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Our Board of Trustees

We are governed by our Board of Trustees, who are responsible for setting our overall strategy and direction, ensuring that we comply with all necessary rules and legal obligations and that we use our resources effectively.

We are also grateful for the long-standing support we receive from our President, who provides vital awareness that helps us to continue to reach those who need books most.

Our President: Nigel Newton

Nigel Newton was born and raised in San Francisco. He read English at Selwyn College, Cambridge and in 1986 started Bloomsbury Publishing. Nigel was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2021 New Year Honours for services to the publishing industry. He is also appointed as President of the Publishers Association.

Nigel has previously served as a member of the Booker Prize Advisory Committee, Chairman of the Charleston Trust, Chair of World Book Day, member of the Publishers Association Council, Trustee of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, Chairman of the British Library Trust, and head of the Selwyn Association.

Book Aid International is a phenomenal organisation with the admirable ambition of bringing books to all. They shape people’s lives through the books they donate and the skills that those books give people.

Dr Alice Prochaska, Chair

Dr Alice Prochaska has led some of the world’s most important libraries and archives. She has served as a board member of the Bodleian Library and Yale University Press, worked at the UK National Archives and as Director of Special Collections at the British Library and led one of the largest research libraries in the world as University Librarian at Yale.

As Chair of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Standing Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations Dr Prochaska joined the fight against the destruction of libraries in areas of conflict. She has a special interest in the preservation of international heritage collections and has published, curated exhibitions and broadcast on topics dealing with archives and libraries.

Dr Prochaska holds the degrees of MA and Doctor of Philosophy in Modern History from the University of Oxford, and she served as Principal of Somerville College Oxford 2010 to 2017. Her other interests include the history of women’s education and diversity in universities, and in her spare time she volunteers with homeless and refugee charities.

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Zainab Umar, Vice Chair

Zainab serves as the communications lead at Elrha, a subsidiary of Save the Children focussed on finding solutions to complex humanitarian problems through research and innovation. She is responsible for disseminating the life-changing impact of the research and innovations work and for shaping Elrha’s media strategy.

She also sits on the Steering Committee for the African Youth Network Movement, incubated by the Mandela Institute for Development Studies.

Zainab has over fifteen years of experience across government, international think tanks and not-for-profit sectors. She also has significant PR and reputation management experience across multiple markets and is a recipient of the 2020 Gold SABRE awards for a public relations campaign. She holds an MA in Public Service Management and a BA in International Relations from London Metropolitan University. 

Nick Allen, Honorary Treasurer

Nick Allen is a geographer and Fellow of Sidney Sussex College at the University of Cambridge. He has extensive experience of the corporate and the charity sectors and has worked in both Africa and Latin America. From 2008 to 2018, he was the Bursar of Sidney Sussex College. While there he was also a Director at the Royal Society Ltd and the Cambridge Business Improvement District.

Prior to this, Nick worked for Unilever in roles in finance, risk management and general management. During this time he spent ten years working with businesses in Africa. In his last two roles at Unilever, he was the UK’s Chief Finance Officer and the Managing Director of Unilever’s Corporate Venturing & Innovation Group. Nick is a member of the Finance, Risk & Audit Committee of Farm Africa.

Pam Dix, Trustee

Pam is a professional librarian and has been a lifelong champion of school libraries and librarians. For 23 years she managed the London Borough of Islington’s Education Library Service, as well as teaching undergraduate and postgraduate courses on children’s literature at London Metropolitan University. She is currently researching the role of illustration in children’s information books. She is Chair of the Akili Trust, a small charity supporting educational development in rural Kenya and also Chair of IBBY UK (International Board on Books for Young People).

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Susan Hutton, Trustee

Susan is a Chartered Institute of Management Accountants qualified accountant. She is currently the Director of Finance & Resources at Womankind Worldwide (since Sept 2023) and in the last 20 years has also held senior positions with London Sport, the Zoological Society of London, Save the Children, BBC Media Action and Restless Development.  Susan is passionate about empowering others and ensuring that her work adds value to organisations working to make a positive difference in people’s lives and also serves as the non-executive Treasurer of Citizens Advice Lewisham.

Dr Anne Makena, Trustee

Dr Anne Makena is the Co-Director of the Africa Oxford Initiative, a platform that facilitates impactful partnerships between Oxford and Africa-based institutions and develops bespoke programmes to support the next generation of African changemakers. Anne completed her DPhil in Chemical Biology as a Rhodes Scholar and is currently taking an Executive MBA. She has worked in building networks for research excellence, bridging the research-impact divide and advising on equity in partnerships. Anne believes in the power of robust education and research ecosystems to build innovative, equitable and prosperous societies.

Charly Nobbs, Trustee

Charly has over 40 years’ experience of warehousing, supply chain, systems and inventory management in the publishing industry. He spent 15 years at Cambridge University Press as Distribution Director and was Vice President of Global Supply Chain at John Wiley & Sons where he was responsible for over 300 staff involved in the global warehousing, distribution and inventory management. Today, Charly heads up an independent global consultancy focussing on supply chain optimisation where he uses his extensive experience of delivering significant and sustainable improvements across local, regional and global supply chains.

Dhivya O’Conner, Trustee

Dhivya O’Connor is a charity leader with 24 years’ experience. She is the CEO of the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women and was previously CEO of The Girls’ Network, United World Schools, Chartered Institute of Fundraising and Children with Cancer UK. She sits on the Steering Committee of Groundbreakers, a network promoting women leaders, and is Governor of a state primary school. She has also held various strategy, business development and leadership roles in the for-profit sector, including at GE Capital, Lloyds Bank, and OctopusTravel (now part of Expedia Group). She is the creator and executive producer of The Charity CEO Podcast and has also volunteered with NGOs in India, South Africa and Cambodia.

Michelle Okwudiafor, Trustee

Michelle Okwudiafor is a strategic communications specialist with over 14 years’ experience in Nigeria and the UK. She currently leads Communication and Engagement at TotalEnergies UK. Michelle has worked on projects aimed at improving basic education, enabling technology and teaching employability skills, including leading the communications strategy for a three year, $2m project providing access to quality education for 15,000 marginalised children in Northern Nigeria. In 2020, Michelle founded Career Invest as part of her work advocating for belonging and inclusion. She regularly delivers workshops on personal branding, inclusion, allyship, confidence and Personal Impact.

More about our team

Our staff

We employ a team of 29 dedicated staff, including two programme team members who are based in Nairobi.

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Our Royal Patron and friends

Our Royal Patron, Vice Patron and celebrity friends help us advocate for the book, raise our profile and reach new book lovers.

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