Independent publishers have joined forces with a Hackney bookshop for a charity event in aid of helping the homeless.
Burley Fisher and local publisher Influx Press will host the fundraiser on Wednesday 27th March for homeless charity North London Action for the Homeless alongside independent publishers Granta, Canongate, Atlantic, Jacaranda, Pennisula, OWNIT! and Open Pen.
Kit Caless, co-director at Influx Press decided to organise something for his local homeless charity after feeling impotent in the face of rising homelessness in the borough and London:
He said: “Homelessness is visible and has clearly been on the rise in the last five years. Often you can feel like it’s a problem that you can’t tackle personally, other than giving change to someone who is on the streets. As a local publisher engaged with our community I felt that there was something we could tangibly do to try and make a difference. I’m really happy so many great publishers have come on board to support this event. Publishing can seem a rarefied industry sometimes and I wanted to show that we can help our communities outside of the traditional spaces of literature / libraries / schools.”
Local authors Tahmima Anam, Ashley Hickson-Lovence, Wayne Holloway and 2018 Women’s Prize shortlisted novelist Meena Kandasamy will read from their work.
Books donated from 10 selected publishers will be available to buy for 50% off RRP, beers will be provided by local brewery Five Points, and wine from a local merchants – with all proceeds going to NLAH.
Sam Fisher, who runs Burley Fisher books, added: “I have been struck by the very visible increase in homelessness in Hackney since we opened the shop three years ago. I think it’s very easy to feel powerless in the face of a problem that is so systemic, so I’m grateful to Kit and the other presses involved for providing an opportunity for the community to come together and offer some support.”
Caless aims to roll out the structure of the night to other boroughs in London, inviting local publisher to take on the organisation in their local borough and work with a local bookshop and local authors to put on a night in aid of a local homeless charity. “This model can be used with a publisher, authors and bookshop in Southwark, or Lewisham or Camden – and so on, even beyond London. We’ve tried to create a night that can be replicated with its own local flavour elsewhere and I encourage publishers to get in touch with me in the future.”
North London Action for the Homeless has been operating for more than 26 years in Hackney, providing free three course meals and support for the homeless, including hair cuts, health checks and clothing. Helena Smith from the charity said they were “thrilled” to be involved and are looking forward to the event.
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