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Arts & Culture

Seven Stories appoints new chief executive to help shape its future

Seven Stories has announced that its board of directors have appointed Mairi Kidd as chief executive officer.

The National Centre for Children’s Books made the announcement following its recognition for best lockdown project at the national Museums Change Lives Awards.

Mairi will take up leadership in early 2021.

She brings considerable experience from her previous role at Creative Scotland, where she provided strategic leadership for literature, languages and publishing, and at children’s book publisher Barrington Stoke, where she was managing director.

Chris Pywell, chair of the board of trustees at Seven Stories, said: “In Mairi we have appointed the very best person to lead Seven Stories through a period of exciting sustainable growth.

“The wealth of her experience is vast and covers all of the main areas of our interest.

“She has run an award-winning publishing company; she has excellent relationships with many of our author, illustrator and publishing friends, she has worked in a senior role for a government cultural agency and expertly understands policy and funding; and finally, she is a published author with a passion for literature and literacy.”

Annie Rigby, board member and founder and artistic director of Unfolding Theatre, added: “What sets Mairi apart is her absolute personal passion for children’s literature.

“She intrinsically understands how vital children’s books are. We are delighted to be appointing a chief executive who is so committed to Seven Stories’ mission to celebrate and promote the importance of children’s literature in enriching children and young people’s lives.

“Mairi brings with her deep knowledge and an enlivening vision. We look forward to welcoming her at Seven Stories.”

Commenting on her appointment, Mairi said: “I’m tremendously excited to join Seven Stories in the New Year, at a time when the imaginative escape, challenge and joy offered by books and reading are more vital than ever for children and young people.

“I’ve known the organisation for many years and look forward to helping shape its future programmes, reaching across Newcastle and beyond, and informed and inspired by the world class collection at Seven Stories’ heart.”