Thursday, 29 January 2009

See? I Told You I Was Right!

Following my posting about interviewing, Penny Legg emailed me to say this:

I was so interested to read your blog on interviewing today.

As you know, since I studied with you and the Writer's Bureau I have gone on to interview many people in many walks of life. Some interviews stand out more than others.

I was the only writer on Anguilla (and yes, there was more than one!) to be invited to interview the Captain of a Royal Naval warship when she came in to Anguilla on a good will visit. The Captain thought the interview was going to be a quick 10 minutes on what the ship's company was doing there. I had done my research though and wanted to know about him, the man I had come to interview, as well as the ship's reason for visiting. When I was shown in to see him, the ship's PR officer came in too. The Captain needed moral support! It had not occurred to me until then that he might be a bit nervous! However, we chatted over a mug of tea, he relaxed and soon sent his sidekick away.

In the end we talked for an hour and a half and I think we both genuinely felt sorry when it was time for me to go. I had looked into his background and asked him intelligent and thought provoking questions, which showed that I knew what I was talking about and was interested. I knew the difference between a 1980's Leander Class Frigate and the modern ship he now commanded. I knew which ships he had trained on, where he had worked and all the different steps he had taken to get to his present position. He was delighted that I had taken the trouble to find out so much and in return was happy to talk. He gave me a lovely interview, which was published in The Anguillian the following week.

The point is, I just asked. I asked for the interview and it was granted. This interview has led to my interviewing several other ships masters, including the Commodore of the Cunard fleet, the master of the Queen Mary 2, Bernard Warner. This interview is in the current edition of Hampshire Life magazine.

To all your students I would add the following advice - enjoy your interview. Be prepared for it so that you know what you want out of it and make sure you get the information you need, but enjoy getting it. As you say Simon, chatting over a cup of tea and a scone is a pleasure. The 'chat' needn't spoil the fun!

So there you have it! Interviewing can be fun. Go on, give it a go!

Good luck.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Interviewing ... Or Interrogations?

Firstly, I want to start this post by congratulating, Luca Caruana. He's a Writers Bureau student based in Malta and he's just sold an article to "Sunday Circle" the most popular magazine on the island. This is his third article that he will be paid for and means that he's covered the cost of the course - and he's only completed six assignments so far, so well done.

Rob Innis from Spain has dropped me a line to say "Yesterday I interviewed the British Consul in Alicante - ask and you sometimes get! She was fantastic, very friendly."

I know from many of the assignments that I receive from students that interviewing puts the fear of something horrible inside them it seems. I know what they're thinking. Can I do this without looking amateurish? Will I ask stupid questions? What happens if I get stupid answers? What if I don't like the person?

Forget all of your concerns. Most people, as Rob discovered, are happy to chat. And as Rob says, if you don;t ask, you don't get. Remember, what's the worst they can say to a request for an interview? No. So you go and find somebody else.

Here are my tips for better interviewing:

  1. Ask open questions. They're the ones beginning "What?", "Why?", "How?", "Where?", "Who?" and "When?" These questions force people to talk.
  2. Try to do some research beforehand and list some questions that you know you want answers to. Often you'll ask one and your interviewee will give you an answer which raises another question you hadn't thought of. That's fine, but before you finish your interview, check that you have answers to all the important questions you thought of originally.
  3. If you can write shorthand (that includes me) then get a tape recorder. Tell the interviewee that you'll be recording, BUT TAKE NOTES AS WELL. Murphy's law says the tape recorder will break down or the batteries will go flat. (Been there, done that, got the T-Shirt (if not the interview!).
  4. Don't think of it as an interview, think of it as a chat over a cup of tea or coffee. In fact, if you can, do your interview with refreshments. In my earlier blog posting about the Victorian Christmas, I chatted to the Museum's Curator in the cafe over a cup of tea and a very tasty scone!
  5. If meeting face to face scares (and there's no reason why it should) you could email your questions to your interviewee. Sometimes this can be more practical than meeting face to face. I've interviewed people abroad in this way.
  6. Offer to send interviewees a copy of the MAGAZINE CONTAINING THE ARTICLE. (in other words, buy it yourself and send it to them. It costs a few pennies to do this, but let's face it, what's a few pounds when the article could earn you much more than that? It's also polite, and the interviewee will be more likely to help out in the future too.
  7. Don't send the interviewee a copy of the article BEFORE you send it to the magazine. You don't want them 'tweaking' your text. I usually say that as a freelance writer, I can offer no guarantees about what the editor uses. If I sent my article to the interviewee first, I can't guarantee that what the interviewee sees is what the editor will use. For whatever reason, the editor may decide at the last minute to cut something.
  8. If you've booked a time slot with your interviewee, be professional and stick to it.
  9. Think more than one magazine article. Your questions may be geared around one idea, but you may be able to make use of some other snippets of information that the interviewee gives you, for another article at another publication.
  10. And it may seem silly to say, but let the interviewee talk. Don't shut them up when you think they've answered your question - let them keep going. You never know what they may say.
If you have used a tape recorder to record an interview, type it up as soon as you are back at your desk. It's easier to identify the good quotes from the text version that way.

