Author Anne Stairmand is encouraging authors to send signed children’s and YA books to domestic violence refuges to support her new charity, Refuge in Literacy UK.
Stairmand, who has self-published books such as Desmond’s Dragon and The Idiot Family at Home, set up the charity after donating some of her own titles to a local refuge last Christmas. Over the following months she rang 350 refuges around the country and they all said they would also like to receive books.
The charity now has a board of 10 people and is working to send more signed books to refuges. It is also creating reading prompts that will help parents read the books with their children.
“I can’t imagine anything worse than leaving your home because of violence with only a teddy and the clothes on your back,” she told The Bookseller. “I can’t think of anything more powerful for these children's self-esteem and pride than taking their new, signed book into school and showing the class.”
The charity launched at an event in Barking this month and Stairmand said she was “overwhelmed” by the passion and commitment in the room. “We had ladies from a survivor's panel talk about the immediate impact of the reading prompts and the literacy confidence they were now developing. We had an author call in on a Zoom call to share how important Refuge in Literacy UK was and how she had also been a victim of domestic violence and abuse.”