The publishing industry and the refugee crisis

Since the shocking images emerged earlier this week of three-year-old Aylan Kurdi, lying as if asleep on a beach in Bodran, Turkey, the current refugee crisis has come to dominate the public consciousness in an entirely new way. The outpouring of public support across Europe and the world, born of great sadness, has seen countless acts of personal generosity and created a demand for political change that was, in some cases, long overdue.
Across the UK and Ireland, different sectors and industries have been sparked to contribute their respective talents in different ways. In the music world, a series of artists has teamed up with the Red Cross to create an album called The Long Road, based on the stories of refugees and to generate much-needed funds. Music against Borders has launched a campaign for people to donate musical instruments that will be shipped to the infamous ‘Jungle’ migrant camp in Calais.
Sean Jones QC, a London-based employment and discrimination lawyer, appealed to his colleagues to donate the equivalent of a billable hour of their time to a fundit campaign, with a target of raising £7,500. As of today, this has raised over £98,000. (For any lawyers out there, the details of the campaign are here).
In the world of books, British teacher Mary Jones has set up a temporary library, Jungle Books, in the Calais camp, and is accepting books, dictionaries and, of course, picture books for children. Author Patrick Ness set up a funding page, pledging to match £10,000 in donations to raise funds for Save the Children. This was soon joined by a host of other writers, including award-winning children’s author Derek Landy, who promised to do likewise. As of today, the amount this has raised is an astonishing £408,000. Donations are still being accepted, of course, and if you would like to get involved, the details are here.
Given the immense scale of the crisis, described by some as the largest that Europe has faced since the Second World War, no one doubts that this must be the start of a long process of change, but it seems as if that change might have begun.