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Odyssey: A Continuous Reading For Calais – Please Share!

Article by Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin © 14 August 2016.
Posted in Guest Blogs ().

L'École Laïque du Chemin des DunesOn Thursday 18 August a host of Ireland’s bestselling authors will gather for Odyssey: A Continuous Reading for Calais to raise funds for L’École Laïque du Chemin des Dunes, a school for child and adult refugees in Calais, and for the unaccompanied minors of the camp.

From 11am to 8pm there will be a continuous reading in the front window of Dubray Books on Grafton Street
50 readers will read a piece of their choosing for 10 minutes each on the theme of Travel – ancient odysseys, fantasies, seafaring epics, solo adventures, tales of displacement, of close escapes, of language barriers and cultural encounters, of strange and wonderful beasts and new beginnings in foreign lands.

In order of appearance, in the 50 slots between 11am and 8pm we have:

Paul Howard (Ross O’Carroll Kelly), Sharon Hogan, Sam Blake (Vanessa Fox O’Loughlin), Brian O’Brien, Mikey O’Neill, Justine Delaney Wilson, Kevin McGee, Stephen Collins, Jane Clarke, Gavin Kostick, Catherine Ann Cullen, Sheila Ahern, Becky Long, Phil Lynch, Allyson Prizeman, Fr Peter McVerry, Ciarán Gray, Katie Donovan, Mary-Elaine Tynan, Liz Nugent, Sandrine Pac-Kenny, Louise Kennedy, Eleanor Methven, Amanda Piesse, Vanessa Ronan, Mark Pollock, Simone George, Sharon O’Halloran, Rosita Sweetman, Noel Rock, TD, Aideen Nic An Tuile, Lainey Alexander, DYT, Gráinne Clear, Colm Keegan, Angela Carr, PJ Lynch, Carol McGill, Marie Claire Mundi Njong, Jean Marie Rukundo Philemon, Sinisa Koncic, Annet Mphapale, Lauren Foley, Sam Tranum, Brian Conaghan, Jane Mitchell, Daria Marie Walsh, Julie-Ann Lyons, Paul H. Tubb, Una Kavanagh, Alice Kinsella, Aoife Carrigy, Aisling O’Sullivan.

This one-off fundraising event in aid of L’École Laïque du Chemin des Dunes, will fund the purchase of dictionaries and other basic items, and to provide emergency assistance to unaccompanied minors and those most in need in the camp.

What is most needed for the school are multiple copies of dictionaries: Pashtun, Dari (Afghan Persian), Kurdish, Sorani (variant of Kurdish) and Arabic into French and/or English. Chairs and other basic items are also needed.

However, the camp situation is precarious and volatile, and there are rumours of some or all of it being destroyed in early September. When the southern half was razed in March 2016, some 100 minors went missing. According to those caring for them in the camp at the moment, around 65 unaccompanied minors have no phones, so they urgently need basic mobile phones and phone credit, which could make all the difference to their safety. In addition to this, there’s currently a food shortage in the camp. The kitchens provide 4,000 meals per day. In the last census there were 9,000 people registered. Recently the authorities closed down the restaurants which supplemented the free meals, so one of the most requested items is fuel for cooking, as people receive a weekly food parcel. 1 gas canister costs €30 and will feed a family for 1 month or a community for 2 weeks. We will be responding to a fast-evolving situation as appropriately and effectively as we can with all monies raised.

Click here to make a donation, even the smallest amount will go a long way, or come on the day and support us!

Fiona McHardy who is co-ordinating the event still urgently needs bucket rattlers so if you have a student at home who needs to improve their CV or want to get involved yourself, contact her @Feebar on Twitter!


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Writing.ie has been developed and is run by Vanessa Fox O'Loughlin who founded The Inkwell Group publishing consultancy and is Ireland's leading literary scout. Vanessa is represented by literary agent Simon Trewin and writes crime as Sam Blake. LITTLE BONES will be published by Bonnier's Twenty7 imprint in May 2016. Vanessa is the Chair of Irish PEN and the Irish and Eurozone Adviser to the international organisation The Alliance of Independent Authors.