David Roche has been appointed chair of the board at New Writing North, the development agency for creative writing and reading for the North of England.
Roche has previously worked as c.e.o. of Borders and as group sales and marketing director of HarperCollins. Roche chaired the Booksellers Association and Publishers Association Liaison Group from 2003 to 2005 and was president of the Booksellers Association from 2005 to 2007. He now runs his own company, David Roche Enterprises Ltd, and acts as a consultant, literary agent and non-executive director.
Roche joins other new board members including Joanna Ellis, partner at The Literary Platform; Lee Mason, commissioning editor at Channel 4; theatre and television director Sarah Punshon; Jerome de Groot, senior lecturer in English Literature at Manchester University; and writers Ian McMillan, Michael Chaplin and Niel Bushnell.
Roche said he is "absolutely delighted" to be joining New Writing North. He said: "Claire and her team’s leadership in innovation, and willingness to seek out and foster partnerships for the greater good, are inspirational. New Writing North’s contribution in both assisting writers in the region and making a genuine difference to their lives and careers is widespread and impactful, as is their success in opening up the enjoyment of the arts to those who might not otherwise have ready access to it."
He added: "I look forward to helping establish new partnerships and initiatives in the publishing industry that will build on all the good things that New Writing North is already having such success with.”
New Writing North was instituted in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1996 and is still led by its founding chief executive, Claire Malcolm.
Malcolm said: “As New Writing North enters its twentieth year we are aiming to build on what we have achieved so far for writers and to grow the relationships that we have within the industry, to support our work in the fields of talent development and diversity. I'm excited to work with David and the new board and for their skills and experience to influence the future of New Writing North.”
The organisation specialises in developing and investing in writers of all ages and acts as a "dynamic broker" between writers, producers, publishers and broadcasters across the creative industries. Current partners include BBC Radio 3, Channel 4 Drama, Faber & Faber, Northumbria University and Durham University. New Writing North is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation.
Flagship projects include the Northern Writers’ Awards, which supports writers to complete their work-in-progress with cash awards, developmental bursaries, pitching workshops and a Northern Talent Salon for publishers each July. Recent winners include Andrew McMillan, Carys Davies, Andrew Hankinson and Chloe Daykin.
The biennial Crime Story festival brings together experts in forensics, policing and law to equip crime writers and readers with ‘the facts behind the fiction’. The festival attracts crime writers and readers from across the country and will be headlined in 2016 by Paula Hawkins author of The Girl on the Train (Doubleday).