The National Year of Reading

As senior publicist for Hill and Knowlton on the Government’s National Year of Reading, my main responsibilities were coming up with ideas and selling them to journalists.

We wanted mass awareness, so I recommended that we launch the campaign by getting the Home Secretary on the set of the nation’s favourite soap. David Blunkett was seen on ITN, BBC News and pictured in every national pulling a pint with Bianca in the Eastenders’ Queen Vic.

Later in the year I was asked for more ideas when levels of coverage were dropping. My suggestions were recording a CD anthology of celebrities reading their favourite love poems for Valentine’s day, sending it to radio stations around the country, linking with Whitbread to print poems on beermats and pub urinals for National Poetry Day.

To take advantage of the quiet Christmas period, I advised working with the Bookseller Magazine to release a news story on a dramatic increase of book sales coinciding with the Christmas rush. I called it Barmy Britons go Bonkers for Books. In the new year I asked top media psychologist Jane Firbank to write a report interpreting the nation’s reading habits over the past three decades.

Apart from being one of my most enjoyable jobs, the campaign had a total audience reach of 583 million – 715 articles and 185 broadcast pieces.

Click on the word ‘Poems’ below to hear a sample.


1. Trevor McDonald reading She Walks in Beauty by Lord Byron
2. Neil Pearson reading May I feel Said He by EE Cummings
3. Johnny Vaughan reading Never Seek to Tell Thy Love by William Blake
4. Patsy Palmer reading Remember by Christina G Rossetti
5. Nicholas Owen reading Love’s Philosophy by Shelley
6. Kelly Brook reading Valentine by John Fuller
7. Lesley Joseph reading He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven by WB Yeats
8. Fiona Phillips reading Valentine by Wendy Cope
9. Andrew Harvey reading Coat by Vicki Feaver

July 2nd 2016
Tags: The Latest News

No Comments

Hendy Ford in Fareham Review

My friend Fiona has some good advice: So I went to collect my "fixed" car today, well the tyres are fixed but.... The glove box is now broken, the inside trim isn't flush, there is a scratch on the inside door, and there is still rust on the window wipers. Not ...
May 25th 2016
Tags: The Latest News

No Comments

Taking Bank Holidays Costs UK Small Businesses Over £2,500 Each Year

The month of May sees two Bank Holidays (2nd and 30th May), but British small business owners stand to lose an average of £506[1] during May and £2,163[2] annually by choosing not to operate and instead take the extra day’s rest over long weekends. A study of 1,500 UK small business owners by Yell Business reveals that ...
November 18th 2015
Tags: The Latest News

No Comments

An interview with Ty Jeffries aka Miss Hope Springs

Miss Hope Springs will be performing her Christmas show Now it’s Christmas Time at Brighton's Komedia on Tuesday 8th December. Last year’s show, which has been described as 'a glittering glimpse of vintage Vegas’ was completely sold out. Miss Hope has had rave reviews, as well as winning Best Cabaret Brighton Fringe ...
June 18th 2015
Tags: The Latest News

No Comments

Alex Reid launches Alma Juicing Retreats

Alex Reid, the former cage fighter - who was married to Katie Price from 2010 to 2012 - has set up the Alma Juicing Retreat in Marbella, Spain and is using his expert knowledge of health and fitness to help people get in shape and achieve their weight loss goals. The ...
September 30th 2014
Tags: The Latest News

No Comments

MBAs from £4000 from the Online Business School

An online business school is revolutionising business education by offering routes to undergraduate degrees and MBAs costing a student as little as £4,000 - while also enabling them to study “anywhere at anytime”. The Online Business School (OBS), founded by distance-learning pioneer John Holden, provides ‘pay-as-you-go’ pathways to business degrees and ...


The archives run deep. Feel free to search older content using topic keywords.

Browse by Category