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Rob Smith

Rob Smith

Director

Rob is responsible the overall direction of Ministry of Stories, leading the organisation with a mixture of mischief and mastery. With a career in the arts and creative learning, Rob is inspired by the ideas and imaginations of children and young people, and the power of their voices to make change in the world. He is also a Director for our magical shop, Hoxton Street Monster Supplies.

Jessica Randall (archive)

Jessica Randall

Writing Programme Leader (Community)

Jessica has over 20 years experience facilitating creative workshops for children and young people. Her background is in youth theatre and she has an MA in Applied Theatre from the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama. As a playwright (Jessica Fisher), she won the 2010 Nick Darke Award and Pilot Theatre’s 2012 Generation Zed competition. Jessica’s play Ghost Town toured nationally in 2014. More recently, she has had prose published in Aesthetica Magazine’s annual anthology.

Miriam Nash

Miriam Nash

Writing Programme Leader (Schools)

Miriam Nash is a poet, creative educator and producer with over 10 years’ experience of working with children and young people. She has published two books of poetry, Small Change (flipped eye) and All the Prayers in the House (Bloodaxe), which won a Somerset Maugham Award from the Society of Authors. She was a Fulbright Scholar at Sarah Lawrence College in New York where she completed an MFA in Creative Writing. Miriam became a poet thanks to her first mentor, Jacob Sam-La Rose, and now supports new writers and educators in turn. She is currently working on her first novel.

Gem Carmella

Gem Ahmet

Writing Facilitator

Gem is a creative powerhouse with a passion for educating and empowering young people and marginalised voices. She’s also worked professionally as a performer, writer, producer and film festival director and aims to bring joy and laughter into every project she undertakes. She was Ministry of Stories’ first ever writing facilitator and recently developed our comedy sketch writing programme in schools.

Dr. Keith Jarrett

Dr. Keith Jarrett

Writing Facilitator

Keith is a poet, fiction writer, playwright and educator. He is the author of two books of poetry, Selah (Burning Eye Books, 2017) and I Speak Home (Eyewear, 2015) and the play Safest Spot in Town (2017). He holds a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of London, exploring Caribbean Pentecostal culture in London. He developed Ministry of Stories’ speech writing programme, Speak Up.

Sandra Agard

Sandra A. Agard

Writing Facilitator

Sandra is a storyteller, writer, playwright, poet and cultural historian. She has worked in a range of organisations including art galleries, community groups, forests and libraries. Sandra was the Centenary Storyteller for the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre. Sandra has led our community programmes, including the Awfully Bad Guide to Monster Travel series with fellow facilitator Laila. Sandra’s non-fiction book, ‘Trailblazers: Harriet Tubman’ was released in 2019.

Laila Sumpton 

Laila Sumpton 

Writing Facilitator

Laila is a writing facilitator, singer and performance poet supporting writers of all ages in schools, hospitals, museums and libraries. She also can be found working in youth peace-building projects in Bosnia. Laila led on our Migration Tales and Ancient African and Asian Kingdoms projects, as well as the Awfully Bad Guide to Monster Travel series with fellow facilitator Sandra.

Charlotte Cromie

Charlotte Cromie

Writing Facilitator

Charlotte has volunteered with the Ministry since 2014 in all kinds of roles, including facilitating storymaking workshops. She’s an obsessive writer, mainly for theatre, and believes that writing is one of the healthiest obsessions you can develop.

Linden McMahon

Linden Katherine McMahon

Writing Facilitator

Linden is a poet, performer, fiction writer and facilitator who most recently led our after school club at Morpeth School. They also like baking elaborate desserts, making pottery and reading sci fi novels, and first joined the team as a volunteer writing mentor in 2018.

Madeleine Maggs

Madeleine Maggs

Writing Facilitator

Mads is facilitator, performer and story teller with a background in creative education. Her teaching practice is rooted in imagination, participation and fun, leading her to work in schools, forests, caravans, canal boats…and most recently behind the secret door of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies to conjure stories with young writers through storymaking. 

Kirsty Telford

Deputy Director

Kirsty loves things to be shipshape and reach their full potential. She believes that each and every person has the power to transform their community. Kirsty has a background in fundraising, participation and service delivery, gained through almost 20 years in the charity world. Her ambition is to help create fantastic relationships with our volunteers, funders and shoppers, so that we can support more children to discover their talent.

