Seven Stories, The National Centre for Children’s Books announced today that its Board of Directors has appointed Mairi Kidd as Chief Executive Officer.
Mairi will take up leadership of Seven Stories early in 2021. She will bring considerable experience from her previous roles at Creative Scotland providing strategic leadership for literature, languages and publishing and at children’s book publisher Barrington Stoke where she was Managing Director.
Chris Pywell, Chair of Board of Trustees 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 said: “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.”
Mairi Kidd 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.
Mairi Kidd Biography
Mairi was Head of Literature, Languages and Publishing at Creative Scotland, the development body for the arts and creative industries in Scotland. Providing strategic leadership and championing arts sector provision, Mairi supported a network of Regularly Funded Organisations and worked within a network of partnerships across the arts, creative industries and government to develop Scottish literature.
Mairi was formerly Managing Director of Barrington Stoke, a prize-winning independent publisher specialising in accessible fiction titles for children and young people. Here Mairi worked with an impressive roster of authors and illustrators which included UK Children’s Laureates Michael Morpurgo, Julia Donaldson, Michael Rosen, Quentin Blake, Malorie Blackman, Anne Fine and Chris Riddell. She has a particular commitment to breaking down barriers to reading and promoting equalities in publishing and has spoken and written on publishing philosophy, inclusive design and editorial approaches in the media and at festivals including Hay, Cheltenham and Edinburgh. She has lectured in publishing at the University of Stirling and has provided consultancy on children’s publishing, equalities, interpretation and education to a range of clients including Amnesty International UK, The Forestry Commission and the National Trust for Scotland.
Mairi is an author of published fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. Her latest book Feisty and Fiery and Fierce: Badass Celtic Women to Live Your Life by from Scotland, Ireland and Wales was published by Black & White Publishing in September 2020. She is also a stage and screenwriter with credits including BAFTA-nominated drama ‘Elvis.
Mairi is a fluent Gaelic speaker with an MA Honours degree in Celtic Studies from Edinburgh University.