BookTrust Chief Executive Diana Gerald awarded MBE in King's Birthday Honours

Published on: 16 June 2023

Diana Gerald, who has been Chief Executive of BookTrust since 2015, is given the honour for services to Reading and Children's Literature.

BookTrust Chief Executive Diana Gerald MBE standing in front of bookshelves

BookTrust Chief Executive Diana Gerald has been awarded an MBE in the King's first Birthday Honours list in recognition of her services to Reading and Children's Literature.

Gerald has been Chief Executive of BookTrust since 2015 and has been instrumental in refocusing the charity's support to reach more children from low-income families, who have the most to gain from developing a regular reading habit.

BookTrust is the largest children's reading charity in the UK, reaching over 1.75 million children across England, Wales and Northern Ireland every year with its books, resources and reading support.

"It is very humbling to be given this honour, " Gerald said. "This is not just an honour for me but a recognition of the work of all BookTrust's staff, Bookstart coordinators and partners at a local level and the librarians, childcare workers, health visitors, teachers, authors, illustrators, donors and publishers who support our work and who collectively make a difference to improving children's lives through reading."

Transforming children's lives through reading

Having grown up surrounded by books as a child herself, Gerald is passionate about transforming children's lives through reading and has seen first-hand the impact reading has on disadvantaged children through her work with BookTrust and previous roles with Ark Schools Group.

At BookTrust, she has spearheaded the development of new teams, embedding expertise in user-centred design, innovation, partnership engagement and research into the charity and transforming its approach to inspiring and engaging children and families.

Over recent years, the charity has substantially increased the number of local partners it works with, improving access to new families and communities in areas of high deprivation and deepening its focus on supporting the development of reading habits in the early years to give children the best start in life.

Sir Michael Morpurgo OBE, author of War Horse, former Children's Laureate and BookTrust President said:

"How wonderful that Diana has been honoured in this way. Few have done more in the country to bring books to children and children to books.

"As a writer and teacher and parent I know how important and significant her work has been. To all of us in the world of books she is the best of colleagues, devoted and inspiring and formidably hard working."

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