Creative writing charity Arvon has appointed Andrew Kidd as its new chief executive and artistic director.
Kidd, a former Picador publisher and managing director at Aitken Alexander Associates literary agency, joins after stepping down from his editor-at-large role for Weidenfeld & Nicolson at the end of last year. He will remain on the board of digital book platform Alexi Books and remains chair of trustees for the Rathbones Folio Prize, which he founded in 2013.
He succeeds Ruth Borthwick, who was c.e.o. at Arvon for 10 years, overseeing a renovation of its Shropshire centre The Hurst, expanding work with teachers and launching a new digital programme. She revealed her departure last November as the organisation marked its 50th anniversary.
Kidd said: “I have long admired Arvon for the open-hearted way it engages everyone – from disadvantaged school children to dedicated writers – in the creative process, offering them the chance to liberate their imaginations and find a voice.
"That Ruth Borthwick leaves behind her a flourishing charity, overseen by such a talented and committed team, is a testament to her amazing work over the last ten years. I am honoured and excited to have an opportunity to build on that legacy as I work with my new colleagues, together with Arvon’s trustees and supporters, to connect with as many people from as many different backgrounds as possible, and to further develop Arvon’s range, resources and innovative programming.”
Jeremy Treglown, chair of Arvon, said the appointment came at a “crucial" time for the charity. He said: “If anyone has the energy, the intelligence, the imagination and connections to succeed Ruth Borthwick, it’s him.”
As a publisher at Picador, Kidd published authors including John Updike, Jonathan Safran Foer, Jim Crace, Carol Ann Duffy, Bret Easton Ellis, Jackie Kay, Alan Hollinghurst, Cormac McCarthy and John Banville.