A letter from lockdown

Some great things have been happening this week. We were thrilled that Apple Books chose to include Kate Eberlen’s second novel, Only You, in their ‘Best Books of May’ collection, calling it a ‘masterful romance’. It was also great to see John Nichol’s Lancaster and Ed Gorman & Simon Pearson’s Battle of Britain included included in Waterstones’ May’s Best Books round-up – two of only three non-fiction titles chosen. Over in Ireland, Shadow Dancer, a timeless film scripted by the brilliant Tom Bradby and based on his 1998 novel of the same name, has made the Irish Times list of the 50 Best Irish Films Ever Made. It was also a joy to find Steths, Drugs & Rock ‘n’ Roll, hosted by the fabulous Sara Kayat and her colleagues Dr Ranj, Dr Zoe and Dr Tijon, topping the UK medical podcast charts this week at #1 in the UK on Apple Podcasts!

Interior design guru Michelle Ogundehin has made her second appearance in The Sunday Times Magazine over the last two weeks. We were thrilled to see her on the front cover of their Home supplement discussing her own theory of domestic bliss, which is beautifully championed in her debut book, Happy Inside. We also enjoyed Tara Shine’s interview about her brilliant book, How to Save Your Planet One Object at a Time in The Times this week. Although it is easy to lose sight of the long-term when our ordinary day-to-day is changing so rapidly, Tara explains how some of the unintended consequences of coronavirus, including the small changes we are all making around the home, can in fact help in our fight against climate change.

For those of you who are looking for activities to keep children entertained during lockdown, our authors are here to help. Lauren Child, Gillian Cross, Emily Gravett and Chris Riddell have all contributed to Katherine Rundell’s Little Book of Hopes: Words and Pictures to Comfort, Inspire and Entertain Children in Lockdown. This book is free for all children and families to read online and consists of short stories, essays, poems and pictures from over 110 authors and illustrators. The collection is dedicated to doctors, nurses, carers, porters, cleaners and all hospital workers; we are so proud so see so many of our writers involved. And if anyone is searching for fantasy adventures away from their screens, Ian Livingstone’s Fighting Fantasy is proving to be a triumph. Primary school pupil, Henry, has created a spectacular dictionary that pays homage to some of Ian’s greatest monsters. His dictionary has over 190 entries – what an innovative way to pass the time!

In the world of television, Michael Moseley is back on our screens. The Great British Intelligence Test aired on BBC Two this week in a special one-off episode of Horizon, exploring how our changing behaviour and lifestyle is affecting our brain function. And, if you are brave enough to challenge your own brain power, take the test here to learn how you compare to the rest of the country.

Undeterred by theatres remaining closed, leading regional theatres and companies across the UK will stop at nothing to create brilliant online content for their audiences. Projection Designer Will Duke has collaborated with performance artist and theatre-maker Bryony Kimmings in a pay-what-you-can production. I am falling in love with you and it’s making me do stupid things follows Bryony through one long, lonely night after she boldly emails a potential lover during lockdown. Leicester Curve have made their production of Joe Orton’s classic farce, What the Butler Saw, with striking designs by the wonderful Michael Taylor, available to stream on their website. And IFC Films have picked up the US distribution rights for Jessica Swale’s debut writer and director feature, Summerland, and are aiming for a US release on 31st July 2020.

The digital sphere continues to prosper this week with the talented Colin Furze joining twenty of Britain’s biggest YouTube creators in a tag-team live stream to keep spirits high and help raise money for the NHS. Colin showed his appreciation for our key workers by constructing a clapping machine, ensuring a bold round of applause during the UK’s NHS Clap for Carers. You can watch the highlights of the Stream #WithMe Fundraiser here and see Colin’s clapping creation in action here.

In other virtual events, Kate Mosse has been taking part in the Lockdown LitFest. This global hub of culture and literature, born in the time of COVID-19, aims to bring a real-world festival experience to your living rooms. Kate delves into her multi-million-selling Languedoc trilogy and discusses her love of gothic fiction, sparking an insightful conversation of culture with Paul Blezard. Kate has also been devoting her time to Equal Arts, a platform to improve older people’s lives through creativity. She has kicked off their digital story chain with the first entry of lockdown literature, which will no doubt inspire a continuation of imaginative story-telling.

Until next week, stay safe!


With all our best wishes,


The Soho Agency Team