I am not sure many newspapers will want their work included in a new book planned by Penguin called Whitstable Mum in Custard Shortage . . . And Other World Exclusives from Britain's Finest Local Newspapers.
The idea is for a gift-book compendium of all the silliest stories from across Britain's local newspapers that were published on slow news days, including the Whitstable Times' memorable tale of a woman who couldn't find any custard in the town.
According to the Bookseller, Viking editorial director Joel Rickett said the idea came from within the publishing team, with the book bringing together the most banal headlines and articles, reproducing either just the top line or the full text of the articles created around such promising topics as "Chair Destroyed", about a chair found burnt and torn apart in the middle of a village green, or "Road Stays Open".
Pitching it to the "QI" and "The News Quiz" audience, Rickett describes it as "a classic loo book". He said: "We're hoping it will be the tillpoint bestseller for this Christmas . . . Everyone keeps coming forward with their own favourite headline. It's also in part a tribute, a bit of nostalgia, about the local newspaper industry that is under threat at the moment."
The book is currently around two-thirds completed, but Rickett is keen for others to come forward with their favourite local news headlines, particularly bookshops. The nominated headlines that make it into print will be given a credit and five free copies of the book. Entries should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org by 13th May. The title will be published as a £9.99 hardback on 13th October.
I am a freelance journalist based in the UK and was deputy editor of Press Gazette, the journalists' magazine, from 1993 until 2006. I want to give an independent view on media matters.
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