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Our Team

Meet the people at the heart of our organisation who bring expertise and experience to the Royal Literary Fund. Our small team are supported by a committed and diverse group of full-time and part-time individuals who share our passion and vision for the literary world.

Edward Kemp

Chief Executive

Edward Kemp is a playwright, dramaturg, translator, director and teacher. From 2007-2021 he was Director and Chief Executive of the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) and was also Joint Principal of the Conservatoire for Dance and Drama. He has worked for the National Theatre, Royal Shakespeare Company, Royal Opera House, Glyndebourne, the BBC, and for companies across Europe and North America. Writing/adaptations include 5/11, Six Pictures of Lee Miller, Racine’s Andromache, Lessing’s Nathan the Wise, Bulgakov’s Master and Margarita, King James Bible, Sebald’s The Emigrants, Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying, works by Brecht, Goldoni, Kleist, Lorca and Molière and screenplays for Disney+ and RADA. Libretti include How the Whale Became (ROH), The Yellow Sofa (Glyndebourne), and The Ground Beneath Her Feet (Manchester International Festival). He works extensively with the choreographer Cathy Marston, including Atonement (Zürich), My Brilliant Career (Queensland), The Cellist (Royal Ballet), The Suit (Ballet Black), Mrs Robinson (San Francisco), Lady Chatterley’s Lover (Les Grands Ballets Canadiens), Of Mice and Men (Joffrey). He is co-chair of tiata fahodzi and trustee of Central School of Ballet. He has taught at the Royal College of Art, Guildhall School of Speech and Drama, Trinity Laban and Bennington Vermont.

Steve Cook, Hon. FRSL

Director of Education

After graduating from Oxford University with a First in Modern Languages, Steve Cook joined the publishing firm Cassell, where he worked as Reference Publisher before persuading the company to launch the UK’s first trade list of Lesbian & Gay Studies titles in 1992. He was recruited by Lord (Michael) Young of Dartington as a founding Fellow of the School for Social Entrepreneurs in 1998. With this combined experience of publishing and social enterprise, he became the Royal Literary Fund’s first Education Officer charged with the task of establishing a Fellowship scheme for writers in Higher Education. Since the scheme’s launch in Autumn 1999, he has placed more than 750 authors into over 100 universities. Under his direction, RLF Fellows have also produced hundreds of podcasts and online articles on writerly topics, as well as pioneering educational and literary programmes such as Reading Round and WritersMosaic. In 2022, Steve Cook was elected as an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Justine Palmer

Head of Grants

Justine joined the RLF in November 2021. She leads the Grants Programme, overseeing and administering the grant applications. Justine supports applicants and beneficiaries during their time with the RLF. Since joining the RLF Justine has overseen a full review of the Grants Programme, including introducing a new database, allowing grants to be processed online. The daughter of a screenwriter, Justine grew up surrounded by the creative arts and is passionate about supporting storytellers. She has previously worked at RADA as Executive Assistant to the Director and Industry Liaison Manager and at The Artists Partnership as a Theatrical Agent.

Colin Grant, FRSL

Director of WritersMosaic

Colin Grant is the author of six books. They include Negro with a Hat: The Rise and Fall of Marcus Garvey; and a group biography of the Wailers, I&I, and The Natural Mystics. His memoir, Bageye at the Wheel, was shortlisted for the Pen/Ackerley Prize 2013. Grant’s history of epilepsy, A Smell of Burning, was a Sunday Times Book of the Year 2016.

As a producer for the BBC, Grant wrote and directed several radio drama documentaries, including A Fountain of Tears: The Murder of Federico Garcia Lorca and A History of the N Word.

Grant is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and Director of WritersMosaic, an innovative online platform for new writing and a division of the Royal Literary Fund. He also writes for several newspapers and journals, including the Guardian, Observer, New Statesman, TLS, London Review of Books, Granta and New York Review of Books. Grant’s Homecoming: Voices of the Windrush Generation was a BBC radio 4 Book of the Week and a Daily Telegraph Book of the year 2019. His latest memoir, I’m Black So You Don’t Have to Be is published by Jonathan Cape.

Dr David Swinburne

Systems Director & Co-Director of Education

Coming soon.

