Rob Smith

Rob is responsible for the overall direction of Ministry of Stories, leading the organisation with a mixture of mischief and mastery. With a career in the arts and creative learning, Rob is inspired by the ideas and imaginations of children and young people, and the power of their voices to make change in the world.

Kirsty Telford

Deputy Director

Kirsty loves things to be shipshape and reach their full potential. She believes that each and every person has the power to transform their community. Kirsty has a background in fundraising, participation and service delivery, gained through almost 20 years in the charity world. Her ambition is to help create fantastic relationships with our volunteers, funders and shoppers, so that we can support more children to discover their talent.

Alistair Hall Minister of the Month

Alistair Hall

Art Director

Alistair is responsible for the look of the Ministry of Stories and Hoxton Street Monster Supplies, overseeing a team of fantastic volunteer designers. He has been running his own graphic design studio, We Made This, for over ten years.

Emily Murdock (photo: Tom Oldham)

Emily Murdock

Trading & Administration Manager

Throughout childhood Emily longed to someday run a shop selling supplies for monsters and could hardly believe it when she discovered such a shop existed right on her doorstep in Shoreditch.  Emily has worked in community conflict resolution and counselling, including as a volunteer counsellor with children with the Place2Be.

Hannah Keville

Development Manager

Hannah has worked as a fundraiser, artist and youth facilitator for all kinds of arts organisations (festivals, roman forts, circuses – you name it) for 10 years. Her creative writing skills are a bit rusty but she has fond memories of writing and illustrating her own books as a child that were basically rip-offs of The Worst Witch. She’s keen to learn a thing or two from our young writers and in return raise lots of funds to support their work.

Jessica Randall

Writing Programme Leader (Community)

Jessica’s background is in theatre participation, where she’s primarily worked with schools and Youth Theatre groups. She has written several plays for children and young audiences. She loves to cook and spends a lot of time planning the food blog she will one day write.

Laila Sumpton 

Writing Programme Leader (Community)
Laila delivers our after school writing clubs, helping children explore new and exciting ways to express themselves. She is a poet who has worked with learners of all ages in schools, hospitals, museums, libraries, parks, you name it! She performs her poetry and produces writing events across the country, and then occasionally disappears and is found in Bosnia working on youth peace-building projects. Laila loves singing, dancing and poetry, and one day may attempt all three at once!

Lottie Rugg-Easey

Development Coordinator
Lottie has worked in fundraising in the arts for several years. She recently moved back to London from Sheffield after being inspired by the Ministry of Stories and its mission to champion young writers. Lottie will be developing the Ministry’s business and community partnerships, enabling its work to reach further and wider: East London’s young people have amazing stories to tell.

Miriam Nash

Writing Programme Leader (Schools)

Miriam takes care of school visits at the Ministry of Stories as well as longer-term school programmes. She is a poet, creative educator and producer whose work has taken her into schools, museums and prisons in the UK, USA and Singapore. Miriam became a poet thanks to her first mentor, Jacob Sam-La Rose, and now supports new writers and educators in turn. She loves handwritten letters and swimming in the cold cold sea.


Ozlem Yikici

Volunteer Coordinator

A creative soul at heart, Oz has reluctantly pursued work in every other industry but the arts. Then something magical happened one day, a mysterious opportunity appeared in her inbox.  The rest, well let’s say it will be history…

Jessica Digby

Marketing Manager
Jessica looks after marketing and communications for the Ministry and is responsible for helping share the Ministry’s story and the amazing stories by its wonderful writers with the world. She believes that you can change the world by picking up your pen and writing.

Staś Smagala

Training Project Manager

Staś has been involved in story making in one form or another for many years, from devising plays in professional theatre to creative story making with community arts organisations. Many moons ago Staś trained as a dancer at the Laban Centre and studied acting at Middlesex, he has an MA in Community Art from Goldsmiths and has worked as trainer and facilitator for over twenty years and enjoys discovering new and creative ways for young people to make stories.

