It seems to be something of a tradition at Four Culture that our birthdays get mired in controversy.  It doesn’t happen for everyone every year of course but I can’t tell you how many times one of us has just popped open a bottle of bubbly, or blown out the candles on the cake, walked into a bar or ordered a first course at a favourite restaurant when the phone rings and all celebratory thoughts evaporate.

Thus it was for poor Chris this year. I mentioned in the last newsletter that we were working on James Comey’s explosive new book, A Higher Loyalty, one of the most highly anticipated political books of the year, telling of Comey’s time in the White House with Donald Trump. Chris was heading up the UK end of an incredibly intricate global campaign involving mega media deals and embargoes on both sides of the Atlantic.  

Sadly, and it tends to be ever thus, there was a leak in the US so all bets were off and our carefully constructed campaign had to be rethought on the spot. The spoiler call came one minute into Chris’ birthday…

Despite the rethink, the campaign has been a huge success. As Chris and James tell you, it attracted some terrific reviews in its first weekend and has now gone straight to the Number One spot in The Sunday Times.

As you know, if you are a regular reader of this newsletter, prizes’r’us – and we’ve had a couple of big awards hits over the month of April.

First there was the announcement of the shortlist for the Man Booker International Prize which we made on the first hot day of the year in the glorious surroundings of Somerset House. There’s a growing interest in fiction in translation in the UK and the International Man Booker is undoubtedly a major player in that. You can read all about the shortlist and the various public events we’re setting up to celebrate it here

And as I write this Hannah and Miriam are winging their way back from Abu Dhabi where they were handling the announcement of the winner of the 2018 International Prize for Arabic Fiction.  We work with our Abu Dhabi team on this which is the top prize for prose fiction in Arabic.

Part of the prize is funding for translation into English and, coming full circle, the 2014 winner Ahmed Saadawi, is currently in the running for this year's Man Booker International Prize for his book Frankenstein in Baghdad.

Talking of Man Booker, I hope you’ve all heard about the fantastically exciting Man Booker 50 Festival which we’ve just announced.  It’s going to be the high point of the Man Booker’s 50th anniversary celebrations, featuring a plethora of discussions, panels and appearances from authors across the prize’s 50 year history.  20% of the tickets sold out as soon as it was announced so make sure you book your tickets now at the Southbank Centre website. It’s at Southbank from 6 to 8 July.

The summer festival season is nearly upon us and Four Culture has been getting in the mood with the programme announcement of the Man Booker 50 Festival.

The flagship event of the year-long 50th anniversary celebrations, the festival celebrates 50 years of the finest fiction and introduces new audiences to its winning, shortlisted and longlisted authors through a programme of panels, discussions and masterclasses at Southbank Centre from 6-8 July 2018.

Four Culture has wide experience of handling anniversaries and April saw us marking the 5th anniversary of the Music in Secondary Schools Trust Andrew Lloyd Webber Programme, with a special gala concert at the London Palladium. If he didn’t already have a knighthood, I’d be tempted to say that Andrew Lloyd Webber deserves one for the wonderful work he does in encouraging the playing and enjoyment of classical music in schools.

Another client which aims to help children, schools and families from all backgrounds to access literature is the not-for-profit social enterprise and Arts Council NPO Pop Up Projects. We launched an exhibition in April to promote Pop Up Creators international illustration exchange exhibition, co-curated with the House of Illustration. Hannah tells you all about it here and you can catch the show at the Overseas League up till 20 May.

The fifth edition of the Jerwood/FVU Awards opened in April at the Jerwood Space. Entitled ‘Unintended Consequences’, the films have had a terrific response including being listed as pick of the week for Art Review and top exhibition on The Londonist.

Although we are mainly known for our work in the cultural sphere, we do have a number of clients in other sectors, including the often controversial world of parking. April saw us issue a statement on behalf of the Traffic Penalty Tribunal, making public their decision on the Mersey Gateway Bridge and challenging Holton Borough Council over the way they have dealt with toll charges and penalty charge notices. The review of the decision is on 8 May so watch this space!

Our work with the University of Dundee led to us issuing a hot news story in April over a breakthrough from the University in diagnosing prostate cancer. The story of course attracted widespread media attention and was welcomed by Stephen Fry, a former rector of the University who recently announced that he himself had undergone surgery for prostate cancer.

In the 30-plus years since Colman Getty was originally set up, I must’ve been asked a million times what the link is with the Getty family.  The answer is none – well, up until now anyway. By a bizarre coincidence April has seen us taking on Getty Images as a new client and quite separately confirming that we will be handling Mark Getty’s new book, Like Wildfire Blazing, which will be published by Adelphi Press this June. You couldn’t make it up!

That’s it for now!  All best till next time

Dotti