So be brave and get out there an interview people. You never know where it may lead. And usually, you have too much information for what you need. So the article ends up writing itself, and you have more material for other pieces too. It doesn't get much better than that!

Good luck.

Monday, 26 January 2009

Try Travelling Closer to Home

Here in the northern hemisphere, January is often the month that many people start to think about their summer holidays. This is usually because the holiday companies have been bombarding us with adverts on the television since 2 minutes past midnight on Boxing Day.

For those students tackling assignment 6, it also makes them think about that most prized published article - the travel piece.

Ask anyone to describe the job of a travel writer, and most will probably mention a jet setting lifestyle, being sent to all four corners of the globe on an all expenses paid trip to lounge on an idyllic beach somewhere, sipping cocktails served by a beautiful waitress/ handsome waiter whilst watching a golden sun being reflected in the crystal clear waters of an azure coloured sea.

Yeah right - if you happen to get the commission from Conde Nast Traveller magazine you might be sent to the destination, but chat to any travel writer and the lounging bit is a complete piece of fiction. Most 'press organised' travel trips are non-stop shuttle buses, with journalists queuing up to interview selected interviewees before being shuttled off to the next destination.

But you don't have to travel far to be a travel writer. Look at what is on your own doorstep. Remember, your home destination is a tourist destination to somebody else. I've written travel articles about my own home town, and I've written about my county town Shrewsbury. Did I do much travelling to get to Shrewsbury to do my market research? No, I drove up the road and picked up the park and ride service. Not exactly international jet setting, but that doesn't matter. I sold the article to The Lady.

Editors are looking for something different. Your local attraction may be just that. One of my students, Jacki Hartley, recently wrote her travel piece about a trip she undertook to London. Now London is done to death as a tourist attraction, but Jacki chose a more unusual and different angle. She ignored the London Eye, the Houses of Parliament, and Buckingham Palace. She wrote about the guided tour around Highgate Cemetery! (hence my earlier 'done to death' comment!)

It was interesting to read, she laced it with lots of interesting facts and let's face it, when asked what would you like to go and see in London, Highgate Cemetery would not be near the top of the list would it?

It's always tempting to look outside our own home environment when thinking about travel. But sometimes it can be just as interesting to stay local and look at everything through the eyes of a tourist. One student even wrote a travel piece for their local county magazine, reminding local residents about the exciting venues on their very own doorstep. The phrase 'staycation' is being bandied about at the moment by the media and means staying at home for your holiday this year because the credit crunch means people can't afford to travel far.

So don't let your itchy feet take you too far away for assignment 6. Travel writing is about the destination, not how far the writer had to travel to get there.

Good luck.

Thursday, 15 January 2009

The Taxman Cometh .....

If there is one down side to freelance writing, it's the fact that at some point you have to tell the taxman. Actually, I would suggest telling the taxman as soon as possible. Here in the UK it is quite possible to be employed by an employer, and self-employed at the same time.

As long as your self-employed income is relatively low (and by that I mean something like £15,000 - but do check this out on the HMRC website ) then all you have to do is complete the basic tax return each year and the supplementary sheet for 'other income'. On this supplementary sheet you list all your writing related income and all your writing related expenditure. The difference between the two is your profit (hopefully) and this is what you are taxed on. If you make a loss, you may even be able to claim back some of the tax you've paid on your employment salary! Keeping records is therefore important.

Of course, since becoming a full time freelance writer, I'm purely self-employed which means that as well as paying the tax on the income that I earned in the previous financial year, the lovely tax man also decides that I should make a payment upfront towards this year's tax, even though he doesn't know how much I've earned (if anything!). And I can confirm that he is a regular kind of guy - and by that I mean consistent. For the past five years, he's always sent me a tax demand for my upfront payment in time for the postman to deliver it on Christmas Eve. Happy Christmas! Christmas cards arrive late during the Christmas period. My bank statements arrive late too. But my tax demand always arrives on Christmas Eve! Uncanny.

