Writer, journalist and blogger. Her previous book Wife in the North was a top ten bestseller in the UK, a BBC Radio 4 Book of the Week, and was published across Europe and in the US. It was a bestseller in Germany and sank like a stone in America. The book was based on her “fish-out-of-water” blog of the same name and is the fastest ever UK blog-to-book deal. She is a former journalist with The Sunday Times where she was education correspondent and where she also covered undercover investigations, politics and general news. She is a former political producer with BBC2′s Newsnight and ITN’s Channel 4 News. She still freelances for The Sunday Times, and is currently writing another book for Viking Penguin called “A Year of Doing Good” (publication date January 3rd, 2013). The Jam Jar Army was set up as part of that book. She is married, has three children, and lives in the North-East.
www.wifeinthenorth.com /follow her on twitter @judithoreilly
In 2009, business magazine Real Business named Sophie as one of Britain’s top 100 women entrepreneurs. MD and majority owner of Autosmart International. Lichfield-based Autosmart develops and manufactures vehicle cleaning products, sold through an international network of franchisees. Sophie joined Autosmart from management consultants Bain & Company in 1988. She was made MD in 1994 and ten years later led a management buy-out at a time when profits were at £1.5m. Autosmart now employs 100 people, has 250 franchisees, marketplace sales of £30m with profits of £3m. It sells into the UK, Ireland, Australia, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany.
The Northumberland Gazette
Everyone reads the Gazette in Northumberland. Frankly, if it isn’t in the Gazette, it isn’t happening. The Northumberland Gazette is backing the Jam Jar Army in the paper’s first charitable appeal under editor Paul Larkin. The Gazette, founded in 1854 as the Alnwick Mercury, is published by Northeast Press and is part of the Johnston Press group of local and regional papers. It is a weekly newspaper, published on a Thursday and covering Alnwick, Amble, Seahouses, Rothbury, Wooler and outlying districts.