Spread the Word announces Aimée Felone and Simon Richardson as new Co-Chairs


Spread the Word has appointed Aimée Felone of Knights Of, and Simon Richardson, radio producer and arts journalist, as co-Chairs of the charity, alongside a raft of new Trustee appointments.

Celebrating our 25th anniversary in 2023, Spread the Word has advocated for and developed the careers and creative talents of London’s underrepresented writers, including Tice Cin, Santanu Bhattacharya, Natasha Brown and Henry Fry, and helped to change the systems that create underrepresentation. The new co-Chairs mark a new chapter for us as we move ahead with ambitious plans supported by Arts Council England which focus on continuing to provide accessible programmes for writers and communities and opening new growth, commissioning and community opportunities in the charity’s home borough of Lewisham, helping to pave the way towards a physical base for London’s underrepresented writers.

Aimée Felone, co-Chair, says: “I’m honoured and excited to be appointed as co-Chair alongside Simon Richardson at such a pivotal time at Spread the Word. Being born and raised and still a proud resident of the Borough of Lewisham, I’m eager to put the learnings, achievements and ambitions of the past 25 years of the organisation into seeing Lewisham being declared as the UK’s first borough of Literature. Spread the Word have been leaders in literature development and have served as forerunners in bringing inclusive minded programming and opportunities to London’s residents. The next three years will be fundamental to ensuring our community led creative aims are realised.”

Simon Richardson, co-Chair, says: “I’m very excited to take up the role of co-Chair at Spread the Word. Under Ruth Harrison’s leadership the organisation’s research and campaigns have set the agenda around access to writing for as long as I can remember. The national network of Arts Council England-funded Literature Development Agencies, of which Spread the Word is part, represents incredible value for money and nowhere is that work more urgent than in London where the inequality of the sector is most apparent. I’m also really looking forward to working with our new co-Chair Aimée Felone, a publishing innovator whose career I’ve been following for years in my work at the BBC.”

Ruth Harrison, Director of Spread the Word, says: “I’d like to thank outgoing Chair Rishi Dastidar and Trustee Sandeep Mahal for all their work and passion in helping deliver our mission as a literature development charity, ensuring that we get to see, hear and read stories by writers representative of the communities in which we live and work. I’m excited to be working with Spread the Word’s new co-Chairs Aimée Felone and Simon Richardson as we build on our history and track-record of advocating for and supporting underrepresented writers and move forward with our ambitious plans with equity, access and community at the heart of the work we will be doing.”

Spread the Word also welcomes new trustees Hayley Steed, Senior Literary Agent at Madeleine Milburn Literary Agency, Sherifa Ibitola, a freelance consultant, disability advocate and activist dedicated to access, inclusion and diversity and April Yee, a writer and translator, to its board.

Hayley Steed says: “I’m so honoured to be joining the board of Spread the Word. Working with them in my capacity as an agent has been so inspiring – the work they do is invaluable, and the writers who benefit from their support are brimming with talent, and I’m looking forward to helping further and supporting the team in any way I can.”

Sherifa Ibitola says: “I’m keen to use my knowledge and lived experience to add to the outstanding work that Spread the Word is doing to make literature accessible and inclusive to all.”

April Yee says: “Spread the Word helped me early in my writing journey, and I’m thrilled to be able to give back.”

Spread the Word will mark our 25-year anniversary in 2023 by continuing to work with our communities of writers, partners, networks and supporters to support and advocate for London’s underrepresented writers to create and get their work into the world during challenging social, financial and political times.

You can read more about our new Co-Chairs and Trustees here.


Published 25 January 2023