Ness refugee fundraiser hits £500,000

Ness refugee fundraiser hits £500,000

A fundraising effort for Syrian refugees started by author Patrick Ness has raised more than half a million pounds.

Authors including Philip Pullman, John Green, Marian Keyes, and Cressida Cowell have all donated £10,000 each, matching donations made by the public.

Ness began his fundraising bid on Thursday (3rd September), saying he would match £10,000 in public donations, but the campaign soon took off with dozens of other authors becoming involved.

Pullman is the latest author to donate £10,000, and over the last three days, other authors to get involved have been Cowell, Jill Mansell, Jessie Burton, Anita Anand and Anthony Horowitz.

Members of the Children’s Writers and Illustrators Group of the Society of Authors, who attended the group's New Visions conference at the weekend, have made a number of pledges totalling more than £3,000, with the final amount still to be confirmed.

Including Gift Aid, the campaign has raised £511,954.85 as of 10.10am this morning (Monday 7th September).

Other writers who have matched public donations of £10,000 are David Nicholls, Rosamund Lupton, Francesca Simon, Derek Landy and Jojo Moyes.

Green’s brother Hank Green has also donated £10,000, as has children’s publisher Andersen Press, and two groups of American authors.

Publisher Scott Pack auctioned off a full editorial review of a manuscript, with money also going to Ness’ fundraiser.

The Sunday Times’ children’s books editor Nicolette Jones is auctioning off a one-hour children’s book advice Q&A at a school, library, community centre, bookshop or online.

Author Amy Plum offered to send gifts from Paris to five people who donated £500 or more to Ness’ campaign.

The Big Green Bookshop in Wood Green, London, has been appealing for donations of books to help stock the library in the migrant camp known as the Jungle in Calais.

Donations to Ness' campaign are still being taken online.

Today the German Publishers & Booksellers Association, the Frankfurt Book Fair and LitCam – the Frankfurt Book Fair Literacy Campaign - announced a series of new initiatives to help refugees.

To coincide with International Literacy Day on 8th September, the groups have launched Books Say Welcome, which aims to give refugees quick and easy access to educational and reading material.

Reading and Learning Corners will be established in the vicinity of refugee housing and the German Publishers & Booksellers Association is supporting the action with a call for donations, while the Frankfurt Book Fair is offering free tickets and events for refugees at the fair.

The initiative has been sponsored by the author and expert in Middle Eastern Studies Navid Kermani, who will receive this year’s Peace Prize from the German Publishers & Booksellers Association.

Kermani said: “The number of refugees is growing around the world. And in the immediate vicinity of Europe, war, lawlessness, displacement, mass murders, systematic rape and ethnic cleansing are devastating entire countries – just as Europe experienced in its own history. We shouldn’t shut ourselves off from this – we can’t in any event. The refugees need protection, help and support.”