William is an entrepreneur, philanthropist, writer and broadcaster with a distinguished record of support for the arts and literature. In 1992, he founded the Forward Prizes for Poetry and in 1994, National Poetry Day. Since September 2015, he has been chairman of the Board of Trustees at Somerset House, London.
He is the founder and Chairman of Forward Thinking a charity promoting a more inclusive peace process in the Middle East. William is also a trustee of the Docs Society, the Forward Arts Foundation and Chairman of Streetsmart. For many years he was a member of the Arts Council UK and Chairman of its Lottery Committee. William is currently working with CIVIC on the Libraries Transformation Project.
William has published many books and is a regular broadcaster. His most recent books are The Poetry Pharmacy, Sept 2017 by Penguin UK, The Poetry Remedy, Oct 2019 by Penguin Random House USA and The Poetry Pharmacy Returns, Sept 2019 by Penguin UK. Also 100 Prized Poems – 25 years of the Forward Books published by Forward in association with Faber & Faber 2016.
William chaired and authored ‘An Independent Review of E-Lending in Public Libraries in England’ published by Department of Culture, Media and Sport, 2013 and was subsequently commissioned to report on Public Library services in England. The ‘Independent Library report for England’ was published by DCMS in Dec 2014.