Sandeep Mahal introduces herself on her first day
It’s my first day at Nottingham City of Literature and I would like to use the first of my regular blogs to introduce myself.
I come to Nottingham with a background in libraries, digital arts, audience and partnership development, grounded in a lifelong passion for reading: like many others, I grew up spending many afternoons in dusty libraries immersed in books. That same love of reading and stories continues today, so when Chairman, David Belbin offered me the role, I was both thrilled and honored, not least because I grew up in the East Midlands and Nottingham is a city with an incredibly vibrant literary and storied scene, boasting world-class talent and institutions. Literature is a vital ingredient in Nottingham’s success. It is therefore crucial that it continues to grow, and my role is to help it do so.
Over the coming months, I am looking forward to experiencing a wide a range of literature activities around the city and country from the newly revamped Nottingham Festival of Literature, to watching performances by Indian poets at the annual Kavi Sammelan, taking part in in a one-day take-over of Westminster during Parliament Day, and celebrating the launch of two brilliant books: a crowdfunded anthology The Good Immigrant that shines a light on the experiences of people who emigrate to the UK; and Dawn of the Unread, a fantastic initiative to engage reluctant readers through digital storytelling.
Over the next few weeks, I want to take the opportunity to engage with people working across the cultural sector in Nottingham. Today, I’m in Bromley House, a flourishing independent lending library, with collections built up over 200 years. Tomorrow, I will be visiting two brilliant indie bookshops: Five Leaves and Page 45. Next week, I’ll be touring the Creative Quarter and Experience Nottingham. And I’ll be in Ostersund for the UNESCO Creative Cities conference the week after that. I will report back on my journey around Nottingham and beyond in future blogs.
It's a real privilege for me to lead UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature. There is so much grassroots energy, inspiration, and cross-disciplinary innovation that is being harnessed here.
Before I get on with the job this morning, I want to take a moment to place on record my enormous thanks to our Communications Manager, Matt Turpin who together with the chairman, David Belbin have been looking after the organisation since the UNESCO accreditation was awarded back in December 2015. They have done a brilliant job and I am looking forward to working closely with them and the rest of our Board and Patrons over the coming years.
It's a real privilege for me to lead UNESCO Nottingham City of Literature. There is so much grassroots energy, inspiration, and cross-disciplinary innovation that is being harnessed here. Among my many aims and ambitions is the desire to encourage and facilitate collaborative relationships across the literature, creative and digital sectors, to help improve literacy, and ensure the best talent is developed and made available to the widest and most diverse audiences and communities.
I am very excited about what we can achieve. I am looking forward to hearing your ideas and thoughts about what we can create together to open up all sorts of opportunities for the whole reading and writing community.