Richard Le Cocq

Head of Marketing and Communications

Richard has been in marketing and communications for over 25 years and was an independent digital marketing consultant for 10 years. He is incredibly proud to be the first head of marketing for the RLF in its history. Richard has worked on many nationwide and international campaigns for commercial and non-profit arts and charity organisations in the UK, United States and Australia, brands include Ambassador Theatre Group, Avalon Television, Disney, Cancer Research UK, EA Games, Hachette UK, HIT Entertainment, ITV, National Theatre, Penguin RandomHouse UK, Pan Macmillan, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, Royal Opera House, Sadler’s Wells, Society of London Theatre, Universal Pictures, Whizz-Kidz, Wicked, Working Title Films and Young Vic.

Katharine McMahon

Head of Outreach

Katharine McMahon is the author of ten novels, including the international bestsellers The Alchemist’s Daughter and The Rose of Sebastopol. She is currently writing a thriller based on her experience in the criminal justice system. Katharine wrote the Guardian ebook on historical fiction. She has contributed to Writing Historical Fiction (Bloomsbury, 2014) and devised and taught the Guardian masterclass on historical fiction. She has taught for the Arvon Foundation and contributed to the RLF’s publication on the state of writing in British universities, Writing Matters, and wrote a report on student writing in universities: What’s going on with Students’ Writing? She writes song lyrics performed by the actress Janie Dee. Katharine McMahon has long experience in training and education. For many years, she was the course director for the National Bench Chairmen’s Course (Magistrates), she has served on the Sentencing Council for England and Wales, writing sentencing guidelines for judges and magistrates, and was a Judicial Appointments commissioner.

She is proud to lead the Writing for Life team at the RLF who have developed new and inspirational ways for writers to share their skills in the community and workplace.

Mary Colson

Assistant Head of Outreach

Mary Colson specialises in writing non-fiction. She has written over 50 non-fiction books for children on topics ranging from Einstein, secret codes and the ozone layer to Toni Morrison, sports poetry and Beyoncé. She is currently working on her first novel, a narrative non-fiction book for adults and two screenplays. Mary also copyedits academic journals, teaches on residential courses at Tŷ Newydd and delivers writing workshops in schools both here and abroad.

As part of the Writing for Life Team, Mary works supportively and collaboratively with writers and partner organisations to create, manage and deliver bespoke writing skills projects. A former English teacher with 25 years’ experience, she takes a lead on training writers and skills development along with assisting with Writing for Life policy and strategy. Mary believes passionately in the power of words and writing to transform lives for the better.

Dr Karin Altenberg, FRSL

Head of Bridge, England and Wales

Karin Altenberg is a novelist, essayist, critic and translator. Her novels include Island of Wings and Breaking Light. She was RLF Fellow at Brunel University from 2016 to 2019 when she joined the Bridge programme. As Head of Bridge in England and Wales, she recognises that supporting students in becoming more confident writers can enhance their opportunities and experience of life – now and in the future.

Born and brought up in southern Sweden, Karin holds a PhD in Archaeology, published as the award-winning monograph Experiencing Landscapes. Since leaving academia in 2001, she has held senior positions in the fields of arts management, international cultural relations and heritage policy and management. She is a tutor of creative writing in different contexts, including the Arvon Foundation, and has held writing fellowships in the US, Italy, Spain and the British Library. She writes for various publications and journals, including the Wall Street Journal. A Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Linnean Society, she lives between two languages and continues to scrutinise the past to illuminate the present. If she has any free time, Karin likes to explore outside by walking, cycling, skiing or sailing.

Laura Hird

Head of Bridge, Scotland and Northern Ireland

Laura Hird is the author of Nail and Other Stories (Canongate, 1997), Hope and Other Urban Tales (Canongate, 2006) and the novel Born Free (Canongate, 1999), which was nominated for the Whitbread and Orange prizes. A book based on her mother’s letters, Dear Laura, was published by Canongate in 2007. Her novellas Hope and The Dilating Pupil featured in the ‘Children of Albion Rovers’ and ‘Rovers Return’ collections by Rebel Inc. and ‘Spun’ in ‘Protest: Stories of Resistance’ by Comma Press. Her books have been translated into 10 languages, and her stories have been published in magazines and anthologies internationally. Short film and art project involvement include Of Cats and Women (dir. Jonas Govaerts 2007) and Jim Cauty’s Estate (2021).

