Old boy Bryson hits back at Times over Quinn story

By Jon Slattery

Former Times journalist Bill Bryson has taken a swipe at his old
paper for running a story linking him to the Kimberly Quinn-David
Blunkett affair.

The bestselling author accused The Times – where he worked as a sub-editor in the 1970s – of ignoring the facts.

The Times claimed Quinn had “intervened” with the Home Office to help Bryson when his American daughter-inlaw faced problems getting a British visa.

Bryson, giving the James Cameron memorial lecture at City University in
London on Tuesday, said he had only spoken briefly on the phone to
Quinn, publisher of The Spectator. He said she passed on the number of
a Home Office official, who explained his daughter-in-law would have to
return to the US and apply for a visa from there – which she did

Bryson said when the Kimberly Quinn-Blunkett media
frenzy was at its height last year, he mentioned his contact with her
“in passing” over lunch to some friends from The Times.

He said: “A few days later a reporter from The Times phoned and asked about ‘my part in the Kimberly Quinn business’.

said, ‘There’s no story. I never met her, I spoke to her for less than
oneminute. I did nothing improper. She did nothing improper. The story
is: Home Office does fuck-all for Bill Bryson.”

Despite his denial, the story appeared as a page lead headlined: “How Kimberly Quinn helped Bill Bryson with a visa query.”

Bryson commented: “I am sorry, that’s just not right, on multiple levels that’s not right, not factual and not ethical.”

Channel 4’s international editor, Lindsey Hilsum, won the James Cameron
Memorial Award. Judges praised her reporting from Iraq. A special award
went to Victoria Brittain of The Guardian for her coverage of the
developing world.

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