12 Jun 2014 / Chief Executive

From Ruth Borthwick, Chief Executive, Arvon

Arvon is at a very special moment in its 46 year old history as we say goodbye to a remarkable Chair, Nigel Pantling and welcome his successor, Alistair Burtenshaw.

Under Nigel’s nine year leadership Arvon has grown into the UK’s leading creative writing charity, working with 2000 writers a year.  Nigel has been a charismatic champion for Arvon and all aspects of its work, particularly with young, underprivileged people.  He stood on the same platform as Alan Davey, Arts Council’s Chief Executive, last month as we opened the magnificently renovated Regency house in Shropshire, The Hurst, the former home of playwright John Osborne, now a stylish, accessible, sustainable writers’ house fit for the 21st century.  Everyone at Arvon wishes Nigel huge success in his new life as a published poet, and we thank him for all his herculean effort on behalf of writers everywhere.

Now I am delighted to welcome Alistair as the new Chair of Arvon. He brings a tremendous experience  from his pioneering work at her London Bookfair, which opened it up to an international audience, to his current role at Charleston, another inspiring house associated with great writers. His love of literature and his passion for making links across borders to create new opportunities for more people to enjoy the power of writing, makes him a wonderful choice as new Chair for Arvon.  The whole organisation is looking forward to working with him to extend Arvon’s vision even further.


Alistair Burtenshaw biography

Alistair Burtenshaw is Director of The Charleston Trust, the charity responsible for Charleston, the Bloomsbury Group house-museum, the Charleston Festival and Small Wonder Short Story Festival. A Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts, Alistair is also Director of Publishing Connections Ltd, a consultancy that supports organisations in the books and arts sectors. An alumnus of Yale University’s Leadership Strategies for Book Publishing course, Advisory Board Member for the Oxford International Centre for Publishing Studies and media commentator, Alistair has spoken around the globe on issues related to the global books and publishing sector.

Formerly Trustee, Deputy Chair and Chair of Book Trust and President of Honour of the 2013 Paris Cookbook Fair, Alistair was Director of The London Book Fair, the world’s leading spring publishing event for twelve years. He was also Director of Books and Publishing (Worldwide) at Reed Exhibitions, during which time he had responsibility for the strategy and business development focus of Reed Exhibitions’ portfolio of leading book fairs in Europe, North and Latin America and Asia – which included The London Book Fair.

Alistair has served on the boards of the Book Trade Charity and English PEN and was a founding committee member of the Financial Times Business Book of the Year Award, former Chair of the Publisher of the Year Award and a judge of the Bookseller Industry Awards.


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