Alt-Write: Creative Reactions to Uncertain Times EXTRACT
Alt-Write is a collection of stories, poems and illustrations for children from 50 leading authors and artists with all profits going to UNHCR.
It is a fantastic project and the list of contributors is remarkable - it is full of inspiring, talented writers and illustrators. If you visit the website Alt-Write you can find out a lot more, including a few short extracts from some of the stories.
Or you can read on here....
THE DEMENTORS OUTSIDE by SAVITA KALHAN
The Dementors Outside
She sang softly, like a whisper under her breath, as she stirred the gloopy concoction, adding water to make sure there was enough for the three of them. She shivered as a gust of wind lifted one side of the tent, and wished that her brother Aboudy and her sister Sousan would come back quickly. Aya called her concoction butterbeer, after the drink that Harry and Hermione drank in the Three Broomsticks. It kept the young wizards warm when it was freezing cold and snowy outside, and it was always cold where Aya was. Rain, snow, ice, wind, but rarely sunshine, breezed through their home as though they had more right to be here than Aya, Aboudy and Sousan.
When Aya first read The Philosopher’s Stone she was nine years old and she had whizzed through it like lightning, so she had read it again more slowly – this time savouring each word. She read it a third time while she waited impatiently for the next book to arrive. Once The Chamber of Secrets had hit the shelves of her local bookshop, she disappeared into her room for the whole weekend, only appearing briefly for mealtimes, much to her mother’s despair. The eagerly anticipated The Prisoner of Azkaban, the third book in the series, arrived without its cover, but Aya didn’t care. War could be raging outside and Aya would not know it. Again, chores were left undone, beds unmade, but by then Aya’s mother had other concerns. When the fourth book arrived, it was passed over to Aya by the bookseller himself.
“Forgive me, Aya. I cannot get hold of anymore. The shop is no more.” He hurried away as though the devil were at his back, a suitcase in each hand.
Aya did not pause to wonder where the shop had gone now that Harry Potter and the Goblet and Fire was safe in her hands. She hid it deep inside the bag her mother told her to pack, the clothes that should have gone into the bag lay scattered on her bed.
“But you’ll freeze to death where we’re going,” her older sister told her. “The book is too heavy, take it out and put your warm clothes in there.”
But Aya refused.
With a shake of her head, as though she was far more than just four years older than Aya, Sousan packed her sister’s clothes into her own bag. She knew much more about where they were going than Aya did, and she also knew that, outside her sister’s fantastical book-world, magic was not real and that the adventure they were about to embark upon was going to be more terrifying than facing a hungry troll in a locked room.
Aya found out about the adventure for herself.
Alt-Write is a non profit collection. All the money raised from sales will be donated to UNHCR (the IN refugee agency). All the authors have donated their work for free but the editors need to raise enough money to cover the production costs of the book. This is a crowd-funding project which means Alt-Write are seeking support and donations. Using the links below, you can donate to the campaign - from as little as £4.
In the words of Mary Hoffmann and Rhiannon Lassiter:
We are asking for your support to bring this book to life. In our campaign video we talk about the need for a new narrative, for building bridges not walls and for compassion and understanding for those who have suffered from the devastating affects of war and conflict.
By donating to our campaign you can support the creation of new work, contribute to new understanding and secure yourself a copy of the book or the original artwork produced by fantastic writers and artists.
You can watch a You Tube video all about the campaign and hear from some of the authors themselves why they are so passionate about this project. It's just 7 minutes long.
You can donate using the link below: