Authors to gift refugee book to MPs

Authors to gift refugee book to MPs

Writers including A L Kennedy, Sebastian Barry and Courttia Newland are to participate in an event which will see MPs given copies of A Country of Refuge (Unbound) in the hopes that this will "change the tone of the debate on refugees".

Later today (13th December) in the House of Commons, MPs will be given a copy A Country of Refuge, which includes newly-commissioned fiction, memoir, poetry and essays by celebrated writers and is intended "to make a positive and vital contribution to the national debate and to foster a kinder attitude towards our fellow humans who are fleeing violence, persecution, poverty or intolerance".

The title is edited by human rights activist and writer Lucy Popescu and features contributions from Nick Barlay, Sebastian Barry, Amanda Craig, Sue Gee, A L Kennedy, Marina Lewycka, Hubert Moore, Courttia Newland, Katharine Quarmby, Noo Saro Wiwa, Joan Smith and Roma Tearne, who will be attending the event. 

Popescu intends to discuss the inspiration behind the book in the House of Commons and writers will be speaking about their decision to contribute and read extracts from the book.  The event will be supported by Labour poltiician Lord Alfred Dubs, himself a child refugee who fled the Nazis.

Barlay said: "My mother was ten years old when she lived through the siege of Budapest in 1944. Just over a decade later, in 1956, she and my father had to flee to Britain following the Soviet invasion of Hungary. Both events have enduring resonance in the 21st Century, and neither of my parents ever forgot that it was Britain that granted them, and many others, refuge. Contributing to A Country of Refuge is just one important way of highlighting the life-threatening difficulties civilians face in the context of conflict, and that countries that are able to help should make this a priority."

Barry added: "If we don't honour the redemptive fact that all modern humans belong to the same family, and that therefore the children who have been abandoned in France are our children and our urgent responsibility, then there is no justice, and no human history to be proud of."

The event will take place today (Tuesday 13th December) at 11.15am to 1pm in Committee Room 9, House of Commons.