Kennedy launches crowdfunder for Beirut book industry

Kennedy launches crowdfunder for Beirut book industry

The director of an international publishing consultancy company has launched a crowdfunding campaign to support those who work in Beirut's book industry, following an explosion that killed over 200 people in the Lebanese capital last week.

Bill Kennedy, founder of Avicenna Partnerships which offers sales and marketing representation for publishers in the Middle East, aims to raise £100,000. 

He said: "Following the explosion and the shockwave it caused, devastation, damage, injury and death have impacted so many individuals, families and businesses in the beautiful city of Beirut.

"All citizens of Beirut have been impacted and some of those work in the book business (retail bookshops, wholesale, library supply, publishing) in which I work. On behalf of the many international publishers for which I work, it has been my pleasure to work with many such people closely enough to call them my friends, not one of whom has been unaffected by this dreadful event and its consequences.

"The impact on the lives of these many friends has been utterly devastating. The help and engagement from the Lebanese government 'elected' to represent them has been either entirely missing or downright obstructive. Shame on the Lebanese government is fully deserved in so many ways but that accomplishes nothing. What can help is money to fund attempts to rebuild lives out of this profound, unprecedented devastation."

The explosion is believed to have been caused by a large fire at the Port of Beirut, which spread to a warehouse containing 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate. 

"My aim is to route donations through one trustworthy source in Beirut to a number of those working in the book business who are in most need, to help them through this unbelievably challenging period which will stretch out over many months," Kennedy said. "I have already organised funds for the source who will distribute locally but this short-term expediency desperately needs [to be] extended to others over the forthcoming days, weeks and months."