We are looking for more ambassadors and support to help encourage children reading from an early age. If you would like to help, please don’t hesitate to contact

Current Ambassadors

Jenny Agutter

Jenny Agutter was born in Taunton in the English West Country. The daughter of a British army officer, she spent her childhood visiting and living in many different countries, including Germany, Singapore and Cyprus. Back in England, she trained at Elmhurst Ballet School and at the age of eleven was cast as a young dancer in Walt Disney’s film Ballerina. A number of television and film roles followed.

Jenny’s keen interest in photography led to the publication of a book of photographs and words in which she gives a personal view of LA and London. Snap was published in 1983 by Quartet.

Among Jenny’s many audio recordings of books are The Secret Garden (winner of the Spoken Word Award for best children’s book), Music and Silence, Bad Blood and Mrs Robinson's Disgrace. 

Jenny's most recent film appearance is in Avengers Assemble released in 2012. She is currently playing Sister Julienne in the hit BBC TV Drama Call the Midwife - recently voted the Best Drama of the 21st Century.

Christina Gabbitas Author & Director

Poet, Voiceover and Storyteller

Christina Gabbitas is an award winning English children’s author, poet, storyteller and voiceover artist. She is best known for her rhyming books. Growing up she loved to read poetry and rhymes. She started writing after having her own children and particularly focussed on stories which would help them overcome their fears and fears that she had, had as a child.

Books include the Felicity Fly series Triangular Trev and safeguarding book Share Some Secrets Share Some Secrets has been endorsed by the NSPCC and Barnardo's Free copies are in the NSPCC Library. The story is being brought to life by animation with Sheffield Hallam University students and will be a free resource for children, parents and teachers, launched October 2017.

Christina set up a national poetry initiative in 2013 that has now encouraged over 17,000 children to 'have a go' at writing poetry, picking up The Peoples Book Prize Dame Beryl Bainbridge Award in 2015. Details can be found here

For all her collective work aimed at helping and encouraging children, Christina picked up the Sue Ryder, Yorkshire Women of Achievement in Education, May 2016. Also a People's Book Prize Finalist for four consecutive years from 2013-2017.

Twitter: @christigabbitas

Michael "Mickey" Bradley

Michael "Mickey" Bradley (born 13 August 1959) is the bassist for the The Undertones. Bradley is also a radio producer for BBC Radio Foyle and presented a one-hour programme on Radio Ulster: "After Midnight with Mickey". The show featured tracks from the new wave/punk era. Bradley now presents a show titled "The Mickey Bradley Record Show" which airs from 8pm to 10pm every Tuesday night on BBC Radio Ulster.

In 2016, Bradley wrote a book called Teenage Kicks: My Life As an Undertone. A Peoples Book Prize Finalist in 2017.

Bradley also shares his birthday with former Undertones frontman Feargal Sharkey.

Bradley was born in Derry, County Londonderry Northern Ireland, and is married to Elaine Duffy. Together they have four children: Alice (22), Frank (21), May (19) and Jim (10).[3] Frank is in a jazz fusion rock band 'The Kashmir Krows' in which he plays drums and is the father to twin girls (4) Roxanne and Gucci.

Dr Stephen Fear

Ambassador and Entrepreneur in Residence at the British Library from 2012 to 2016

Dr Stephen Fear  is an English entrepreneur and businessman with an established property empire and business interests in many industries, such as green technology, I.T. care homes, hotels and manufacturing. Stephen was born in Bristol and brought up on a Council Estate in a suburb of the city. He was the youngest of four children, having three older half-sisters.. Having held a very poor attendance record at school – Fear is essentially self-educated through his lifelong love of reading.

Tatiana Wilson

Founder of The People’s Book Prize

Tatiana came up with the idea of an online and democratic prize to give equal opportunity to publishers and authors, based purely on talent and ability. It is Tatiana’s ambition to use the People’s Book Prize and Teach a Friend To Read And Write to help eradicate illiteracy. is the perfect place to find, support and promote new and undiscovered books.  The book prize decided exclusively by the public.  YOU are the Jury.  The public choose the next bestsellers.

