New UK consultancy focuses on global Literary Festivals & Cultural Events

Posted on April 24, 2017 by danielle. More news

Three well-known publishing industry and bookselling personalities have combined forces to create the UK’s newest national and international cultural events and festival consultancy.

Lyndy Cooke was Managing Director of Hay Festivals for 15 years and before that ran a successful chain of 22 bookstores across the UK. Former bookseller Jo James managed events for the Ottakars and Waterstones bookshop chains and now works on organising and programming several literary festivals across the UK and internationally, including Cheltenham, Chiswick and Dubai. Paul Blezard, former literary editor of The Lady, has consulted on and chaired at literary festivals internationally through a career in literary broadcasting and journalism. Together these three have opened the doors on their new venture, Hand Held Events.

The partners form the basis of a strong and successful team with a focus on designing, curating and delivering world-class literary and cultural events and festivals. They have an admirable track record in creating and producing highly successful events programmes.

Blezard said, “We are absolutely delighted to announce the launch of Hand Held Events and feel that it offers a one-stop-shop for a coherent and comprehensive set of talents and skills. We aim to ensure that new events have the best possible chance of success at the earliest opportunity, and to add value to existing events.”

Cooke commented, “We are all dedicated to providing the best possible service to all our clients. We will be drawing on over 50 years of combined experience to help negotiate the pitfalls of running festivals and showcases for literary and cultural talent. We all absolutely love the work we do, which is wholly reflected in the commitment we bring to this exciting new venture.”

James said “In the UK, where there are so many festivals, we think there’s a gap in the market. We can offer a service where any festival, no matter what size, can have access to the knowledge and talent that helps to make the best the very best. We are also confident that, as more countries and cities abroad want to showcase their literary and cultural assets, we can bring our huge and diverse experience to bear to help them produce world class events from the very start.”

While book and culture related initiatives form the backbone of the business, Hand Held Events is also keen to offer its services to the corporate sector.  Cooke said, “The theatre and drama required for successful literary events translates well to the commercial world.  Industry showcases and events can definitely benefit from lessons learned in the cultural world.”

James, Cooke and Blezard are all available for comment and can be contacted through their website

For all business enquiries please also head to or email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *