People’s Book Prize Interview

The second interview with The People’s Book Prize comes from From Syria With Love’s Molly Masters.

  1. Have you got a message for your readers?  Use and enhance your passions, skills, and knowledge. Invest time in what you love, and do it for a cause you love. Amplify the voices of those who need to be heard. Read, read, and read even more into what you feel passionate about. Create something meaningful, create something with impact, create something with love.
  2. What can we expect from you in the future?  Expect more books and advocacy raising awareness for the plight of refugees and others in crisis and need, as well as continued support for the charity sector. Supporting, caring for, and giving voice to people will forever be a permanent passion of mine, and I personally only expect for that love to grow stronger through more learning, understanding and writing.
  3. Any suggestions to support libraries?  As ‘From Syria with Love’ is now being created into an eBook by Apostrophe Books, I have been enlightened as to how some 40,000 libraries worldwide will now have access to my book. This is an incredible thought, and I hope that more libraries will be endorsed financially to enable them to embrace the growing accessibility of eBooks in order to provide even more literature to the public. Furthermore, as a child, I attended a library group called Chatterbooks, and the library has long been a place of community and togetherness for me. It is a place where the new generation’s investment in literature and learning can be supported. It is important to forever cherish and protect libraries as a place of wonder for children, and continue these projects, both in our own libraries, and the invaluable libraries working in crisis areas.

…Brian Bilston is voting for it, will you?

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Guest Blog: ‘to trumplicate’

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“I am inventing a verb, to trumplicate, from which the noun is trumplication and the adjective trumplicated.

The definition of trumplicate is to disguise untruth by complicating what is essentially straightforward, so that most people are misled; a practice frequently used to defend the indefensible without actually lying outright.

An example of trumplication is the excuse given by President Trump (the eponymous founder of the technique) for restricting access to the United States from seven countries who happen to have Muslim majority populations, in order to convince people that this is not a Muslim ban.

Here is what the Trumplicator said: ‘The seven countries named in the Executive Order are the same countries previously identified by the Obama administration as sources of terror.’

So the intended trumplicity is to give an impression that the policy is soundly based on president set by the previous precedent. (Trumplifiers often confuse their words, as the Great Trumplicator has been known to do on twitter, for example inventing the apt mis-spelling ‘unpresidented’. Mr Trump’s actions are already way into ‘unpresidented’ territory.)

If it was OK for Obama, why are so many soggy liberals marching up and down? This is the underlying question, intended to confuse and create doubt.

The point of trumplication is not to persuade elites, like the bosses of Apple, Google and Coca-Cola, who are so distant from real people’s lives as to be critical of restrictions on the seven coincidentally Moslem-majority countries: the target is those real people.

It works. My wife came home from her pilates class saying that people there were saying – but didn’t Obama select these seven countries? I don’t suppose they went home and found a reliably old-fashioned media outlet for an accurate account.

Here is what AP Fact Check (Associated Press) says about the above quote from the Great Trumplicator:

‘That is misleading. The Republican-led Congress in 2015 voted to require visas and additional security checks for foreign citizens who normally wouldn’t need visas — such as those from Britain — if they had visited the seven countries: Iraq, Iran, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Somalia and Yemen. This was included in a large spending bill passed overwhelmingly by Congress and signed by Obama.

As the law was enacted, the Obama administration announced that journalists, aid workers and others who travelled to the listed countries for official work could apply for exemptions. There were no special U.S. travel restrictions on citizens of those seven countries.’

So there was no Obama ban on those seven countries, but only an extra layer of checks. This demonstrates how trumplication is not the same as lying – it is true that President Obama was party to a decision involving these countries, in a very specific and limited way, unlike the unspecific, unlimited way in which entire populations are now subject to blanket restrictions. A carefully calibrated measure of caution is not the same thing as wholesale and arbitrary actions. Trump campaigned on banning Muslims and is delivering: it’s as straightforward as that. A lie is easy to spot, but unravelling a trumplication needs a little effort (as in Jan Masaryk’s saying about the truth being a chore – see last blog)

This piece of trumplication has also had some effect on elites. The Wall Street Journal’s editor-in-chief, Gerard Baker, has instructed his reporters not to use the term Muslim-majority because it is ‘very loaded’. It is also very factual.”

From ‘Word for Word‘, by John Williams. Read more here.

John was director of communications and press secretary at the Foreign Office for six years. Working for Robin Cook, Jack Straw and Margaret Beckett, he was the chief media advisor to the Foreign Office on every major international event since the Kosovo conflict, and was heavily involved in the negotiations with Iran on its nuclear programme. He was also political correspondent of the London Evening Standard, and political editor and columnist for the Daily Mirror, in a journalistic career that spanned 25 years.

John is also author of IndieBooks’ ‘Robin Cook: Power and Principles’ and ‘Williams on Public Diplomacy’.

With a little help from our friends

We are delighted to announce that Apostrophe Books will be producing the eBook for ‘From Syria With Love’, on a not-for-profit basis.

We’re really exited to have them join us on this project, as we know they will be invaluable in helping us spread the message of From Syria With Love even further, and raising more money for this amazing charity.

One exciting development is the slightly revised cover for the eBook (and indeed, any reprints), to include an endorsement from literary giant, Michael Morpurgo.

In December we were lucky enough to be invited to the ‘Singing for Syrians’ carol service at St Margaret’s church in Westminster (special thanks here to Pamela Carrington for the invitation, and Victoria Prentis MP for organising a great event), where we were able to talk to Michael and give him a copy.

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Thank you to everyone for your support so far, and don’t forget the paperback is still available from our website and all good bookshops .

Launch Photos, From Syria With Love

This time last week we were getting ready for what was a very special launch for ‘From Syria With Love’ at Waterstones in Brighton. The highlight of the night was a live video chat with a couple of the children living in the Al Abrar refugee camp in Lebanon, featured in the book (pictured below is Bayan).

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So now it’s officially launched, you can get your copy here!

From Syria With Love – The Cover Story

We would like to say a huge thank you to Nikita Austen, who produced this brilliant cover for From Syria With Love.

final-cover-picThis cover is particularly special as it actually incorporates artwork from Kawthar, one of the children living in the Al Abrar refugee camp featured in the book, which is displayed at From Syria With Love‘s exhibitions – and which has become one of their most iconic pieces.

Below you can see some of the initial designs Nikita submitted when we embarked on the project – it was a tough choice!

The proceeds of this book will go directly to the charity ‘From Syria With Love’ to support the children of the Al Abrar camp featured in this book, as well as others across Syria and Lebanon.

 

 

 

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From Syria With Love

We are delighted to announce that we have teamed up with aid charity, From Syria With Love to publish a unique portrait of the lives of children caught up in the Syrian conflict.

The book, also ‘From Syria With Love’, features a group of children living in a refugee camp in Lebanon. It combines their poems, pictures, letters and diaries with narratives and poetry by those who have worked with the children or been inspired by their stories.

Editor and contributor, Molly Masters, is a university student who was inspired first to volunteer with the charity and then launch the project.

‘We’ve all seen the terrible images from Syria on television’, said Molly. ‘In this book, we wanted to show the lives of real children, what conflict and exile means for them, and their hopes for the future. It doesn’t ignore the suffering, but the message is one of peace and love.’

From first meeting with Molly on September 5th 2016, the book is now being printed – and will be launched at Waterstones in Brighton on November 4th. This is pretty fast for the book trade and we’ve had great support from our printers, CPI, from Waterstones and from our distributors, Vine House.

Funds raised by the book will be used to help those featured within it, continuing the charity’s work in the Al Abrar refugee camp.

Our last charity fundraising book, just re-released in paperback, was the anthology ‘Why Willows Weep’, which raised over £60,000 for the Woodland Trust. We can only hope that From Syria With Love will also be able to raise some vital funds before the worst of the winter.

From Syria With Love will be officially released on November 1st 2016, but we are already accepting pre-orders here.

Trade orders: sales@vinehouseuk.co.uk

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