Laura was an RLF Fellow based at Queen Margaret University between 2011-13 and joined Bridge in 2015, taking over as Scotland/Northern Ireland coordinator in 2017. A mentor and creative writing tutor, she has worked with Arvon, Moniack Mhor, schools, colleges and charities, including Art Angel and HUG Action for Mental Health. Writer-in-residence posts over the years include Cove Park and Moniack Mhor. For eight years, she ran a non-profit website which promoted literary magazines and showcased the work of writers, reviewers and musicians worldwide.

Sir Ian Blatchford

President and Chair

Sir Ian Blatchford was appointed Director and Chief Executive of the Science Museum Group in November 2010 and combined this with the role of Director of the Science Museum from December 2010. Previously, Sir Ian was Deputy Director of the Victoria & Albert Museum from December 2004, joining the Museum in April 2002 as Director of Finance & Resources.

He started his career working at the Bank of England and Barclays de Zoete Wedd before joining the Arts Council as Deputy Finance Director. He then joined the marketing and design agency Cricket Communications as Financial Controller before becoming Director of Finance at the Royal Academy of Arts in 1996. He read law at Mansfield College, Oxford and holds an MA in Renaissance Studies from Birkbeck College, University of London. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants.

Sir Ian has been President of the Royal Literary Fund since November 2020. He is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries. He was Chairman of the National Museum Directors’ Council (2017–2021) and Chairman of the Governors of De Montfort University (2011–2018). Sir Ian was awarded a Knighthood in the 2019 New Year Honours for services to Cultural Education.

Nelle Andrew

Trustee

Nelle Andrew is a Literary agent who was crowned Literary Agent of the Year in 2021 at the British Book Awards and was a Bookseller Rising Star in 2016. She represents an array of authors, including a winner of the Costa Debut Fiction Award, a longlistee for the Women’s Prize and Walter Scott Prize, two HWA Goldsboro Award winners, several British Book Award nominees and ST/NYT Bestselling authors. She helped build the Lucy Cavendish Fiction Prize for Unpublished Authors into one of the most eminent prizes of its nature and sat on the original board for the Sunday Times/PFD Young Writers’ Award. She also established the Morley Prize for Unpublished Writers of Colour and the Stylist Feminist Fiction Prize.

Terence Blacker, FRSL

Trustee

Terence Blacker has been a freelance writer for over 40 years. He is the author of five novels for adults, including Fixx, Kill Your Darlings and The Twyning, and of award-winning stories for children, including the Ms Wiz series, Boy2Girl and Racing Manhattan. He has been a regular columnist for the Independent and the Sunday Times and wrote the ‘Endpaper’ column for The Author over many years. As a songwriter, he has released five albums, including Playing For Time, which was included in the Sunday Times Top 100 Albums of 2020. He has recently been performing his one-man show, The Shock of the Old, in theatres across the country. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.

Dan Franklin, Hon. FRSL

Trustee

Dan Franklin has worked in publishing since 1970, beginning at Peter Owen Ltd, then moving to the Harvill Press, then Collins, then Heinemann, where he was Editorial Director for non-fiction. He then became Publishing Director of Secker & Warburg, where he published Roddy Doyle, Bill Bryson and Louis de Bernieres. In 1993, he was appointed Publishing Director of Jonathan Cape. Dan started, and still runs, the graphic novel list at Cape, publishing Posy Simmonds, Raymond Briggs, and Bryan Talbot, amongst others. In 2019, he was awarded an honorary Fellowship at the Royal Society of Literature.

Brenda Gardner

Trustee

Born and raised in Canada, Brenda came to the UK with her husband in the early seventies. After finishing university and starting an MA in librarianship, she taught for several years in the US and the UK before working at Puffin Books and then Penguin UK for seven years, rising to an assistant editor. She then became a commissioning editor for several children’s publishers and started Piccadilly Press in 1983, which she ran for 30 years as an independent publisher before selling it to Bonnier Books, retiring two years later. 

Brenda was involved in the first iteration of Women in Publishing while at Penguin. She was co-chair of the Children’s Book Circle, a committee member of the Independent Publisher Guild until 2010 and won the Pandora Award in 1999 for supporting women working in publishing. Piccadilly Press won the IPG Children’s Publisher of the Year Award 2009. In her career, she worked and developed a number of top authors and illustrators, including Louise Rennison, Colin & Jacqui Hawkins, Malorie Blackman, Anne Fine, Emma Chichester Clark, Cathy Hopkins, Jeanne Willis, Arthur Robins, Ros Asquith, Joanna Nadin, Hilary Freeman, and Rosie Rushton.

