Gifts Today magazine

Writing matters to Waterstones Managing Director James Daunt

Fountain pens add a stylish touch to writing.

From Shakespeare and Milton to Lennon and Gallagher, generations have picked up a pen and written mountains of music, poems, plays and stories that have stood the test of time. National Stationery Week is proving that writing matters and is continuing a tradition dating back to around 3200BC.

Waterstones Managing Director James Daunt who believes that a strong education is the foundation of the written word backs the art of writing by hand.

“Reading, understanding and creativity are all tied closely and directly linked to education,” he said. “Starting right from day one, writing by hand is one of the fundamental foundations that opens the mind up to a world of discovery.”

Mr Daunt, who has been in charge of Britain’s largest book retailer since 2011, understands the power of the written word and believes that getting closer allows you to become a part of the world in which words create.

“Tapping away at keys detracts you from the emotion and the feeling that words and sounds can create. If you’re confronted by a piece of paper and a pen, then you’re engrossed in the moment. At the time, the world is your oyster.
“For me, a blank sheet of paper is the most exciting moment.”

During his tenure, James Daunt has seen the rise of tablets and e-readers but a 3pc rise in physical book sales in the first quarter of 2015 showed a resurgence in a love for the written word.

“You have to nurture that love of vocabulary. Once again, it comes back down to education. If you can marry up reading and writing, you find your own voice, your style and your true personality comes out. The words become a part of your fabric; who you are in that moment and where you are.”

Although Mr Daunt travels regularly around the world with his high-profile role at Waterstones, his favourite pieces of stationery makes his desk feel like home.

“There are two inseparable pieces of stationery that I couldn’t do without.

“I love my headed notepaper and fountain pen. It makes my letters so much more personal and allows me to feel connected to what I write. Fountains pens are just stylish and classy, they’re a staple of the stationery industry.”

Chris Leonard Morgan, the founder of National Stationery Week, is pleased to see James Daunt involved.

“He’s a well-respected business leader and we are honoured to see him involved in our campaign. It’s important to pick up a pen and anyone could write the next Hamlet, Harry Potter or number one hit.”

National Stationery Week runs from 25 April–1 May and champions all things stationery. Sponsors for the 2016 National Stationery Week are Sheaffer, Maped Helix, BIC, Staedtler and Nu Notebooks.

Check out their sites: Waterstones and the 2016 National Stationery Week.

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