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Rachel Holmes

Head of Literature and Spoken Word, Southbank Centre

Rachel Holmes

"Rachel's constant fresh approach, willingness to experiment, her expert knowledge and her belief in her team make her a unique leader. Rachel is a compassionate, driven woman with a vision to make the world a better place, whether this is through her books, her programming or her work with charities."

Ensuring that the Southbank Centre celebrates the written and spoken word, Rachel leads a team that in three years has turned the London Literature Festival into a world class event drawing international crowds.  Passionate about showcasing and commissioning excellent work, Rachel finds joy in bringing new exciting art to audiences who may not see it otherwise.  It is testament to her leadership that some of the writers, performers and poets so familiar now may not have been give a platform without Rachel’s vision. As a writer and fellow practitioner, Rachel is knowledgeable and empathic with the artists she works with.

With her ear to the ground she knows the work of emerging artists in underground venues as well as the work of internationally acclaimed artists and is also committed to the need to platform global culture and to challenge the notion that the European view point should be the dominant perspective. Her leadership means that the programmes can progress, and she can realise her vision to make marginalized voices heard.  

Rachel’s constant fresh approach, willingness to experiment, generosity in mentoring, her expert knowledge and belief in the teams that she works with make her a unique leader.