Anya Zhuravkina

Anya does what the Ministry of Stories does for children, just for adults. And she’s done this throughout her career. As Head of Language in KPMG’s Sales and Marketing team, she helps people win work by changing their language. As Account Director at The Writer, Anya helped to change culture in multinationals by changing their language. She’s a firm believer in the positive power of language to change people, businesses and now children prospects.

Régis Cochefert

Chair of Trustees

Régis was appointed Director, Grants and Programmes at the Paul Hamlyn Foundation in July 2015, having been Head of Arts since 2005. He was previously head of external relations and then opera general administrator at Aldeburgh Productions (now Aldeburgh Music).

Simon Mott-Cowan

Vice Chair

Simon has been with H W Fisher & Company for over 13 years. He acts for a broad portfolio of audit clients across a wide range of industry sectors including media, property and professional practices. Simon is a family man and spends most of his time out of work with his children. He is very interested in sports such as football, golf and swimming.

Michaela Greene

Vice Chair

Michaela is the Development and Communications Director at the Roundhouse and following a brief period in the commercial sector has nearly 20 years’ experience in the charity and arts sector. Having started her fundraising career at the National Theatre she moved into the charity sector before joining the Roundhouse more than five years ago.

Duncan Kilty

Duncan is Assistant Head at Hermitage Primary School in Wapping. He is committed to ensuring that creativity and imagination retain their central place in children’s education.

Sue Horner

Sue has long been committed to education and the arts. She works in national strategy and implementation of curriculum and assessment both in the UK and abroad, after being Director of Curriculum for England. She was awarded the MBE in 2014 for services to literature.

Piers Torday

Piers Torday’s first book for children, The Last Wild, was shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. His work has been translated into thirteen languages and he is asked to speak in schools all over the world to children about reading and writing. He is also a Trustee of the Pleasance Theatre, and a Reading Helper with Beanstalk.

Nick Makoha

Nick is a poet, playwright and creative entrepreneur. His debut collection Kingdom of Gravity is shortlisted for the 2017 Felix Dennis Prize for Best First Collection and nominated by The Guardian  as one of the best books of 2017. He won the 2015 Brunel International Poetry prize and the 2016 Toi Derricotte & Cornelius Eady Chapbook Prize for his pamphlet, Resurrection Man.

Mina Patria

Mina’s story is steeped in the world of publishing as a Publisher/Publishing Director at companies including BBC, Trotman, Guinness World Records, Berlitz and Lonely Planet. She has been driven by a passion to inspire diverse audiences about the world around them and open their minds to the wealth of opportunities that lie ahead for them. At the heart of this is her belief that the art of storytelling, of writing and communicating well, opens up a word of possibilities and opportunities. After all, our journeys begin with the stories we create and those we encounter, and with that in mind, she is also following her other passion – to write stories.

Inua Ellams

Born in Nigeria, Inua Ellams is an award winning poet, playwright & founder of the Midnight Run. Identity, Displacement & Destiny are reoccurring themes in his work in which he mixes the old with the new, traditional with the contemporary. His books are published by Flipped Eye, Akashic, Nine Arches & Oberon.

Charlie Higson

Charlie Higson is an author, actor, comedian and writer for television and radio. He wrote the Young Bond series, which has now sold over a million copies in the UK and has been translated into over 24 different languages. Charlie is a huge fan of horror films and books, and even studied gothic literature at university. 

Sophie Kinsella

Sophie is the author of novels The Wedding Girl, Cocktails for Three and the best-selling Shopaholic series. Her books have been translated into over 30 languages her novel Confessions of a Shopaholic was adapted into a film starring Isla Fisher.

Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh is the author of Coconut Unlimited, which was shortlisted for the Costa First Novel Award 2010, and Meatspace. In 2013 he released The Time Machine, which won the Best Novella at the Sabotage Awards. His short stories have featured in Best British Short Stories 2013, The Sunday Times and BBC Radio 4. 

