Author Patrick Ness’ Fundraising Appeal Raises Almost $1 Million for Syrian Migrant Relief
English author Patrick Ness says that his decision to start a fundraising page for Syrian refugees flooding Europe’s shores was a “spur of the moment decision.” On September 3rd, Ness posted an appeal on Twitter, saying that he felt he “had to do something” to respond to the growing refugee crisis and pledging to match the first £10,000 donated on his page to the charity Save the Children. Five days later, the campaign has raised over £509,861 ($778,853) and has garnered major support from other authors, publishers and readers.
Ness, an author of Young Adult fiction, says his decision to start the campaign was a reaction to feeling helpless in the face of an overwhelming humanitarian crisis. He says he was “tired of just tweeting my despair about the current refugee crisis that the U.K. government is responding to with inhumane feebleness.” His feelings have clearly struck a chord with other authors around the world.
Other Writers Respond to Syrian Humanitarian Crisis
Two hours after Ness’ initial tweet, author John Green offered to match the next £10,000 donated. Green’s offer was quickly followed by one from author Derek Landy, and then a writers group, led by U.S. authors Hank Green, Rainbow Rowell, and Jenny Han, pledged to match the next £10,000 raised.
On September 7th, Dutch/American author Marieke Nijkamp announced a fundraiser raffle on Twitter. Donors who give to Save the Children’s Syrian Refugee Appeal between September 7 and September 14 will receive a ticket for a raffle to be held in mid-September. Prizes include dozens of signed books, ARCs and writing critiques from over 40 authors. To enter the raffle and see a complete list of prizes, see the raffle page on Nijkamp’s website.
About the Syrian Refugee Crisis
In March, 2011, as part of the Arab Spring movement, Syrian citizens began massive anti-government demonstrations against the government of President Bashar al-Assad. The protests were met with police and military violence and widespread arrests, which quickly spiraled into a civil war that has killed over 220,000 people. According to the United Nations there are now over four million registered Syrian refugees, many of whom have been living in refugee camps in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon.
In recent months, the number of Syrians fleeing the violence at home has swelled to over 19 million, and thousands of refugees are now attempting to reach asylum in Europe, often in overcrowded, makeshift boats. More than 2,600 people have died trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe this year alone. According to the International Organization for Migration, the crossing point is the most dangerous in the world and the number of refugee deaths is growing at an alarming pace. On September 2, 2015, photographs of the body of a Syrian toddler, washed up on a Turkish beach, shocked the world and went viral. It was later revealed that his mother and brother were also killed while trying to reach Europe and that the family’s ultimate destination was Canada. According to Save the Children, over 1 million Syrian children have sought refuge in neighboring countries and over 5 million Syrian children are in need of assistance.
How You Can Help
Are you a self-published author? Want some free publicity on a moderately successful literary blog? Make a donation of $50 or more to any of the above charities during the month of September, and Readers+Writers Journal will feature a thumbnail of your book, with a link to its sales page, on our homepage for a month! Our site receives between 2,000 and 3,000 unique visitors each month – that could equal thousands of new readers. For more information, click here.