Alt-Write: creative reactions to uncertain times

This is the story behind what Chris Riddell sketched at Bologna airport:

Chris R cartoon Bologna

We were both on our way back from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, something I attend every year in my capacity as BookBrunch’s Bologna correspondent. I spotted Chris in the long security queue and we had a hug and kiss across the barrier. I said I wanted to ask him a favour when we got through and we reconvened in the bar. Our flight was late and Chris was a captive audience.

What I wanted to ask him was whether he would do the cover for an anthology that we very much want to publish at the Greystones Press and he said yes immediately. I bought him another beer and progressed from tea to Campari as we waited.

Alt-Write is an anthology to raise funds for refugees through the work of UNHCR. I am editing it with my daughter, the writer Rhiannon Lassiter. We’ve done this before when times were almost as bleak as now, when we published Lines in the Sand: New Writings on War and Peace (Frances Lincoln 2003).

This time, because we are publishing it from our own small independent press, we are crowdfunding it through IndieGoGo. Please do go and look at the campaign site: here

We have a truly stellar list of contributors, including Frank Cottrell Boyce, Jane Ray, Piers Torday, Alex Wheatle, Celia Rees, Sarah McIntyre and of course that cover:


And just on the same day that the Metropolitan Police published the “final” death toll figures for Grenfell Tower, the Booker prize-winning author Ben Okri gave us permission to publish his striking poem Grenfell Tower, June 2017, which contains the lines, “If you want to see how the poor die, come see Grenfell Tower.”

Here is the accompanying illustration we commissioned from Jeff Perks:

Better GrenfellSo you see, this collection of stories and poems is stuffed full of goodies and we really, really want to publish it. So do go to our IndieGoGo page and give generously.