Crime novelist Peter James is launching a new initiative called the Author Fund. The scheme is designed to help authors support libraries and those who struggle with reading.
Authors are being encouraged to use their position to raise money for charity The Reading Agency and to support projects such as the Summer Reading Challenge.
James, who will launch the Author Fund at the Reading Agency annual lecture being delivered by author Neil Gaiman this evening (14th October), has championed The Reading Agency as his charity of choice, asking his readers to donate via his own Just Giving page and at performances of a forthcoming stage adaptation of his novella, The Perfect Murder.
Authors are encouraged to hold bucket collections at events, to tweet and blog in support of the charity, and to donate stories for use in competitions.
The Reading Agency said: "£5,000 could help The Reading Agency reach an additional 5,000 disadvantaged children through the Summer Reading Challenge, £10,000 could train 50 librarians to support adults taking the Six Book Challenge and £20,000 could create skills-boosting, reading-inspired volunteering opportunities for 2,000 young people in areas of high unemployment."
The Author Fund has already gained the backing of authors including Gaiman, Cressida Cowell, David Nicholls, Karin Slaughter, Andy McNab and Julian Barnes. Gaiman will be auctioning a collection of signed titles, including several special editions, and Cowell will raffle off a private studio visit.
The Author Fund is supported using public funding by the National Lottery and Art Council England's Catalyst programme.