Read's respected journalist Louise Hulland releases 'passion project' book

Louise HullandLouise Hulland
Louise Hulland
An award-winning journalist from Read has reflected on a very bizarre 2020 as she celebrated the release of her first book.

Louise Hulland, who attended Read St John's Primary School and Clitheroe Grammar School, chatted to the Burnley Express about lockdown, the scourge of modern slavery and how Americans seemingly love her Lancastrian accent.

The 41-year-old, whose parents still live in the Ribble Valley, revealed she was incredibly proud to see the release of 'Stolen Lives', Louise's very personal, emotional insight on human trafficking in the UK.

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Speaking from her home in Cambridgeshire, where she is working on BBC local radio, she said: "Lockdown for me was rural Cambridgeshire. I then travelled up and down to London when restrictions eased in August so I could relocate.

Louise has a number of projects in the pipelineLouise has a number of projects in the pipeline
Louise has a number of projects in the pipeline

"I've been working in Cambridgeshire and renting a small cottage where I could add the finishing touches to my new book.

"The book has definitely been a passion project for me. It focuses on human trafficking and modern slavery in Britain today, which has been in my mind for 10 years now.

"I met a survivor of human trafficking in 2017 and her story informs much of the book, alongside an investigation into the crime in Britain. Elena was a student in Albania who was ttrafficked to Belgium and eventually ended up in the UK. Her story is heartbreaking but she is one of the lucky ones.

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"Not many in the general public will know but there could be people serving you in your local coffee shop, nail bar or working in factories alongside you who have been trafficked into the country.

"I will admit the book is a tough read and although I did find writing it a cathartic experience the stories I've heard will never go away. I feel like I've put 10 years of interviews into one big project, and is one of the reasons I wanted to become a journalist since I was a little girl.

"Journalism, as with writing a book, allows you to be a conduit between the audience and someone who needs to tell their story, but otherwise wouldn't be able to."

Indeed, Louise admitted her first taste of a newsroom was the former Burnley Express in Bull Street where she was taken on a primary school visit in 1988. Work experience at the Express' sister title the Clitheroe Advertiser solidified her belief that this was the career for her, one which would take her in some very unlikely directions.

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Not least, the chance to lend her warm Lancashire brogue to an American documentary series 'Mysteries at the Museum' on Travel Channel USA.

"It turns out Americans love the Lancashire accent, as I discovered when my social media accounts received some very friendly words from American viewers. I was a talking head on the programme, describing these unusual artefacts, it was great fun."

Indeed, Louise' dulcet tones have previously been heard on BBC 6 Music News, BBC Radio 1’s Newsbeat, and BBC Radio 2’s Art Show with Claudia Winkleman, and as a showbiz reporter across the commercial radio network.

She can also heard on BBC Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour, and is a freelance journalist on the BBC’s World Service.

Looking ahead, Louise said her plans for the immediate future are an investigative podcast, and of course a return to see friends and family in her beloved Lancashire.

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