Author Patrick Ness (The Rest of Us Just Live Here), along with the generous efforts of the entire YA community, raised over $1,000,000 for victims of the Syrian refugee crisis.
Ness created the fundraiser on September 3, after pictures of the body of a young Syrian boy, Aylan Kurdi, hit newspaper stands, claiming that he could “no longer stand to just tweet about it.” In his original post, Ness pledged to match donations up to £10,000 and shared his hope that the campaign could reach £20,000. Within two hours, Ness’ target was met, and with an outpouring of support from all corners of the YA publishing community, the campaign surpassed £600,000 ($1,000,000) in a little over a week.
When Ness first created the fundraising page, he never imagined that it would have such a profound impact on the YA community.
“I am astonished at how people have responded. I think, by pure accident, I happened to express my frustration at the right moment. And American YA authors took it right up and pledged and cajoled and offered things for people when they donated. I’m amazed. And I think this is the populace that the government needs to pretend doesn’t exist or it might just have to act like normal moral human beings about the refugee crisis,” said Ness to the Bookseller.
Ness’ charitable efforts were quickly backed by authors, readers and publishers alike. Authors Derek Landy (Skulduggery Pleasant), John Green (The Fault in Our Stars) and Jojo Moyes (Me Before You) were the first to match Ness’ pledge of £10,000, and were soon joined by a whole host of YA and women’s lit authors who rallied together to match Ness’ donation, including Suzanne Collins, Philip Pullman, Margaret Stohl, Jenny Han, Ransom Riggs, Tahereh Mafi, David Levithan, I.W. Gregorio, Stacey Lee and more. Authors also encouraged their readers to get involved by offering up incentives to readers who donated; Rainbow Rowell revealed the Hogwarts houses beloved characters from her books would be in once donation targets were reached, and Maureen Johnson gave bespoke nicknames to everyone on her Twitter timeline who donated.
Children’s and young adult publishers – from the world’s largest publishing houses to the two-person Blowfish Press – also heeded Ness’ call to arms. Several British publishing houses, including Egmont, Hatchette, Pan Macmillan and Ness’ publishers at Walker Books pledged donations of £5,000 or more. Penguin Random House, Epic Reads and Ness’ American publishers, Candlewick Press, were among the U.S. publishing houses to contribute to the cause.
“This community of books – people who write them, read them, publish them, sell them – is just extraordinary. You’ve been incredible,” said Ness on Twitter.
The proceeds from Ness’ fundraiser will be donated to U.K. based charity Save the Children, which has set up a Syria Crisis Appeal. The total sum raised currently stands at £686,826.42 ($1,051,747.60). For more on the fundraiser and how to donate, visit the fundraising page at Virgin Moneygiving.