Alistair Hall 1

Alistair Hall

Art Director

Alistair, one of the co-founders of the Ministry of Stories, is responsible for our overall look, as well as that of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies; he also oversees a team of fantastic volunteer designers. He has been running his own graphic design studio, We Made This, for more than fifteen years.

Lucy Macnab (archive) 3

Emily Murdock

Trading & Administration Manager

Throughout childhood Emily longed to someday run a shop selling supplies for monsters and could hardly believe it when she discovered such a shop existed right on her doorstep in Shoreditch.  Emily has worked in community conflict resolution and counselling, including as a volunteer counsellor with children with the Place2Be.

Hannah Keville

Development Manager

Hannah has worked as a fundraiser, artist and youth facilitator for all kinds of arts organisations (festivals, roman forts, circuses – you name it) for 10 years. Her creative writing skills are a bit rusty but she has fond memories of writing and illustrating her own books as a child that were basically rip-offs of The Worst Witch. She’s keen to learn a thing or two from our young writers and in return raise lots of funds to support their work.

Jessica Digby

Jessica Digby

Marketing Manager

Jessica looks after marketing and communications for the Ministry and is responsible for helping share the Ministry’s story and the amazing stories by its wonderful writers with the world. She believes that you can change the world by picking up your pen and writing.

Lottie Rugg-Easey

Lottie Rugg-Easey

Development Coordinator

Lottie has worked in fundraising in the arts for several years. She recently moved back to London from Sheffield after being inspired by the Ministry of Stories and its mission to champion young writers. Lottie will be developing the Ministry’s business and community partnerships, enabling its work to reach further and wider: East London’s young people have amazing stories to tell.

Ozlem Yikici

Ozlem Yikici

Volunteer Coordinator

A creative soul at heart, Oz has reluctantly pursued work in every other industry but the arts. Then something magical happened one day, a mysterious opportunity appeared in her inbox.  The rest, well let’s say it will be history…

Régis Cochefert

Régis Cochefert

Chair

Régis joined Ministry of Stories as Chair in 2015, the same year he became Director of Grants and Programmes at Paul Hamlyn Foundation. Having joined PHF in 2005, he previously was Head of Arts and then also managed the Education and Learning programme. Prior to joining PHF, he was Head of External Relations and then Opera General Administrator at Aldeburgh Productions (now called Britten Pears Music). Before then he co-founded the French Theatre Season (1995-97). Régis is a trustee of the John Lyon’s Charity and the Ragdoll Foundation; and a council member of the London Sinfonietta. He previously chaired Tamasha Theatre Company and has also been a trustee of the Young Vic Theatre and King’s Place Music Foundation. He is a graduate of the Institut d’Etudes Politiques in Lyon, France and is a member of our Finance and Fundraising and Business and Programme Sub Committees.

Simon Mott-Cowan

Simon Mott-Cowan

Vice Chair; Chair of Finance & Fundraising Sub Com

Simon has been with HW Fisher since 2003 and is head of the firm’s audit department. His expertise spans both external and internal auditing along with the preparation of financial statements, as well as general business advice. His portfolio of clients spans a broad range of sectors including property, technology, media, professional practices and hospitality. Much of his work includes strategic business and commercial advice to owner managed entities. Simon joined the Ministry of Stories Board in 2015 and chairs our Finance and Fundraising Sub Committee.

Michaela Greene

Michaela Greene

Vice Chair

Michaela is the Development and Communications Director at the Roundhouse and following a brief period in the commercial sector has nearly 20 years’ experience in the charity and arts sector. Having started her fundraising career at the National Theatre she moved into the charity sector before joining the Roundhouse in 2012. Michaela joined Ministry of Stories as Vice Chair in 2016 and is a member of our Finance and Fundraising and Business and Programme Sub Committees. She also holds the role of trustee at UN Women UK.

Anya Zhuravkina

Anya Zhuravkina

Chair of Business & Programme Sub Com

Anya does what the Ministry of Stories does for children, just for adults. And she’s done this throughout her career. As the founder of Winning Language Ltd, she helps companies change the conversations they have with their customers and teams by changing their language. As a Language Director at KPMG, she helped people win work by making their words more compelling. As Account Director at The Writer, she helped to change culture in multinationals by changing how people write and speak. She’s a firm believer in the positive power of language to change people, businesses and children’s prospects. Anya joined the Ministry of Stories Board in 2019.

