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英国作家试图借众筹文集扭转难民舆论处境

包括Monica Ali, William Boyd和Marina Lewycka在内的主流作家最近都忙着为一本众筹文集贡献自己的作品。这本文集旨在应对媒体上的反难民言论。

文集名为《难民之国》("A Country of Refuge" ),其中收集有科幻小说、诗歌和回忆录,作者涵盖了多位畅销作家,比如Sebastian Barry, Ruth Padel, Hanif Kureishi, Amanda Craig和Elaine Feinstein等等。前任英国国际笔会狱中作家委员会主席、作家Lucy Popescu是该文集的编辑,她希望最终至少有25名作者参与其中。

Popescu说,这个文集的目的是想要利用文学的力量改变人们对于难民的观念,比如他们是谁、他们来自哪里或者又将逃到哪儿去。这本书将由众筹出版社Unbound发行,Unbound目前正在从读者中募集捐款。

Popescu的灵感源自对《辛德勒的名单》作者Thomas Keneally的研究,以及2013年澳大利亚作家Rosie Scott的“A Country Too Far”。这同样是一本收集了包括Les Murray和Christos Tsiolkas的作品在内的文集。作为这部作品在澳大利亚的出版商,企鹅出版社表示,这本文集旨在“为那些无所依的人发声,试图宣扬一种对扭曲文字战争所持有的全新的真实有深度的理念”。

Popescu和经纪人带着这个想法与主流出版商和小型出版社进行了接触,但“没有人愿意接受它”,她说,“他们说这种书根本卖不出去”。

“所以我选择了众筹的方式来出版这本书”Popescu说。在之后与Unbound的合作中,她会把书籍校园巡回推广活动所得利润用于支付作家酬劳。

1947年和父母一起移居到英国,《乌克兰拖拉机简史》(“A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian”)的作者Lewycka也在作者名单之中。“我之所以同意为此次收录作文,是因为我着实为目前妇女和儿童长期所处的难以忍受的残酷非人道的处境感到担忧,”她说,“其实我们对待移民的态度无关乎我们想从他们身上得到什么,而是与我们想要成为什么样的人密切相关。”

在Unbound上,Popescu这样描述她的书——“这本书就是为了直面那些附加给逃难者的负面压力。他们在海外寻找避难所的同时,也是一种对人类精神力量的展示”,书中的作者们“都在通过自己的方式向传统观念和思维定式发起挑战,因为他们相信文字的力量,他们也具有阐明真理的能力。

“我原来也做过避难者文集,但我觉得当时只是在向教徒传教,做些无用功罢了,”Popescu说,“我现在正在努力联系每日邮报的一位读者,他可能是William Boyd的粉丝(William Boyd就是007的作者)。

同样还有一批畅销作家也加入了青年作家Patrick Ness的众筹中。Patrick Ness的作品集为“Save the Children and the Syrian refugees”。Ness在昨天发布项目时表示,他希望能募集到1万英镑以上,因为“我已经厌倦了只能在Twitter上表达我的不满。英国政府在处理难民危机时实在是软弱而不人道”。而目前项目已经筹集了近20万英镑,其中包括Marian Keyes, David Nicholls, Francesca Simon, Rosamund Lupton, John Green和Jojo Moyes等作家承诺的每人逾1万英镑的贡献。

“曾经小小的愿望突然得到了大满足。原本我只想募集1万英镑,结果现在两个小时之内你们就完成了我的目标,”Ness写到,“这一切都太激动人心了,我几乎一整天都激动地要哭出来。我发自内心地感谢你们每一个人的帮助!希望大家能继续支持!”

Major authors including Monica Ali, William Boyd and Marina Lewycka are lining up to contribute writing to a new crowdfunded anthology which aims to counter the anti-refugee rhetoric in the media.

A Country of Refuge will collect fiction, poetry and memoir from bestselling names also including Sebastian Barry, Ruth Padel, Hanif Kureishi, Amanda Craig and Elaine Feinstein. Editor Lucy Popescu, an author and former director of English PEN’s Writers in Prison Committee, is expecting the eventual list of contributors to number at least 25.

The collection aims to use literature to “change people’s perspectives about what it is to be a refugee, where they are coming from and what they are fleeing”, said Popescu. It will be published by crowdfunding press Unbound, which is currently seeking the necessary reader contributions.

Popescu was inspired to put the anthology together after learning of Schindler’s Ark author Thomas Keneally and Rosie Scott’s 2013 Australian version, A Country Too Far, which drew together writers from Les Murray to Christos Tsiolkas. Its aim was to address “the dispossessed, bringing a whole new perspective of depth and truthfulness to what has become a fraught, distorted war of words”, according to its Australian publisher, Penguin.

She and her agent approached mainstream publishers, and smaller presses, with the idea, but “none would take it”, she said. “They said it wouldn’t sell”.

“So I’m using crowdfunding to get the book out there,” said Popescu, who after working with Unbound says she will be able to pay her contributors, with any profits she makes to be “ploughed back into getting the book out there to schools and colleges and on tours”.

Lewycka, author of A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian, who came to the UK in 1947 with her parents, is among the authors committed. “I’m contributing to this anthology because I’m so concerned about the way we keep women and children in detention for quite a long time in unacceptable and cruel and inhumane conditions,” she said. “The way we treat migrants isn’t so much about what we want for them but about what sort of people we want to be.”

Popescu’s description of the book on Unbound says it is “intended to directly challenge the negative press given to those seeking a safe haven on these shores, as well as serving as a testament to the strength of the human spirit”, with writers “uniquely placed to challenge preconceived ideas and stereotypes, because of their understanding of the power of words and ability to articulate truths”.

“I’ve done refugee anthologies before, but my feeling is that they are preaching to the converted,” said Popescu. “I’m trying here to reach the Daily Mail reader, who might be a fan of, say, William Boyd because he’s written James Bond.”

A host of bestselling writers have also rushed to join the young adult author Patrick Ness’s fundraiser for Save the Children and the Syrian refugees. Launched yesterday by Ness, who wrote that he would match all funds raised up to £10,000 because “I’m tired of just tweeting my despair about the current refugee crisis that the UK government is responding to with inhumane feebleness”, the total raised is now at almost £200,000, with writers including Marian Keyes, David Nicholls, Francesca Simon, Rosamund Lupton, John Green and Jojo Moyes all pledging further £10,000 contributions.

“So what started out as a small thing has exploded. I offered to match up to £10,000 and you guys smashed that in under two hours,” wrote Ness. “This is all so amazing, I’ve basically spent 24 hours a bit weepy. THANK YOU ALL SO MUCH!!! KEEP IT GOING!!!”


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