Keeping records is actually straight forward. All I do, is maintain a simple spreadsheet and give every receipt and every piece of income a unique sequential number (1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and so on). I write that sequential number on every receipt and remittance slip I get. I file my receipts in one plastic wallet and my remittances in another. That's all there is to it. Then at the end of the financial year I merely print out my spreadsheet, which gives me my total profit (hopefully) and check that I have my uniquely numbered paper records for every receipt and remittance.

This is all the information you need to give to the taxman.

Because I'm purely self-employed I do employ an accountant to check my figures and produce an annual set of accounts for me, but his costs are relatively cheap because he says my paper records are always in good order and my accounts are easy to do.

The reason I mention all this now is because I've just written out my cheque today to pay my tax for what I owe in advance. Murphy's Law says that when the end of the tax year arrives in April, I'll have paid too much and he'll have to give me some of it back.

But if you're in the early stages of your writing career, do take time to get your paperwork in order. Develop a system now, so that when the end of the tax year arrives in April, you can lay your hands on the information easily. Perhaps you can make it a New Year's Resolution to get your business finances in order? Remember, the taxman loves an organised person because they pay their tax on time. But he loves a disorganised person even more, because he can probably charge them more tax, or late payment penalties because a disorganised person doesn't know how much they should be paying! For more information about being self-employed in the UK, click here.

Good luck!

Friday, 2 January 2009

2009 - A New Year with New Anniversaries

Firstly, apologies for not posting anything for a while, but a family bereavement just before Christmas has meant that many of my energies have been diverted elsewhere and will continue to be for the immediate future. But whilst a family death does signify the end of an era, it is important to remember that life goes on. No matter where in the world you are in 2009, events will be happening, and these can all provide useful writing experiences.

I've mentioned in previous blogs that a useful resource is a website called and they recently sent me a list of events happening in 2009, which I thought I'd share with you.


Thursday 01 January
New Year's Honours
Bank Holiday

Friday 02 January
Bank Holiday: Scotland

Saturday 03 January
Football: England & Wales: FA Cup Third Round

Monday 05 January
Scottish Parliament returns from Christmas Recess
England & Wales: Start of Spring School Term
N. Ireland Assembly returns from Christmas Recess

Friday 09 January - Sunday 18 January
London International Boat Show

Saturday 10 January
Football: Scottish FA Cup Fourth Round

Sunday 11 January
Golden Globe Awards, USA

Sunday 11 January - Sunday 18 January
Snooker: The Masters, Wembley Arena

Monday 12 January
Welsh Assembly returns after Christmas Recess
Houses of Lords & Commons return from Christmas Recess

Tuesday 13 January
Lloyds/HBOS Merger: Open Offer shares begin trading

Saturday 17 January - Sunday 25 January
European Motor Show, Brussels

Monday 19 January - Sunday 01 February
Tennis: Australian Open, Melbourne

Monday 19 January
HBOS / Lloyds TSB Merger: Opening Day of New Business

Tuesday 20 January
Inauguration of 44th US President Barack Obama

Friday 23 January - Sunday 25 January
SDLP Annual Conference, Armagh

Saturday 24 January
End of Suspension on BBC presenter Jonathan Ross
Football: FA Cup Fourth Round

unday 25 January
Burns Night

Monday 26 January
Chinese New Year Celebrations: Year of the Ox

Tuesday 27 January
Holocaust Memorial Day, UK

Saturday 31 January
Football: Closure of Mid-Season Transfer Window
UK: Deadline for Self Assessment Tax Returns


Sunday 01 February
Camelot launch Worldwide Lottery
Super Bowl XLIII, Tampa, Florida, USA
Evening Standard British Film Awards 2009

Monday 02 February
Buddy Holly died 50 years ago

Tuesday 03 February - Sunday 26 April
Buddy Holly Exhibition, Proud Galleries, London

Wednesday 04 February - Sunday 08 February
Cricket: W.Indies v England (1st Test) Kingston, Jamaica

Thursday 05 February
20 years ago: Launch of Sky Television

Friday 06 February
Queen's Accession Gun Salute, Green Park & Tower of London

Sunday 07 February
Rugby Union: England v Italy, Twickenham
Rugby Union: Ireland v France, Dublin
Football: Scottish FA Cup Fifth Round

Sunday 08 February
Grammy Awards, Los Angeles
British Academy (BAFTA) Film Awards

Monday 09 February - Friday 13 February
Church Of England General Synod Spring Meeting

Tuesday 10 February
Israel: Parliamentary Elections

Wednesday 11 February
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Rep of Ireland v Georgia, Dublin
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: San Marino v N.Ireland

Thursday 12 February
Abraham Lincoln born 200 years ago
Charles Darwin born 200 years ago

Thursday 12 February - Monday 23 February
Houses of Lords & Commons rise for Half Term Recess

