Leading authors pen Christmas stories for London homelessness charity

News - Bookselling Friday, 14 December 2018

AS Byatt, Lennie James and Michael Morpurgo contribute to Home for Christmas, sold in by London booksellers from this morning to raise money for the homeless

From today, Waterstones, Foyles and Daunt Books booksellers will raise money for The Passage with the sale of Home for Christmas, a collection of three stories by AS Byatt, Lennie James and Michael Morpurgo. With a foreword by Sue Lawley, all proceeds from the book will go to The Passage, a central London charity working to end homelessness on the streets.

Home for Christmas is published by Daunt Books Publishing today (14 December) to coincide with The Passage's annual fundraising carol concert, which is held at St Margaret's Church, Westminster Abbey. The stories will be read at the carol concert, after which the limited-edition book, priced at £4.99, will be available for sale at Waterstones, Foyles and Daunt Books in London.

Sue Lawley, broadcaster, journalist and long-time supporter of the charity, said: "It was after I had read at a carol service last year that my husband, Hugh, said he thought it was time we found some new words by modern writers to refresh our Christmas celebrations. And so the idea was born. We wanted to do it for The Passage because living in Central London, it is a homeless charity close to our hearts. We were delighted by the response from the authors we approached. We've ended up with three touching stories by three marvellous writers, each looking at Christmas through the eyes of a different generation. It's given us all a wonderfully warm Christmas feeling!"

Mick Clarke, ceo of The Passage, said: "The Passage is very grateful to Daunt Books Publishing for designing and producing, completely free of charge, Home for Christmas, and to Waterstones, Foyles and Daunt Books for donating every penny from their sale of this book. When we see someone sleeping out on our streets, it is clear that something has gone terribly wrong in their life.

"At Christmas, that image takes on an even greater poignancy. For most of us it is hard to imagine being street homeless, yet we have all experienced moments of inner homelessness; times of bereavement, depression, or times when we simply feel at a loss. At those times it is the grace of our support networks; our friends and family, that stop this from becoming physical homelessness. For those without that support, there is The Passage. The proceeds from this special book will ensure that The Passage can continue our work to end street homelessness and help more people to find a place to call home; not just for Christmas, but a home for good."

James Daunt, managing director of Waterstones, which will sell Home for Christmas, said: "We are very pleased to celebrate the work of The Passage which remains as imperative as ever. To do so in a way that celebrates also the genius of AS Byatt, Lennie James and Michael Morpurgo is especially pleasing."

Byatt's Unto Us a Boy is Born depicts the enduring love of parents for a wayward child, while James remembers a first Christmas tinged with sadness and redeemed by kindness in That First Without Her Christmas Day. Morpurgo's The Hopes and Fears of all the Years is haunted by Christmases past and the memories that give meaning to the season.

Pictured: AS Byatt

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