George Graham

Trustee

George Graham is a former journalist with many years of experience in financial markets and investment. He has served as a trustee of several pension funds and chairs Fish Legal, an association of fishing clubs using the law to fight water pollution. He is also a trustee of the Authors’ Foundation.

Hilary Hale

Trustee, Deputy President

Hilary Hale has worked in commercial publishing all her professional life, particularly in the genres of crime fiction and thrillers, latterly as Editorial Director at Little, Brown.

Sammia Hamer

Trustee

Sammia Hamer is the Editorial Director at Amazon Publishing. She has been at Amazon for nine years and currently heads up four commercial imprints in the UK. Drawing on 17 years of publishing experience, beginning at Profile Books before moving on to HarperCollins and then HQ Books, she represents an array of bestselling authors, including Fiona Valpy, TL Swan, Damien Boyd, Hannah Beckerman and Matt Brolly.

Paula Hawkins

Trustee

Paul Hawkins is an author and former journalist. She has written three bestselling novels: The Girl on The Train, Into the Water and A Slow Fire Burning; and her fourth thriller, The Blue Hour, will be published in October 2024.

Born and raised in Zimbabwe, Paula moved to London in 1989 and now splits her time between London and Edinburgh.

Mark Lawson, FRSL

Trustee

Mark Lawson, FRSL, is a journalist, broadcaster, novelist and playwright. He is a critic and feature writer for The Guardian, is a theatre critic for The Tablet and also writes regularly for other publications including The Radio Times. His work as a broadcaster includes The Late Show / Late Review / Review / Newsnight Review (BBC2, 1992-2005), Front Row (BBC Radio 4, 1998-2004), Mark Lawson Talks To…. (BBC4, from 2013). His novels include Idlewild (1993), Going Out Live (2001), Enough Is Enough (2005), The Deaths (2013), and The Allegations (2016). He is currently completing a new novel, The Cancellations. He has written two dozen radio plays for BBC Radio 4, most recently including Sticking Points (2023) and In Good Faith (2024.)

Mark is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and an Honorary Fellow of University College London and RIBA.

Colin Ludlow

Trustee

Colin Ludlow started his career as a theatre critic and spent many years working in television drama as a script editor and producer. Most of his work was on films and single dramas for the BBC. His many credits include Not Even God is Wise Enough, a film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Biyi Bandele, the award-winning drama The Land of Dreams and an acclaimed dramatisation of PD James’ An Unsuitable Job for a Woman.

Illness brought Colin’s producing activities to an abrupt end in 2003. Since then, he has worked as a writing tutor for the University of the Arts in London and an external assessor for the National Film and Television School, as well as writing two books of his own. The first, Shadows in Wonderland (2008), dealt with his bewildering experiences as a hospital patient and became an influential and widely reproduced text in discussions about the NHS at the time. He became an RLF Trustee in 2022.

Colin Luke

Trustee

Colin Luke is a multiple award-winning writer/producer/director of films for television and the founder of Mosaic Films, one of the first independent production companies,

He worked in TV for over forty years and made numerous international and domestic series, single films and one-off specials for the BBC, ITV, C4 and various American and European broadcasters. For some years, Mosaic Films maintained offices in Moscow and Jerusalem, employing Russian, Georgian, Israeli and Palestinian filmmakers.

He is widely travelled, having produced documentary films in sixty countries and visited another forty. He pioneered new digital production techniques and lectured on this all over Europe and Asia. Colin is a life member of BAFTA and has served as its deputy Vice Chairman. He was on the board of the Directors and Producers Rights Society (now Directors UK) for several years. He also co-owned Document Films, a film facility house in Soho that provided cameramen and cutting rooms to other producers for three decades. As well as currently being one of the Treasurers of the RLF, he is also Treasurer of another London-based charity. His passions are travel, Trollope, singing choral music and playing Real Tennis when not babysitting his six grandchildren.

Susheila Nasta MBE, Hon. FRSL

Trustee

Susheila Nasta MBE is a writer, critic and literary activist. In 1984, she founded Wasafiri, the Magazine of International Contemporary Writing, one of Britain’s first magazines to platform writers from Britain’s Black British, South Asian, and diasporic communities. For over three and a half decades, she published over 100 issues platforming international writers from across the world; many of them are now well known and have gone on to win major awards.

