joanna is a leading figure in publishing, successfully steering the strategic growth of Penguin General Books into an award-winning publishing house over the last twelve years, says the National Literacy Trust. She joins Pan Macmillan as CEO on 4 April.

Joanna is passionate about the wider literacy sector, having previously served as Chair of World Book Day, the Women’s Prize Trust and President of the Publishers Association, where she convened a cross-industry literacy board and advocated for improved school library provision. She has been instrumental in growing partnerships between the publishing sector and literacy charities. During her time at Penguin Random House, she has fostered a strong relationship between the publisher and the National Literacy Trust, particularly focusing on delivering outcomes in the North East and working with colleagues on creating vibrant primary school library spaces. Since 2014 Joanna has held a trustee role at the National Literacy Trust, serving as Vice Chair for the past three years before acceding to the role of Chair.

Joanna replaces Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO, CBE, who served as Chair of the National Literacy Trust since 2013. Julia is a passionate and practical campaigner who has an international reputation for inspiring individuals and organisations from business, government, education and civil society to work together for the common good. She also served as Chief Executive of Business in the Community, one of the Prince’s Charities, for 16 years, and as Chair and latterly Vice Patron of Teach First.

HRH, Duchess of Cornwall continues in her role as patron of the Trust, a position she has adopted since 2010.

Joanna Prior says: “I am thrilled to take on the role of Chair of Trustees at the National Literacy Trust, a charity whose mission has been close to my heart for many years. I look forward to using my position as Chair to help the continued growth and change the life stories of more disadvantaged children across the UK through literacy. By forging new partnerships between the private, public and third sector, I passionately believe we can take the charity to the next level. It is an honour to follow Dame Julia who has made such a significant contribution to the Trust.”

Dame Julia Cleverdon, CBE says: “I have been so proud to chair the National Literacy Trust for the last seven years with a brilliant Board of trustees and a totally dedicated staff team led so marvellously by Jonathan Douglas. Our focused work in the deprived communities where poverty is highest and literacy skills lowest has yielded real results for young people and building strong partnerships with companies has been vital to our success. I am so thrilled that Joanna Prior will take up the Chairmanship bringing a passionate enthusiasm both for the power of literacy to change lives and the contribution of authors and the publishing world.”

Jonathan Douglas CBE, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust, says: “We are absolutely delighted to welcome Joanna Prior as Chair of the National Literacy Trust’s board of trustees. She has been a valued member of the board for a number of years. I know that the National literacy trust will benefit both from her experience of leadership of the publishing and literacy and reading charity sectors. I look forward to working closely with her as the charity recommits to its mission to support literacy in the UK’s poorest communities, the levelling up areas, as they recover from the Pandemic.

“I would also like to say a huge thank you to Dame Julia Cleverdon for bringing such dedication and zeal to her tenure as Chair. She has made a huge impact on our work and she is truly committed to helping the next generation reach their potential.”


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