Darren Henley: 30+ books, a radio station, and the most influential UK arts job

by Joanna Pieters | Follow her on Facebook here

Darren Henley doesn’t much care for how things were done ‘before’ – he wants to know what people want now. He was journalist-turned-manager of a controversial, immensely popular classical music radio station, and now spends at least half his time touring England visiting arts, culture, libraries, in big cities and tiny rural communities.

As chief executive of the Arts Council of England, Darren Henley oversees hundreds of millions of pounds going into culture each year. He’s also a vocal campaigner for the power of creativity to shape our world from education to loneliness. Somehow he also finds time to write: with over 30 books to his name, his latest has just been published (and we talk about how he manages to fit it all in).

I met Darren in his office, a room full of books and sunlight, but no desk. That stands instead in a corner of the open-plan office outside – even here he’s all about connecting with people.

We could have talked for hours about the importance of creativity in our world, but I wanted to find out a few things. In particular, how do you write over 30 books when you’ve already got a more-than-full-time job?

We also talk about the power of books for impact and credibility. If you’ve been thinking you’ve got a book in you, then here’s some good motivation as to why it’s a great thing to do.

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