She has been committed throughout her career, whether in schools or universities, to diversifying thinking and decolonising the curriculum. Her early books focused on writers from the Caribbean, such as Sam Selvon, Jean Rhys and VS Naipaul, and women’s writing. In 1991, she published Motherlands: Black Women’s Writing from Africa, the Caribbean and South Asia, the first critical anthology of Black women’s writing in Britain. Similarly, her 2002 monograph, Home Truths, was the first book to map a tradition of South Asian fiction in Britain.

Recent publications include India in Britain (Palgrave, 2012), Asian Britain: A Photographic History (Westbourne Press, 2013), and her co-edited Cambridge History of Black and Asian British Writing (CUP, 2019) charting a continuum stretching back to the 18th century. Brave New Words: The Power of Writing Nowis a collection of creative writers’ essays on writing and politics (Myriad Editions, 2019). Her present writing projects include The Bloomsbury Indians, a group biography (forthcoming Bridge Press) and a memoir.

She has judged several international literary prizes, including the David Cohen Award for lifetime achievement, the SI Leeds Fiction Prize for unpublished Black and Asian Women and the Banipal Prize for Arab Literature in Translation as well as launching the Wasafiri New Writing Prize in 2009. She was awarded an MBE in 2011 for services to black and Asian literatures. In 2019, she received the Royal Society of Literature’s distinguished Benson Medal, a mark of a lifetime’s contribution to literature, along with an Honorary Fellowship; in 2020, she was elected Honorary Fellow of the English Association for her contribution to English Studies. She sits as member of the Council for the RSL and acts as literary executor and consultant for the Sam Selvon literary estate. She is Emeritus Professor at Queen Mary College, University of London and the Open University.

Dreda Say Mitchell MBE

Trustee

Dreda Say Mitchell is an award-winning and international bestselling novelist, broadcaster, campaigner, and journalist who grew up on a housing estate in London’s East End. She is the author of sixteen novels, with her debut scooping The CWA’s John Creasey Dagger in 2005, the first time a Black British author has received this honour. She writes with her life partner, Ryan Carter. Her first psychological thriller, Spare Room, was an international bestseller. Lee Child named her 2022 novel Say Her Name his best book of the year. She is one of the twelve acclaimed international female authors of the Sunday Times Bestselling Marple, a newly reimagined Miss Marple anthology. Dreda was named one of Britain’s 50 Remarkable Women by Lady Geek in association with Nokia, has been a World Book Night author, and contributed to the multi-award-winning ‘Books To Die For’.

Dreda is a frequent guest on television, including Alan Carr’s Adventures With Agatha Christie, Celebrity Pointless, Celebrity Eggheads, Question Time, Front Row Late, BBC News Channel, The Review Show, Newsnight, Daybreak, Victoria Derbyshire and Canada’s Sun News Live. She has presented Radio 4’s Open Book and reviewed the newspaper headlines every Friday night on The Stephen Nolan Show, BBC Radio 5 Live. Her Black History Month short story about Althea McNish was narrated on Amazon’s Alexa by Sir Trevor MacDonald.

She was the 2011 chair of the Harrogate Crime Fiction Festival, Europe’s biggest crime festival. Dreda’s commitment and passion for raising the life chances of working-class children in education and her work in prisons and young offenders’ settings, the Times Literary Supplement called ‘inspirational and life-changing.’ and is an Ambassador for The Reading Agency and Patron of the SI Leeds Literary Prize. In her life, before books, she was an acting headteacher of a primary school and worked as an education consultant in local authorities specialising in the achievement of black and minority ethnic children.

Judith Murray

Trustee

Judith Murray is a literary agent at Greene & Heaton. She joined the company in 1995 and is a co-owner and company director. She has a BA in English Literature from Wadham College, Oxford. After graduating, she worked as an editor in several UK publishing houses and as a talent scout for translation publishers before becoming a literary agent. Judith represents a wide range of writers of fiction and non-fiction. Many of her authors have been shortlisted for and have won major literary prizes, including the Man Booker Prize, Man Booker International Prize, The Women’s Prize for Fiction, the Costa First Novel Award, the IMPAC Award, the George Orwell Prize, Wellcome Trust Book Prize and Guardian First Book Award. Judith has served as a member of the Association of Authors’ Agents committee.

