A letter from lockdown

As we enter our third week of official ‘lockdown’ here in the UK and, as an agency, our fourth working from home, we feel prouder than ever of our incredible clients and our brilliant team. While it has undoubtedly been a difficult and unsettling time, it has also been wonderful to witness so much creativity, goodwill and kindness. Over the coming weeks we will be sharing a weekly #letterfromlockdown to highlight and – most importantly – celebrate what our clients are getting up to in these strange times.

First up, there have been five book launches this week! In fiction, My Pear Shaped-Life by Carmel Harrington, a very special and life affirming read (perfect cheering and uplifting reading for now) was published in Ireland by HarperCollins and will be out in UK on the 16th April. The smash eBook bestseller Sorry Not Sorry by Sophie Ranald was published in paperback by Sphere (if you are looking to laugh, this is the one) and debut The Sin Eater by Megan Campisi was published in eBook by Mantle. Set in a thinly disguised sixteenth-century England, The Sin Eater is a wonderfully rich story of treason and treachery; of women, of power, and the strange freedom that comes from being an outcast. It will be out in hardback in the UK in July. In non-fiction, Lessons from a Warzone: How to be a Resilient Leader in Times of Crisis by Louai Al Roumani which was published by Penguin – it’s a particularly pertinent book in the current situation. Louai Al Roumani was head of finance and planning at one of the largest banks in Syria when the war broke out in 2011 and Lessons from a Warzone is a remarkable story of hope, perseverance and resilience in the midst of war. And last but not least, A Search for Belonging, a hard-hitting and honest memoir from Michael Fuller, Britain’s first black Chief Constable, was published by 535 in paperback. Michael Fuller reflects on his astonishing life growing up in care and his extraordinary experience of the race and cultural barriers in his career.

As people turn to social media to stay connected at a time when we can’t go much further than the end of the garden (if you’re lucky enough to have one), some of our authors have come up with creative ways to keep talking about reading and books. Veronica Henry has started a wonderful online series on IGTV where she recommends comfort reads plucked straight from her own bookshelf. Frank Gardner will be reading a chapter from his first novel Crisis every evening at 6.30pm on Instagram Live. And, if you are looking to entertain young children at home, Lindsey Kelk has been reading a chapter a day from Cinders and Sparks: Magic at Midnight, her first children’s book, on her Facebook page and IGTV.

On YouTube, we have been listening to the utterly magical Lockdown Orchestra on repeat. Composed by Ben Morales Frost, the entire project was conceived, recorded and put together in just over a week, from Ben first putting a call out on social media for musicians, to uploading their first video. The orchestra boasts musicians from 13 countries over 4 continents; it is truly a magical, moving performance – not to be missed.

Colin Furze has also been entertaining the masses – his Backyard Underground Bunker Tour video has received over 19 million views in just a week! And while it may not be entirely feasible to build a bunker of your own right now, you could get to grips with some DIY. If you’re in need of inspiration, be sure to catch Sarah Beeny’s new series, Renovate Don’t Relocate on Tuesday nights on HGTV. Tim Peake’s first film for BBC One’s The One Show was aired on Friday. The first in a new series of films looking at science and technology saw Tim comparing self-isolating at home with his experiences in space.

We are incredibly proud of our amazing clients working on the frontline, who are keeping us well-informed. Dr Chris George, Dr Sara Kayat, Dr Gemma Newman, Dr Rangan Chatterjee and Dr Michael Mosley have all been sharing tips and expert advice to help keep us all safe and well. Last week, Dr Rangan Chatterjee released a bonus episode of his iTunes #1 podcast Feel Better, Live More (with the behavioural neuroscientist and psychiatrist, Dr. Judson Brewer) focused on how you can manage your anxiety around COVID-19. Mo Gawdat appeared on Elizabeth Day’s How to Fail podcast to also talk about how to deal with anxiety in the time of COVID-19, helping listeners to feel calmer, more positive & less alone.

We’ll be highlighting more of our clients’ projects and what we’re up to on our Twitter and Instagram accounts, so please do follow us there. Until next week . . .

With all our best wishes,

The Soho Agency Team