Friday 13 February - Tuesday 17 February
Cricket: W.Indies v England 2nd Test, Antigua

Friday 13 February
Unlucky Day: Friday the 13th
UK Film Release: Pink Panther 2

Saturday 14 February
Football: FA Cup Fifth Round
Rugby Union: Wales v England
St Valentine's Day
25 years ago: Torvill and Dean won Olympic Gold

Sunday 15 February
Rugby Union: Italy v Ireland

Monday 16 February - Friday 20 February
Scottish Parliament Spring Recess

Monday 16 February
50 years ago: Fidel Castro became Cuban President

Monday 16 February - Friday 20 February
England & Wales: Spring Half Term
Welsh Assembly Half Term Recess

Wednesday 18 February
The Brit Awards: Earls Court, London

Friday 20 February
Gordon Brown is 58

Friday 20 February - Tuesday 24 February
London Fashion Week: Autumn/Winter, London

Saturday 21 February - Tuesday 24 February
Rio Carnival, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Saturday 21 February
Robert Mugabe is 85

Sunday 22 February
The Academy Awards (Oscars), Los Angeles

Monday 23 February
Welsh Assembly back from Recess
Houses of Commons & Lords back from Recess
Scottish Parliament back from Recess

Tuesday 24 February
UK: Shrove Tuesday

Thursday 26 February - Monday 02 March
Cricket: W.Indies v England 3rd Third Test, Barbados

Friday 27 February
Rugby Union: France v Wales

Saturday 28 February

Rugby Union: Ireland v England
Rugby Union: Scotland v Italy
Miss Great Britain 2008, London

MARCH 2009
Sunday 01 March

Football: Carling Cup Final, Wembley
St David's Day

Thursday 05 March - Sunday 08 March
Crufts Dog Sow, NEC, Birmingham

Thursday 05 March - Sunday 15 March
Geneva International Motor Show, Switzerland

Friday 06 March - Tuesday 08 September
Liberal Democrats Spring Conference, Harrogate

Friday 06 March - Tuesday 10 March
Cricket: W. Indies v England 4th Test, Trinidad & Tobago

Saturday 07 March
Football: FA Cup Quarter Finals
Football: Scottish FA Cup Quarter Finals

Sunday 08 March
Arts: The Laurence Olivier Awards, London

Monday 09 March
Queen attends Commonwealth Day Observance Service

Wednesday 11 March
UK: No Smoking Day

Wednesday 11 March - Friday 13 March
TUC Women's Conference, Scarborough, North Yorkshire

Thursday 12 March
25 years ago: Start of nationwide Miners' Strike

Friday 13 March
UK: Comic Relief Red Nose Day
Friday 13th Unlucky Day

Friday 13 March - Sunday 15 March
Scottish Lib Dem Spring Conference
Horse Racing: Cheltenham Gold Cup

Saturday 14 March
Rugby Union: Italy v Wales
Rugby Union: Scotland v Ireland

Sunday 15 March
100 years ago: Selfridges opened in London

Sunday 15 March
Rugby Union: England v France, Twickenham

Tuesday 17 March
St Patrick's Day
Royal Television Society Programme Awards 2008
1 year ago: Paul McCartney and Heather Mills divorce

Friday 20 March
Spring Equinox

Saturday 21 March
Rugby Union: England v Scotland, Twickenham
Rugby Union: Italy v France
Rugby Union: Wales v Ireland, Cardiff
Alliance Party Conference, Antrim, N.Ireland

Sunday 22 March
UK: Mothering Sunday

Tuesday 24 March - Monday 30 March
Horse Racing: Dubai World Cup

Saturday 28 March
Football Friendly: England v Slovakia, Wembley

Saturday 28 March
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Holland v Scotland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Northern Ireland v Poland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Rep of Ireland v Bulgaria
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Wales v Finland

Sunday 29 March

Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race
Motor Racing: F1 Australian Grand Prix
Start of British Summer Time (Clocks Forward One Hour)

APRIL 2009

Wednesday 01 April
April Fool's Day
UK: Basic State Pension Rises to £92.25
Inheritance Tax Threshold Increases to £325,000
UK: TV Licence Fee Rises 3% to £139.50
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: England v Ukraine
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Italy v Rep of Ireland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Northern Ireland v Slovenia
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Scotland v Iceland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Wales v Germany

Thursday 02 April - Monday 20 April
Houses of Lords & Commons Rise for Easter Recess

Thursday 02 April - Saturday 04 April
Horse Racing: Grand National Meeting, Aintree

Friday 03 April
N. Ireland Assembly Rises for Easter Recess
Welsh Assembly Rises for Easter Recess
Scottish Parliament: Easter Recess

