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New UK PA President Sets Ambitious Goals for Publishing

by | May 16, 2024 | News

 

Give access to books for all children; build an education system that gives every child, regardless of background access to a creative education; and support inclusion and representation initiatives.  These are the central messages of the UK Publishers Association’s (PA) incoming president Perminder Mann.

 The CEO of Bonnier Books UK, Mann, was appointed president at the PA’s AGM earlier this month.  She said:  “I feel truly honoured to step into the role of president of the Publishers Association. Working with Dan Conway [PA CEO], the brilliant team at the PA, and our inspiring officers, I intend to use this incredible opportunity to amplify and expand upon the outstanding efforts already underway in our sector to enhance accessibility, increase literacy, and broaden social mobility. I firmly believe that investing in literacy is an investment in our collective future.”

 In an address at the AGM she added: “An investment in literacy is a commitment to our collective futures with a life-changing impact on millions. Reaching into schools, homes and communities, we must work together to form early reading habits that will last a lifetime.This means tearing down the barriers. Building accessibility. Ensuring that we engage with the working class and neglected communities. To increase literacy and expand social mobility.”

 She believes that at the moment the industry is failing in this pursuit.  “Disturbingly, the Publishers Association reports that one in seven primary schools lacks a library. Both public and university libraries have faced sustained budget cuts. Literacy is the gateway to education and opportunity. And our sector can help. We must unleash our world-leading publishing industry to get children reading.”

 Mann, the daughter of Punjabi immigrants to the UK, is the first person of colour to become PA CEO.  She speaks passionately about diversity and inclusion, and says that “we must ensure that when readers reach for books, they find themselves represented. That they feel part of the story. We must honestly and authentically reflect the broadest possible range of people and lived experiences. It is our duty to seek out and amplify voices from every walk of life. Because inclusivity matters. On our pages. And in our offices”.

 She concluded her address with these words: “We are already opening our doors, but we can open them a little wider. We are making progress. The Inclusivity Action Plan, developed with Creative Access is an important step forward. But we mustn’t allow the pace of this positive change to slow as we plot a path to a fairer future.

We must make it crystal clear: publishing is for everyone. This presidency is for everyone. I want to sit there, in the audience, in years to come, and see people of every background bringing their lived experience to the fore. Making their mark. Outlining their vision for this industry.”

 

 

 

 

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