Jane Davis

Jane Davis MBEMBE and Ashoka Fellow, Founder and Director, The Reader

Jane Davis is the founder and director of The Reader, a charitable social enterprise that’s bringing about a revolution in our understanding of the value and purpose of literature.

The Reader has pioneered the use of Shared Reading – reading aloud together – to improve wellbeing, reduce isolation and build resilience in communities across the UK, and beyond.

Jane had a challenging upbringing in Merseyside and left school at 16 with two GCSEs. When she eventually returned to education as a young, single mum, she gained a first-class degree and then a PhD from the School of English at the University of Liverpool.

Over many years, Jane became aware of literature’s ability to open up our imaginations to new worlds and ideas. Indeed, it had been instrumental in helping turn her life around.

This realisation inspired Jane to leave her career as an English lecturer and set up The Reader with the aim of getting great literature into the hands of people who need it.

Thanks to the support of a growing movement of 1,000 volunteers and a huge variety of funders and partners, there are now more than 600 Shared Reading groups and one-to-one experiences happening each week in family homes and care homes, hospitals, prisons, libraries, recovery centres, schools and community spaces across the UK.

The Reader has since inspired a global Shared Reading movement, with sister projects in Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Denmark, Germany, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the USA.

In September 2019, The Reader at Calderstones launched in south Liverpool as the world’s first International Centre for Shared Reading, welcoming visitors from all over the world who want to join this Reading Revolution.