Sunday 05 April
Motor Racing: F1 Malaysian Grand Prix
Palm Sunday

Thursday 09 April
Maundy Thursday

Thursday 09 April - Friday 10 April
Jewish Festival of Passover

Thursday 09 April - Sunday 12 April
Golf: US Masters, Augusta, Georgia, USA

Friday 10 April 2009
Good Friday: UK Bank Holiday

Friday 10 April - Tuesday 14 April
National Union of Teachers Annual Conference, Cardiff

Sunday 12 April
Easter Sunday

Monday 13 April
Easter Monday: UK Bank Holiday

Wednesday 15 April
20 years ago: Hillsborough Football Disaster

Friday 17 April - Saturday 18 April
Horse Racing: Scottish Grand National Meeting, Ayr

Saturday 18 April
Rugby Union: Anglo-Welsh Cup Final, Twickenham

Saturday 18 April - Sunday 19 April
Football: FA Cup Semi-Finals, Wembley

Saturday 18 April - Monday 04 May
Snooker: World Championship, Crucible Theatre, Sheffield

Saturday 18 April
Zimbabwe National Day

Sunday 19 April
Motor Racing: F1 Chinese Grand Prix, Shanghai

Monday 20 April
Houses of Lords & Commons Return from Easter Recess
Scottish Parliament Returns from Easter Recess
N. Ireland Assembly Returns from Easter Recess
England & Wales Schools: Start of Summer Term
Boston Marathon

Tuesday 21 April
20 years ago: Start of Tiananmen Square Demonstrations, China

Tuesday 21 April
Queen's Birthday (83)
Worldwide Holocaust Commemoration Day

Thursday 23 April
St George's Day

Friday 24 April - Sunday 26 April
Wales Labour Party Conference, Swansea

Saturday 25 April - Sunday 26 April
Conservative Spring Conference, Cheltenham

Saturday 25 April - Sunday 26 April
Football: Scottish FA Cup Semi Finals, Hampden Park

Sunday 26 April
Flora London Marathon
Motor Racing: F1 Bahrain Grand Prix
10th Anniv death of TV presenter Jill Dando
Professional Footballers' Association (PFA) Awards

Monday 27 April

Welsh Assembly Returns after Easter Recess

Thursday 30 April
Extraordinary G20 Summit Follow-Up Meeting, London
Football: UEFA Cup Semi-Finals 1st Legs

MAY 2009
Saturday 02 May
Horse Racing: Kentucky Derby, Louisville, Kentucky USA
Football Leagues One and Two: Season Ends

Sunday 03 May
2nd Anniv: Madeleine McCann disappearance in Portugal
One year ago: Boris Johnson became London Mayor
BUPA Great Edinburgh Run
Polish National Day
Football: Coca-Cola Championship: Season Ends

Monday 04 May
30 years ago: Margaret Thatcher became British Prime Minister
Football: FA Women's Cup Final
May Day Bank Holiday

Thursday 07 May - Monday 11 May
Cricket: England v Sri Lanka 1st Test, Lords

Thursday 07 May - Sunday 10 May
Badminton Horse Trials, Gloucestershire

Friday 08 May
VE Day
UK Film Release: Star Trek XI
25 years ago: Opening of Thames Barrier

Sunday 10 May
Motor Racing: F1 Spanish Grand Prix, Barcelona

Monday 11 May - Thursday 14 May
Police Fed of England & Wales Annual Conf, Bournemouth

Tuesday 12 May
60 years ago: Lifting of Berlin Blockade

Wednesday 13 May - Sunday 17 May
Royal Windsor Horse Show, Berkshire

Friday 15 May - Tuesday 19 May
Cricket: England v Sri Lanka 2nd Test, Durham

Friday 15 May - Saturday 16 May
Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party Annual Conference

Saturday 16 May
Eurovision Song Contest - Grand Final, Moscow
Rugby Union: Guinness Premiership Final, Twickenham

Tuesday 19 May - Saturday 23 May
RHS Chelsea Flower Show

Wednesday 20 May
Football: UEFA Cup Final, Istanbul, Turkey

Thursday 21 May - Monday 01 June
Houses of Lords & Commons Rise for Whitsun Recess

Thursday 21 May - Sunday 31 May
The Hay Festival 2009, Hay on Wye, Powys

Thursday 21 May - Sunday 30 August
Glyndebourne Festival Opera 2009, Lewes, East Sussex