Alex Howard


Alex Howard is perusing a PhD in English Literature. His novel Library Cat was a Blackwell’s bestseller and recently earned him the Beryl Bainbridge First Time Author Award. He has had poetry published widely in journals such as The London Magazine,Cadaverine and Gutter, and is the winner of the Red Cross International Writing Prize. He has performed his work at theScottish Slam Championships, the Hidden Door Festival and the Edinburgh International Book Festival. The nephew of Children’s Author Jana Novotny Hunter, Alex enjoys spending his spare time reading to his own nieces and nephews, and sharing the passion for storytelling that was instilled within him from a young age.


Twitter: @ajhowardwriter


Salma Zaman

Children's Author & Bollywood Dance Teacher

Salma Zaman is a children’s writer, bollywood teacher, choreographer, fitness instructor and the founder and artistic director of Salma’s Bollywood Academy (SBA), the first ever British-Asian Bollywood dance academy for the North of England. Salma has been teaching for many years. She provides professional educational school workshops for all ages, levels, and abilities all around the UK and abroad.

As well as writing for her local paper, Salma has appeared on Coronation Street, BBC1, BBC2, BBC3, ITV, Channel 4 - Identity with Donny Osmond and choreographed and performed for bollywood stars. In addition, to this Salma has choreographed pop videos and worked on several British films.

For further information, to book author visits or dance workshops, or to order copies of any of
her books, including Bollywood princess, please log onto
Or email

Donavan Christopher


Donavan has been writing poetry seriously for the past 15 years as a tool for self - expression and to tackle social problems via the sports participation and cultural equality (SPACE) project in Huddersfield. As D.BO.

He is currently working with young people on Rap poetry educational projects. Themes include respect of self and others and an insight to cultural diversity around the world we all share. Dealing with all types of difficult issues promoting Respect all people he engages the youngsters giving them the forum to share and discuss views, helping them capture and express their thoughts an imagination in a safe environment all done in a fun way


Hilary Robinson

Children's Author

Hilary Robinson is a freelance BBC radio producer and the author of over 50 picture books for children.  She is best known for Mixed Up Fairy Tales and for Where The Poppies Now Grow, a moving story in rhyme written to help children engage with World War 1. She specialises in stories to help the wellbeing and mental health of children.  The Copper Tree series, based on a group of children who are experiencing various challenges such as bereavement and divorce, will be launched in the U.S. in 2016.

As a radio producer Hilary has adapted Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo for BBC Radio 2.  The series was read by Robson Green. To mark the bicentenary of the abolition of the transatlantic slave trade she produced Hang A Thousand Tree With Ribbons,the true story of Phyllis Wheatley, a slave who became a published poet, and read by Oscar nominated actor, Sophie Okonedo,


Rachel Kelly

Chief Executive, Reading Matters,

Rachel was appointed as CEO in 2012, having joined Reading Matters in 2009. Her background is in quality, management and training in the private sector, and latterly childcare and education. Rachel is also a nationally elected board member of ACEVO (Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations), trustee of the Bradford book-gifting charity, Canterbury Imagine, which is affiliated to the Dolly Parton Foundation, and a member of the steering groups for the National Literacy Trust Bradford Literacy Hub and PageTurners Reading Festival. She has been a judge for various writing competitions including Radio 2’s 500 Words and An Invitation to Capture the Primary School Nation by Christina Gabbitas. Rachel is passionate about Reading Matters’ social mission to improve reading skills and motivate children and young people to reach their potential by becoming confident and enthusiastic readers and spreads the word wherever she goes! Rachel can be found on Twitter @RachelKKelly

Julie Fulton


Julie predominantly writes picture books, but also enjoys trying chapter books and is busy editing a middle grade novel.

