The Reading Agency has hired Ben O’Donnell as head of children and young people’s reading. He will replace Anne Sarrag, who will step down from the role in September.
O’Donnell joins the company from Discover Children’s Story Centre, where he is head of learning. This involves managing a portfolio of creative literacy projects as well as directing the Newham Word Festival. He was previously programme manager for primary schools at BookTrust.
Sue Wilkinson, c.e.o. of The Reading Agency, said: “We are very excited about Ben starting in his role as head of children and young people’s reading, to continue and build upon the remarkable work done by his predecessor. The 2018 review of the challenge demonstrated both its reach and impact and the huge appetite to involve ever more children in the future. Ben’s great experience in the field of children’s literacy means he is perfectly equipped to fulfil our hopes for the Challenge in the years ahead.”
Last year the Reading Agency reported 8% drop in take-up of its Summer Reading Challenge, with 699,076 children across the UK taking part in 2018's Beano-themed challenge compared to more than 760,000 children in 2017.