Friday 22 May - Sunday 24 May
British Rally Championship: Jim Clark Rally, Kelso

Saturday 23 May
German Presidential Election

Saturday 23 May
Rugby Union: Heineken Cup Final, Murrayfield

Sunday 24 May
62nd Cannes International Film Festival Palme d'Or Award
Football: Barclays Premier League Season Ends
Motor Racing: F1 Monaco Grand Prix
Motor Sport: Indianapolis 500, Indiana, USA
200 years ago: Opening of Dartmoor Prison

Sunday 24 May - Sunday 07 June

Tennis: French Open, Roland Garros, Paris

Monday 25 May
Football: Coca-Cola Championship Play-Off Final, Wembley
Whitsun Bank Holiday
Los Angeles Marathon

Monday 25 May - Friday 29 May
England & Wales Schools: Summer Half Term
Welsh Assembly Half Term Recess

Tuesday 26 May
100 years ago: Birth of Sir Matt Busby

Wednesday 27 May
Football: UEFA Champions League Final, Rome

Saturday 30 May
Football: FA Cup Final, Wembley

Saturday 30 May - Friday 12 June
Motor Cycling: Isle of Man TT Races

JUNE 2009
Monday 01 June

Welsh Assembly Returns after Half Term Recess
Houses of Lords & Commons Return from Whitsun Recess

Wednesday 03 June
50 years ago: Singapore Independence

Thursday 04 June
20 years ago: Tiananmen Square Massacre, Beijing, China
UK Local Authority Elections
Mayoral Elections
European Parliament elections

Friday 05 June - Saturday 06 June
Horse Racing: Derby Festival, Epsom

Friday 05 June
Derby Ladies Day, Epsom, Surrey

Saturday 06 June
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Azerbaijan v Wales
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier Bulgaria v Rep of Ireland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier Kazakhstan v England
Athletics: SPAR European Cup
Horse Racing: Derby Day, Epsom, Surrey

Sunday 07 June
Motor Racing: F1 Turkish Grand Prix, Istanbul
London to Brighton Classic Car Run

Wednesday 10 June
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: England v Andorra

Wednesday 10 June
Duke of Edinburgh is 88

Friday 12 June - Sunday 14 June
Isle of Wight Music Festival

Saturday 13 June - Sunday 14 June
Motor Racing: Le Mans 24-Hour Race

Monday 15 June - Sunday 21 June
Golf: 109th US Open, Farmingdale, USA

Tuesday 16 June - Saturday 20 June
Horse Racing: Royal Ascot

Wednesday 17 June - Sunday 28 June
Edinburgh International Film Festival

Wednesday 17 June

Falklands Memorial Day: Annual Service of Remembrance

Thursday 18 June
Horse Racing: Royal Ascot - Ladies Day

Friday 19 June - Sunday 21 June
Motor Racing: F1 British Grand Prix Meeting, Silverstone

Saturday 20 June
Rugby Union: British & Irish Lions v South Africa, 1st Test, Durban
Hollywood actor Errol Flynn born 100 years ago

Saturday 20 June - Sunday 05 July
Ludlow Festival, Shropshire

Sunday 21 June
Motor Racing: F1 British Grand Prix, Silverstone
Prince William is 27
Summer Solstice
UK: Father's Day

Monday 22 June - Sunday 05 July
Tennis: Wimbledon Championships

Thursday 25 June - Sunday 28 June
Royal Highland Show, Edinburgh

Friday 26 June - Sunday 28 June
Glastonbury Festival, Pilton, Somerset

Saturday 27 June
2 years ago: Gordon Brown became British Prime Minister
UK: Inaugural Armed Forces Day
Rugby Union: British & Irish v South Africa, 2nd Test, Pretoria

Saturday 27 June - Sunday 30 August
Scottish Parliament Summer Recess

Sunday 28 June
New European Union Passports: Fingerprints required
Horse Racing: Irish Derby, Curragh, Kildare

Tuesday 30 June
UK Final Deadline for University Applications

JULY 2009
Wednesday 01 July - Sunday 05 July
Henley Royal Regatta, Oxfordshire

Friday 03 July - Sunday 05 July
Goodwood Festival of Speed, West Sussex

Friday 03 July
Athletics: IAAF Golden League: Bislett Games, Oslo

Saturday 04 July
Rugby Union: British & Irish Lions v S. Africa, Final Test, Johannesburg

Saturday 04 July - Sunday 26 July
Cycling: Tour de France

Saturday 04 July
10 years ago: Marriage of David Beckham and Victoria Adams
USA Independence Day

Tuesday 07 July
Unveiling of July 7 London Bombing Memorial, London

Tuesday 07 July - Sunday 12 July
RHS Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

Tuesday 07 July - Friday 10 July
Royal Show, National Agricultural Centre, Warwickshire

