The Beautiful Island of San Serriffe

The Most Elaborate April Fool’s Joke Ever Printed.

Doug Wilson
2 min readJun 20, 2016

The morning of April 1st, 1977 started as a typical day in the United Kingdom. The Guardian newspaper was delivered to thousands of homes across the nation and people woke up to a quintessential early-spring weather forecast of “Outbreaks of rain, with some bright intervals.”

The front page of the paper gave the news of the day including the collapse of negotiations between the Soviet Union and the United States as well as the fact that “Pubs ‘charge too much’” if you order soft drinks instead of a lager. There was even an editorial cartoon debating if the EuroVision song contest should go ahead — some things never change, it seems.

The front page of The Guardian — 1 April 1977

Inside, the newspaper elaborated on topics of international and local interest and most readers would not have noticed anything unusual about a special travel feature starting on page 17 of the paper.

The seven-page feature on the island of San Serriffe looked like any travel feature that newspapers were printing at the time. It featured a map of the islands, pictures of palm trees, an image of the leader, and a short “Guide to the Republic” which gave many facts and figures about the island nation.

The first of a seven-page feature on the island of San Serriffe

But not all was as it seemed. The feature was an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. The island of San Serriffe did not exist and everything was completely fabricated.

To read the rest of the story, please visit my website.



Doug Wilson

Designer, writer, filmmaker, and cyclist living in Denver, Colorado.