CAMPAIGN DIARY: Ex-copywriter is one to watch as he comes up with a novel idea

Chris Wilkins and his wife, Sian, were one of the star creative teams in Campaign’s Fantasy Agency in our 30th anniversary issue, and he can claim particular credit as one of the creators of the Smash Martians back in the 70s.

Chris Wilkins and his wife, Sian, were one of the star creative

teams in Campaign’s Fantasy Agency in our 30th anniversary issue, and he

can claim particular credit as one of the creators of the Smash Martians

back in the 70s.



Since retiring from adland in 1996, he has spent most of his time

researching and writing a novel - The Horizontal Instrument - which is

published this week. Questioning the reliability of time as a

philosophical concept, it also explores the relationship between a

watchmaker and his dying wife who is suffering from dementia.



Wilkins obviously spent a great deal of time researching the book as it

intricately describes the mechanics of watchmaking, although he admits

it wasn’t this aspect that interested him initially.



’I was originally interested in collecting watches,’ he told

Campaign.



’Then I gradually became fascinated by the concept of memory. Having to

learn about dementia also made me realise that without memory there is

no time. You don’t remember yesterday or the day before, so time becomes

obsolete.’



The Horizontal Instrument is at times hauntingly sad - we learn that the

narrator’s wife dies in the first five pages of the book - but also

challenges our conventional perceptions of time, memory and

personality.



Hailed as an ’extraordinarily moving novel about everything that

matters’ by The Spectator, the novel has gained a yet higher accolade.

Campaign’s associate news editor, John Tylee, read one of the first

copies and has given it his wholehearted seal of approval.



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