5 Minutes with Caroline Mitchell

5 Minutes with Caroline Mitchell

Dr. Caroline Mitchell is Chair of The Kittiwake Trust, LBF’s 2018 Charity of the Year. The Trust oversees two projects: Borderline Books in Gateshead and The Multilingual Library in Newcastle.

Caroline’s day job is Senior Lecturer in Radio at the University of Sunderland where she teaches its longstanding MA in Radio and is programme leader for the MA in Participatory Arts and Media. She has been involved in community media production, activism and research for over 30 years. She was co-founder of Fem FM, the first women’s radio station in the UK (1992) and co-curated digital archive of the station in 2014.


What was the last book you read?

Armistead Maupin’s memoir Logical Family.

How did you buy it?

It came as part of a ticket deal for an event at the Tyneside Cinema, Newcastle, where the author talked about his life and read from the memoir.

And what did you read it on?


What TV series are you obsessing over right now?

Designated Survivor – it is very comforting because (so far) the astute and moral POTUS (played by Kiefer Sutherland) is able to sort out most of the USA’s problems (even gun control) by intelligence, negotiation, kindness and good communication. It also has a wonderfully diverse cast.

Tell us what you do in 20 words.

I make, teach and research radio. I believe everyone has a right to read and have access to books.

What is the one thing about your company that we need to know?

We always need volunteers – we welcome anyone with a passion for books, reading, writing, librarianship, people. If you live in the north-east of England and have a few spare hours to help us in either of our projects please let us know and you will be welcomed with open arms (full of books). Sign up here!

What do you like about your job?

As chair of The Kittiwake Trust, I am proud of the work that our founder Amina Marix Evans and our amazing volunteers do every day to make sure that books are accessible to everyone, whatever their personal situation or whatever language they speak and read. We get regular letters from prisoners to thanks us for the books we send. I’ve witnessed the joy as children enter our beautiful library and the look on their faces when we tell them we have 12,000 books in over 80 languages.

Which is your favourite bookshop or e-bookstore and why?

The now closed Sisterwrite bookshop in Islington – it was the first place I discovered writing by and for women and a whole range of glorious feminist publications. I spent much of my student grant buying books and magazines from there and still re-read the precious Virago and The Women’s Press paperbacks that I bought in the late 1970s.

What is the silliest thing you have on your desk?

An ‘Angry Birds’ pencil holder to remind me that I am one.

Tell us about a passion you have outside the business.


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