Riz Ahmed

Riz is an actor and rapper known for his roles in films Shifty and Four LionsAs Riz MC, he has been championed by BBC Radio1 – on the ‘Introducing’ stage at Glastonbury, the Electric Proms, and a Maida Vale session – and toured the USA, playing shows from Fabric to the Royal Festival Hall with the likes of Massive Attack, Nitin Sawhney, Dizzee Rascal, and Mos Def.

David Nicholls

David is the author of four novels including One Day and Us. His TV credits include penning an updated version of Much Ado About Nothing with Damien Lewis and Sarah Parrish and an acclaimed adaptation of Tess of the D’Urbervilles starring Gemma Arterton and Eddie Redmayne. He has been twice nominated for BAFTA awards.

Rohan Silva

Co-founder of Second Home and and co-founder and chairman of Spacious, Rohan was formerly a senior policy adviser for the government.

Laura Dockrill

Laura is a performance poet, author, illustrator and short story writer. She is the author of the series of books ‘Darcy Burdock’ for young readers.

Linda Thompson

Born in Hackney, Linda became one of the most recognised names and voices in the British folk rock movement of the 1970s and 1980s, in collaboration with her then husband and fellow British folk rock musician, guitarist Richard Thompson, and later as a solo artist.

Charlie Leadbeater

Charles is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book ‘We-think: the power of mass creativity’.

Meera Syal

Meera Syal is a writer, comedian, playwright and actress. She co-writes and is a cast member of the popular BBC Television comedy series ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ and The Kumars at No. 42′. She also works as a journalist and is a regular contributor to The Guardian.

Zadie Smith

Zadie is the author of four novels including ‘White Teeth’ and ‘On Beauty’ which was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize and won the 2006 Orange Prize for Fiction.

Dominic Cooper

Dominic is an actor known for his roles in, among others, ‘History boys’, ‘Mamma Mia!’, ‘An Education’ and ‘The Dutchess’.

Rachel Cooke

Rachel is a journalist and writer. Born in Sheffield, the daughter of a university lecturer, Cooke attended Oxford University, before beginning her career as a reporter for The Sunday Times.

Nick Hornby

Nick is the author of six novels, including High Fidelity and About a Boy. He has also written three works of non-fiction, including Fever Pitch. He wrote the screenplay for the film An Education, for which he was nominated for an Oscar. Nick was a journalist and an English teacher before becoming a writer.

Kerri Ratcliffe

Kerri is an American who has been residing in London for 15 years. Kerri worked in finance for HSBC and Morgan Stanley, and then had a 15 year career as an administrator for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.  Since moving to London she has been active in a variety of nonprofit organisations involved in education, theatre, and youth sports.

Cathy Dishner

Cathy is an expat living in London. Her work experience ranges from corporate advertising, PR, and marketing to extensive volunteer work and Board leadership positions for local and national charities.

Maureen Smith

Maureen is a US lawyer who has been living in London for 7 years.  Maureen works as a volunteer advisor for Zacchaeus 2000 Trust representing individuals with debt and housing issues.

Charles Leadbeater

Charles is a leading authority on innovation and creativity. He has advised companies, cities and governments around the world on innovation strategy and drew on that experience in writing his latest book We-think: the power of mass creativity.

Liam Maxwell

Liam is Chief Technology Officer for the British Government.  His team within the Government Digital Service is responsible for technical leadership across government and for identifying the technologies required to deliver great digital public services.

Liz Kanter

Liz is a Government Relations expert with 20 years experience working in the tech industry in the U.S. and UK. She is passionate about increasing opportunities for young people in STEM subjects and more broadly through organisations like the Ministry of Stories.

Charlotte Appleyard

Charlotte is Director of Development at the Royal Academy of Arts. She previously worked as Director of Creative Development at Outset Contemporary Art Fund, and in the curatorial departments at The National Gallery and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.