Mina Patria

Mina Patria

Trustee; and Director of Hoxton Street Monster Supplies

Mina has worked as Publisher/Publishing Director at companies including BBC, Guinness World Records, Berlitz and Lonely Planet. She is also a visiting lecturer for the MA Publishing programme at City University and is working on developing and assessing the standard for the new Publishing Apprenticeship. Mina is passionate about storytelling and its potential to open up a world of possibilities and opportunities. After all, our journeys begin with the stories we create and those we encounter, and with that in mind, she is also following her other passion – to create stories. Mina joined the Board in 2018 and became a Director for Hoxton Street Monster Supplies the following year.

Amrita Das

Amrita Das

Trustee

Amrita is the founder of Freedom School, which aims to help people thrive through resilience and mindset coaching programmes. Brand builder, storyteller and yogi, who has worked in the US, Shanghai and now London, Amrita has held leadership roles in global creative agencies, scaling businesses using her skills in brand strategy, advertising and digital product and service innovation. She is also a former CMO of the Careers and Enterprise Company, a government funded social enterprise helping young people with their social mobility. Amrita believes creativity and empathy can change the world, especially if we give platforms to young people, which is why the Ministry of Stories’ mission is so critical. Amrita joined the Board in 2014.

Duncan Kilty

Duncan Kilty

Trustee

Duncan is Deputy Headteacher at Grazebrook Primary School in Hackney. He has worked in schools in Newham, Tower Hamlets and Hackney for more than ten years and has a deep understanding of both the challenges faced by young Londoners and their amazing potential. Duncan is committed to ensuring that creativity and imagination retain their central place in children’s education due to its essential role in their development into empathetic, articulate and emotionally-literate adults. Duncan is very proud to be a trustee of the Ministry of Stories, whose aims are so close to his heart. Duncan joined the Board in 2016.

Nick Makoha

Nick Makoha

Trustee

Nick is a poet, playwright. His debut Kingdom of Gravity was shortlisted for the Felix Dennis Prize and nominated by The Guardian as one of the best books of 2017. A Cave Canem Graduate Fellow and Complete Works Alumni. He won the 2015 Brunel prize and 2016 Derricotte & Eady Prize for his pamphlet Resurrection Man.  He was the 2019 Writer-in-Residence for The Wordsworth Trust and Wasafiri.  His play The Dark was directed by JMK award-winner Roy Alexander. His poems appeared in The New York Times, Poetry Review, Rialto, Poetry London, Triquarterly Review, Boston Review, Callaloo, and Wasafiri. Nick joined the Board in 2017.

Piers Torday

Piers Torday

Trustee

Piers Torday writes books and plays for children. Books include The Last Wild trilogy (Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize) and The Lost Magician series (Teach Primary Book Award). Plays include the world stage premiere of John Masefield’s The Box of Delights and Christmas Carol: a fairy tale (Wilton’s Music Hall). He co-founded the Paul Torday Memorial Prize for Debut Novelists Over 60. He is also an Associate Artist at Wilton’s, a Trustee of the Unicorn Theatre, a Patron of Shrewsbury Bookfest, a Reading Helper with Coram Beanstalk, and is passionate about helping children seize the life changing freedom of their imagination. Piers joined the Ministry of Stories as a trustee in 2017.

Shân Maclennan

Shân Maclennan

Trustee

Shân is an arts educator and programmer committed to equality of opportunity. She worked in the Education team at Southbank Centre in London for over twenty five years and as Deputy Artistic Director for the last five. She pioneered the innovative use of indoor and outdoor public space as a place for learning and participation which became one of the defining features of the organisation and also brought the organisation’s archival and library collections into imaginative public use. Shân worked previously in education and programming at Southampton City Art Gallery and Wrexham Library Arts Centre and was the one of the co-founders of The Collective Gallery in Edinburgh. She now works freelance and is the Chair of Engage, the National Association for Gallery Education. Shân joined the Board in 2018 and is a member of the Business and Programme Sub Committee.

Sue Horner

Sue Horner

Trustee

The power of creative writing to make a difference to young people’s lives inspires Sue’s longstanding commitment to Ministry of Stories and its exciting and imaginative work with children. Her commitment to young people and creative writing began early in her career as an English teacher and continued through to her last post as Director of Curriculum for England. Sue serves on the board of Coventry University and an education charity in Rwanda. Sue joined the Board in 2014 and is a member of our Business and Programme Sub Committee.

