Wednesday, 21 June 2017

What can a writer do? by Anne Booth

I'm so sorry I am late posting this this morning - It is 7.55 and I have only just realised the time and day.

Part of the reason is that there is too much going on at the moment. My dad is very ill in hospital and apart from visiting him and worrying about him, I have been involved in various meetings - some frustrating - others good- with different people to make sure he gets the best care. The whole thing has been further complicated by the closure of our local A & E and the downgrading of the hospital Dad is in, and that, in turn,  has made me very motivated to support the wonderful staff who have asked me to get involved with the campaign to save it. That has involved me in finding out more about the world of politics and the economics of austerity etc, which as writers and readers we already knew also impacts libraries and librarians and teaching assistants and school budgets. It seems there is so much hardship and suffering all over our country - and then we look abroad and see all the suffering there and it is easy to despair or have your heart break.

Grenfell Tower is a national tragedy with so many stories - stories of heroism, of unbearable waste of life, of greed, of refugees fleeing from war to find safety, only to suffer the trauma of a fire, of dishonesty and violence, but also of love and amazing bravery - including that of the young Grenfell GCSE students who turned up to their exams the next day in their pyjamas. It was noticeable when residents were interviewed about the criminal neglect of their home and how they felt treated with contempt, that one of the things cited as evidence of that contempt  was the closure of their local library and how it had been sold off to a local private school. 

I remember hearing Elizabeth Laird interviewed about how she felt terrible about the refugee crisis and her friend said - you are a writer - write. So she did.

I am so glad that authors and those in publishing are coming together to raise money for The Red Cross to help those in Grenfell Towers, and I thought that maybe the best thing for me today is simply to share the details of this. Authors can donate lots - I think I am going to offer to name some characters in forthcoming books - and anyone can bid for something amazing.

Lastly - through all of this we have to draw strength from the Good.

Here is an example - the heroism and self restraint and bravery of the Imam of the Finsbury Mosque after the recent horrid and fatal attack.

As writers, the act of writing itself is something we need to do - and as readers, reading beautiful things helps us.  Through all of these events - personal, national, international, children's books comfort me, and top of them all are books by Shirley Hughes, so I leave you with an illustration to cheer you.

It is from 'Alfie and the Birthday Surprise' by Shirley Hughes. If you need cheering, follow her twitter account and you will always find something to make you feel better.


Penny Dolan said...

You're right, Anne. Now does seem a terrible moment, in so many ways, and when you're dealing with the effects of certain choices on real people and places and workers, staying positive and hopeful is hard.
Very glad you mentioned the inspirational Elizabeth Laird and the auction in this post. Bidders and buyers are needed as much as offers!

Sue Purkiss said...

Yes, lots of good points here. Thanks, Anne!

Andrew Preston said...

Well said.

Anne Booth said...

Thank you Penny, Sue and Andrew.