Michael Symmons Roberts, FRSL

Trustee

Michael Symmons Roberts is a poet, broadcaster, librettist and non-fiction writer. His poetry has won the Forward Prize and the Costa Poetry Prize – both for Drysalter – and the Whitbread Poetry Award for Corpus, and has been shortlisted for the Griffin International Poetry Prize and the TS Eliot Prize. He has received awards from the Arts Council and the Society of Authors, including a Gregory Award and a Cholmondeley Prize for Poetry. His broadcast work includes the BBC4 verse film Men Who Sleep in Cars and many radio dramatisations, including Paradise Lost, Idylls of the King and the Bronze Horseman, plus regular broadcast features and series on poetry, arts and culture. As a librettist, his work with composers – particularly James MacMillan and Emily Howard – has led to BBC Proms choral commissions, song cycles, music theatre works and operas for the Royal Opera House, Scottish Opera, Boston Lyric Opera and Welsh National Opera. His non-fiction work includes Edgelands, co-written with the poet Paul Farley. Michael is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the English Association, and he is Professor of Poetry at Manchester Metropolitan University.

Fiona Sampson MBE, FRSL

Trustee

Fiona Sampson MBE, FRSL, is a poet, biographer, critic, and literary translator. Alongside monographs Beyond the Lyric and Lyric Cousins, she edited Faber’s ‘poet-to-poet’ Percy Bysshe Shelley. Limestone Country was a Guardian nature writing book of the year; In Search of Mary Shelley, critically acclaimed, was followed by Two-Way Mirror: Elizabeth Barrett Browning (2022), a New York Times Editors’ Choice, Washington Post Book of the Year, and a finalist for the Plutarch Prize and PEN International Biography Prize. Her most recent poetry collection, Come Down (2021), received the Naim Frashëri Laureateship, European Lyric Atlas Prize, and Wales Poetry Book of the Year. Recipient of a Cholmondeley award and the Newdigate prize, shortlisted multiple times for T.S. Eliot and Forward prizes, she’s been translated into 38 languages and received honours in the US, Bosnia, India, France, and North Macedonia. She serves internationally on literary juries, boards of publishing houses and literary NGOs and has been a Council member of the Royal Society of Literature. Professor Emerita of Poetry at the University of Roehampton and Fellow of the British Trust for Literary Romanticism, she’s currently working on a biography of George Sand.

Rosalynn Try-Hane

Trustee

Rosalynn is a writer, film critic and lawyer and currently works as an advisory lawyer for a public regulator. Her other roles include working as a lawyer on the Grenfell Tower Public Inquiry and a broad range of public sector organisations and regulatory roles, largely central government departments. Rosalynn is currently working on her debut memoir. As a film critic and writer, she has written and spoken on various subjects, including the Academy Awards, genre and diversity in film, appearing on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 4.

She is also a trustee of the London Library.

Marianne Velmans

Trustee

Marianne Velmans started her publishing career in the editorial and rights departments at Penguin Books. She then ran the Doubleday Inc. London office for eight years. After that, she launched the Doubleday UK list at Transworld Publishers (now part of Penguin Random House) and headed it up as Publishing Director until her retirement in 2020. The bestselling authors she published include Kate Atkinson, Lee Child, Bill Bryson, Terry Pratchett, Curtis Sittenfeld, Nora Ephron, Meera Syal and Joanne Harris. She is also the co-author of one book, Working Mother: A Practical Handbook.

Ellah P. Wakatama OBE, Hon. FRSL

Trustee

Ellah Wakatama, OBE, Hon. FRSL, is Editor-at-Large at Canongate Books. She serves as the Chair of the Caine Prize for African Writing and sits on the General Committee of the Royal Literary Fund. She is the former deputy editor of Granta magazine, former editor-at-large for Granta books and has also worked as Senior Editor at Jonathan Cape and Assistant Editor at Penguin. Her journalism and reviews have appeared in international publications, including the Guardian, the Observer, the Spectator and NPR. She is a contributor to the New Daughters of Africa anthology and has edited several books, including Safe House, Adventures in Creative Non-fiction and Africa39.

Her Majesty The Queen

Royal Patron

Her Majesty The Queen took on the role of Patron of the Royal Literary Fund from the late Queen Elizabeth II in 2024. Her charity work is varied and covers many organisations within health, literacy, the elderly, victims of rape and sexual abuse and domestic violence, empowering women; food; animals, dance and heritage and the arts. Her other literary patronages include the National Literacy Trust and the Royal Society of Literature.

Photo credit: © Hugo Burnand