Nick Hornby

Nick is the author of six novels, including High Fidelity and About a Boy. He has also written three works of non-fiction, including Fever Pitch. He wrote the screenplay for the film An Education, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. Nick was a journalist and an English teacher before becoming a writer.

Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh is the author of Coconut Unlimited, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010, and Meatspace. In 2013 he released The Time Machine, which won the Best Novella at the Sabotage Awards. His short stories have featured in Best British Short Stories 2013, The Sunday Times and BBC Radio 4. 

Inua Ellams

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is an award winning poet, playwright & founder of the Midnight Run. Identity, Displacement & Destiny are reoccurring themes in his work in which he mixes the old with the new, traditional with the contemporary. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic, Nine Arches & Oberon.

Sophie Kinsella

Sophie is the author of novels The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and the best-selling Shopaholic series. Her books have been translated into over 30 languages her novel Confessions of a Shopaholic was adapted into a film starring Isla Fisher.

Laura Dockrill

Laura is a performance poet, author, illustrator and short story writer. She is the author of the series of books ‘Darcy Burdock’ for young readers.

Riz Ahmed

Riz is an actor and rapper known for his roles in films Shifty and Four LionsAs Riz MC, he has been championed by BBC Radio1 – on the ‘Introducing’ stage at Glastonbury, the Electric Proms, and a Maida Vale session – and toured the USA, playing shows from Fabric to the Royal Festival Hall with the likes of Massive Attack, Nitin Sawhney, Dizzee Rascal, and Mos Def.

Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson is an author, actor, comedian and writer for television and radio. He wrote the Young Bond series, which has now sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages. Charlie is a huge fan of horror films and books, and even studied gothic literature at university. 

David Nicholls

David is the author of four novels including One Day and Us. His TV credits include penning an updated version of Much Ado About Nothing with Damien Lewis and Sarah Parrish and an acclaimed adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles starring Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne. He has been twice nominated for BAFTA awards.

Meera Syal

Meera Syal is a writer, comedian, playwright and actress. She co-writes and is a cast member of the popular BBC Television comedy series ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and The Kumars at No. 42′. She also works as a journalist and is a regular contributor to The Guardian.

Zadie Smith

Zadie is the author of four novels including ‘White Teeth’ and ‘On Beauty’ which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Rohan Silva

Co-founder of Second Home and and co-founder and chairman of Spacious, Rohan was formerly a senior policy adviser for the government.

Linda Thompson

Born in Hackney, Linda became one of the most recognised names and voices in the British folk rock movement of the 1970s and 1980s, in collaboration with her then husband and fellow British folk rock musician, guitarist Richard Thompson, and later as a solo artist.

Charlie Leadbeater

Charles is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book ‘We-think: the power of mass creativity’.

Dominic Cooper

Dominic is an actor known for his roles in, among others, ‘History boys’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘An Education’ and ‘The Dutchess’.

Rachel Cooke

Rachel is a journalist and writer. Born in Sheffield, the daughter of a university lecturer, Cooke attended Oxford University, before beginning her career as a reporter for The Sunday Times.

Kerri Ratcliffe

Kerri is an American who has been residing in London for 15 years. Kerri worked in finance for HSBC and Morgan Stanley, and then had a 15 year career as an administrator for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  Since moving to London she has been active in a variety of nonprofit organisations involved in education, theatre, and youth sports.

Cathy Dishner

Cathy is an expat living in London. Her work experience ranges from corporate advertising, PR, and marketing to extensive volunteer work and Board leadership positions for local and national charities.

Maureen Smith

Maureen is a US lawyer who has been living in London for 7 years.  Maureen works as a volunteer advisor for Zacchaeus 2000 Trust representing individuals with debt and housing issues.

Charles Leadbeater

Charles is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book We-think: the power of mass creativity.

Liam Maxwell

Liam is Chief Technology Officer for the British Government.  His team within the Government Digital Service is responsible for technical leadership across government and for identifying the technologies required to deliver great digital public services.

Charlotte Appleyard

Charlotte is Director of Development at the Royal Academy of Arts. She previously worked as Director of Creative Development at Outset Contemporary Art Fund, and in the curatorial departments at The National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. 

Liz Kanter

Liz is a Government Relations expert with 20 years experience working in the tech industry in the U.S. and UK. She is passionate about increasing opportunities for young people in STEM subjects and more broadly through organisations like the Ministry of Stories.