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News story

We announce Joanna Prior as our new Chair of Trustees

21 Mar 2022

Joanna Prior

We are delighted to formally welcome Joanna Prior as our new Chair. Joanna is a leading figure in publishing, steering the strategic growth of Penguin General Books into an award-winning publishing house over the last twelve years. She joins Pan Macmillan as CEO on 4 April.

Joanna is passionate about the wider literacy sector. She has 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 fostered our strong relationship with the publisher. In particular, she focused on delivering outcomes in the North East and worked with colleagues on creating vibrant primary school library spaces. Since 2014, Joanna has held a trustee role at our charity, serving as Vice Chair before acceding to the role of Chair.

Joanna replaces Dame Julia Cleverdon DCVO, CBE, who served as our Chair since 2013. Julia is a passionate and practical campaigner with an international reputation for inspiring individuals and organisations from business, government, education and civil society. For 16 years, Julia also served as Chief Executive of Business in the Community, and as Chair and latterly Vice Patron of Teach First.

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

“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.”

Joanna Prior

“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.”

Dame Julia Cleverdon, CBE
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