Wednesday 08 July - Friday 10 July
Politics: G8 Summit, Rome

Wednesday 08 July - Sunday 12 July

Cricket: England v Australia 1st Test, Cardiff

Wednesday 08 July - Sunday 20 September
Led Zeppelin Exhibition, Proud Galleries, London

Sunday 12 July

Motor Racing: F1 German Grand Prix, Hockenheim

Monday 13 July
Battle of the Boyne Bank Holiday, Northern Ireland

Tuesday 14 July
France: Bastille Day

Thursday 16 July
40 years ago: Launch of first USA manned moon mission

Thursday 16 July - Monday 20 July

Cricket: England v Australia 2nd Test, Lords

Thursday 16 July - Sunday 19 July
Golf: The Open Championship, Turnberry

Thursday 16 July - Sunday 26 July
World Games 2009, Taiwan

Friday 17 July
UK Film Release: Harry Potter And The Half-Blood Prince
Welsh Assembly Rises for Summer Recess

Friday 17 July - Saturday 12 September
BBC Proms 2009, Royal Albert Hall

Saturday 18 July - Sunday 19 July
Royal International Air Tattoo, RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire

Monday 20 July - Monday 21 September
Welsh Assembly Summer Recess

Monday 20 July - Thursday 23 July
Royal Welsh Show 2009, Builth Wells

Tuesday 21 July - Monday 12 October
Houses of Lords & Commons Rise for Summer Recess

Wednesday 22 July
Various Venues Worldwide: Total Solar Eclipse

Friday 24 July
England & Wales Schools: End of Summer Term

Friday 24 July - Sunday 26 July
Motor Racing: Silverstone Classic

Saturday 25 July
100 years ago: First Cross-Channel Flight

Sunday 26 July

Motor Racing: F1 Hungarian Grand Prix, Budapest

Monday 27 July
Three Years to London 2012 Olympics

Tuesday 28 July - Saturday 01 August
Horse Racing: Glorious Goodwood

Thursday 30 July - Monday 03 August

Cricket: England v Australia 3rd Test, Edgbaston

Thursday 30 July - Sunday 02 August

British Transplant Games, Coventry

Friday 31 July
50 years ago: Cliff Richard first Number 1 record - Living Doll

Saturday 01 August - Saturday 08 August
National Eisteddfod Of Wales

Tuesday 04 August
US President Barack Obama is 48

Friday 07 August - Tuesday 11 August
Cricket: England v Australia 4th Test, Headingley

Friday 07 August - Saturday 29 August
Edinburgh Tattoo, Edinburgh Castle

Sunday 09 August - Thursday 13 August
Fastnet Yacht Race, Isle of Wight

Wednesday 12 August
UK: Glorious Twelfth: Start of Shooting Season

Thursday 13 August - Sunday 16 August
Golf: US PGA Championship, Minnesota, USA

Friday 14 August - Sunday 06 September
Edinburgh International Festival, Edinburgh

Friday 14 August
Pakistan Independence Day

Saturday 15 August
Cricket: Twenty20 Cup: Finals Day, Edgbaston
India Independence Day

Tuesday 18 August - Friday 21 August
Horse Racing: Ebor Festival, York

Wednesday 19 August
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Norway v Scotland
Afghanistan Independence Day

Thursday 20 August
20 years ago: Marchioness Disaster on River Thames

Thursday 20 August - Monday 24 August
Cricket: England v Australia 5th Test, Oval

Saturday 22 August - Sunday 23 August
V Festival at Chelmsford & Weston Park, Staffs

Saturday 22 August - Sunday 30 August

17th World Transplant Games, Queensland, Australia

Sunday 23 August
Motor Racing: F1 Grand Prix of Europe, Valencia

Sunday 23 August - Sunday 30 August
World Rowing Championships, Poland

Thursday 27 August

England & Wales Schools: GCSE Results

Friday 28 August - Sunday 30 August
Reading & Leeds Pop Festival

Saturday 29 August - Sunday 30 August

Rugby League: Carnegie Challenge Cup Final, Wembley

Saturday 29 August - Monday 31 August
Notting Hill Carnival, London

Sunday 30 August
Motor Racing: F1 Belgian Grand Prix

Sunday 30 August - Monday 31 August
Knebworth Classic Motor Show, Hertfordshire

Monday 31 August

August Bank Holiday
English Football Transfer Window Closes
Scottish Parliament Returns from Summer Recess

Thursday 03 September
England & Wales: Autumn School Term

Friday 04 September
100 years ago: First Boy Scout Rally, Crystal Palace

Saturday 05 September
Football Friendly: England v Slovenia

Saturday 05 September
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Poland v N. Ireland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Scotland v Macedonia
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Cyprus v Rep of Ireland