She has had four picture books published by Maverick Arts Publishing and the fifth - Bossy Jonathan Fossy - will be out in March 2016.   Julie is a member of SCBWI (Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators), The Golden Egg Academy and the Society of Authors. She also enjoys being a part of two active picture book critique groups.   When not writing (or working on the allotment, or reading, or narrow boating, or cooking, or dancing, or singing….), Julie teaches piano, woodwind and singing. She qualified as a reflexologist and Reiki master teacher, but just shares these with friends now and feels it will stay that way unless someone works out how to squash 18 hours into every day. You can find out even more about Julie at

Carol E Wyer


Having written a series of educational yet amusing books for children, Carol E. Wyer turned her attention to the adult market in 2010 when her son flew from the nest.

Currently writing a series of novels and articles aimed at the ‘older’ woman and man, Carol is also engaged in writing by-line articles and posts for magazines and websites including Take A Break, Woman's Weekly and the Huffington Post.

She has appeared on over fifty BBC radio stations, several international radio stations, NBC and SKY television and BBC Breakfast television discussing age-related subjects such as ‘Irritable Male Syndrome’ and ‘Grumpy Old Menopause’. Her writing style has been described frequently by the media as 'witty' or 'humorous' and has even been compared to the acerbic wit of Jeremy Clarkson and the humour of Robin Williams.

In May 2015, her non-fiction book Grumpy Old Menopause won The People's Book Prize award for non-fiction.

Giles Paley-Philips


Giles was born in East Sussex in 1977 and grew up on the south coast. He neglected his education to pursue a career in music and spent a number of years performing extensively around the UK, including slots at the Glastonbury festival. His book 'THE FEARSOME BEASTIE' (Maverick Arts Publishing) has now sold over 70,000 copies and won The People's Book Prize 2012 and The Heart Of Hawick Children's Book Award 2013, Bizziebaby Gold Award and was Highly Commended in The Forward National Literature Award in the US, It was also Shortlisted for The Rotherham Children's Awards 2012.

The Summer of 2016 will see the release of a CG animated short film of 'The Fearsome Beastie' produced by Slurpy Studios in collaboration with UCA and directed by Katie Steed and Jon Hunt and starring Brian Blessed and Alison Steadman.

Ric Lumb


Ric is a freelance children's book illustrator and also a graphic artist for video games. From an engineering background, originally working in the drawing office of a manufacturing firm, Ric spent his spare time drawing cartoons and making video games. Studying graphic design and professional cartooning at college, Ric eventually made a move into the creative industries.

Ric has worked on very varied projects in his capacity as a freelance designer, working for clients like AOL on their games and has also produced video games and comic books of his own with a strong emphasis on his cartoony style. More recently he has been given the opportunity to illustrate children's story books written by award winning children's author Christina Gabbitas as well as volumes of her Children's Poetry initiative books written by school children. Ric has now self-published some of his own work through Amazon. "A Knight Before Christmas" and a picture book aimed at younger children called "I Want Puppy"

For more of Ric's work please visit

Ian Stockton

Ian Stockton is a practical theologian and educator, who studied at Cambridge, Nottingham and Hull. His published writings are academic are academic articles and workbooks, but he also writes poetry and creates stories impromptu and written for children. He grew up in a "slum clearance" miners' cottage in North Staffordshire, and his English mother could neither read nor write. His father encouraged learning and his Scots' mother told him stories from her homeland. He has loved reading and writing all his life, and is currently the residentiary canon responsible for education at Blackburn Cathedral.

Illustrator Spotlight

Ursula Hurst (illustrator)

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Upcoming Festivals


Jan-Apr - An invitation to capture the primary school nation

13-24 Feb - Imagine Childrens Festival

21-23 Feb - Brentwood Children's Literary Festival

26 - 30 Mar - Selby Children's Literature Festival FREE

1-31 Mar - Essex Book Festival

21-31 Mar - Huddersfield Literature Festival

14-24 Mar - Bourneville Bookfest

30 Mar - 7 Apr - Oxford Literary Festival

18 - 22 Jun - Blackburn Literature Festival - FREE

Find out when the next Reading Festival is taking place on the full festivals listing page

View Listings