Wednesday 09 September
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: England v Croatia
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: N.Ireland v Slovakia
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Scotland v Holland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Wales v Russia

Friday 11 September
September 11 Commemorations, Ground Zero, New York

Saturday 12 September

Horse Racing: St Leger Festival, Doncaster

Sunday 13 September

Motor Racing: F1 Italian Grand Prix, Monza

Monday 14 September - Thursday 17 September

Trades Union Congress, Liverpool

Tuesday 15 September
UK: Battle of Britain Day
Prince Harry is 25

Thursday 17 September
60 years ago: First NATO Meeting, Washington

Sunday 19 September - Thursday 23 September

Liberal Democrats Annual Conference, Bournemouth

Monday 21 September
Welsh Assembly Returns after Summer Recess

Thursday 24 September - Monday 05 October

Cricket: ICC Champions Trophy, Pakistan

Sunday 27 September

Motor Racing: F1 Singapore Grand Prix

Sunday 27 September
German Parliamentary Elections

Sunday 27 September - Monday 28 September
Yom Kippur: Jewish Day of Atonement

Sunday 27 September - Thursday 01 October
Labour Party Annual Conference, Brighton

Thursday 01 October

Chinese National Day
Cyprus Independence Day

Friday 02 October

Announcement of 2016 Summer Olympics Host City
100 years ago: First Rugby Match at Twickenham

Saturday 03 October
German Day of Unity: East & West (1990)

Sunday 04 October
Motor Racing: F1 Japanese Grand Prix

Monday 05 October - Thursday 08 October
Conservative Party Conference, Manchester

Wednesday 07 October - Sunday 11 October
Horse of the Year Show, NEC Birmingham

Friday 09 October
David Cameron is 43

Saturday 10 October
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Finland v Wales
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Rep of Ireland v Italy
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Ukraine v England

Monday 12 October

Houses of Lords & Commons return from Summer Recess

Wednesday 14 October
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Czech Republic v N.Ireland
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: England v Belarus
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Liechtenstein v Wales
Football: World Cup 2010 Qualifier: Rep of Ireland v Montenegro

Wednesday 14 October
Hollywood actor Errol Flynn died 50 years ago

Thursday 15 October
Sarah Ferguson is 50

Sunday 18 October

Motor Racing: F1 Brazilian Grand Prix, Sao Paulo

Sunday 25 October
End of British Summer Time (Clocks Back One Hour)

Monday 26 October - Friday 30 October
England & Wales Schools: Start of Autumn School Term

Saturday 31 October
Self Assessment Tax Return Deadline

Sunday 01 November
Motor Racing: F1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, UAE

Monday 02 November
50 years ago: Opening of first M1 section (Watford to Rugby)

Tuesday 03 November
New York City Mayor & City Council Election

Wednesday 04 November
1 year ago: Barack Obama elected 44th President of the United States

Thursday 05 November

Bonfire Night: Guy Fawkes' Day
100 years ago: Opening of first Woolworth's shop in UK (Liverpool)

Sunday 08 November
Remembrance Sunday: Queen at Cenotaph Service

Monday 09 November

20 years ago: Berlin Wall Stormed and Part Demolished

Wednesday 11 November

Armistice Day

Saturday 14 November

The Prince Of Wales is 61

Monday 16 November

50 years ago: The Sound of Music Opened On Broadway

Saturday 21 November

20 years ago: Start of live TV coverage of Commons debates

Friday 27 November - Sunday 29 November
Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Trinidad & Tobago

Monday 30 November

St Andrew's Day

Thursday 10 December
Nobel Prize Awards, Oslo

Tuesday 15 December
25 years ago: Band Aid released ‘Do They Know It's Christmas'
70 years ago: World Film Premiere of ‘Gone With The Wind'

Monday 21 December

Winter Solstice

Tuesday 22 December

20 years ago: Reopening of Brandenburg Gate, Berlin

Thursday 24 December

Christmas Eve

Friday 25 December
Christmas Day

Saturday 26 December
Boxing Day

Saturday 26 December

5 years ago: Over 170,000 killed by Asian Tsunami

Thursday 31 December
New Year's Eve

I'm sure you'll agree there are some interesting anniversary subject pieces here - the start of the nationwide miner's strike was 25 years ago, 100 years ago Selfridges opened in London, the Tianamen Square demonstration were 20 years ago, 25 years ago the Thames Barrier was officially opened and Margaret thatcher came to power 30 years ago, to name just a few.

So get your thinking caps on, and I hope 2009 is a creatively productive year for all of you.

Good luck.