By Edward Nawotka
There has been an outpouring of support for the victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti by members of the publishing community, from fundraisers to direct donations. That being said, there’s always more that can be done. Our lead article today discusses the rise of what author Gabriel Levinson calls “cause publishing,” in which the proceeds of a publication are in turn donated back to the very subject the book concerns. He cites numerous examples, including What is the What? and Zeitoun, both from McSweeney’s.
So far, TIME /Time Inc. is planning a book entitled Haiti, sourced from its own reporting, with $75,000 from its sales to go to Haitian relief efforts. And in the UK, poets organized their own fundraiser, writing original work for the event, which may eventually be collected.
This got me thinking that the publishing community could and should put together a “quickie” literary anthology to benefit Haitian refugees. If it were done as an e-book, it could be done in a relatively short period, and if authors and publishers donate the content — ideally concerning Haiti or Haitians — as well as editorial and design services, the overhead could be kept to a minimum. The book could then be sold online with proceeds going to relevant charities.
It would not only be something righteous, but considering the fascinating work that has been written about Haiti, instructive and interesting for readers as well. The content could include previously published pieces, both fiction and nonfiction about the nation, as well as original reporting from the earthquake. An even more intriguing idea — and one that would require a bit more effort — would be to compile an anthology of original “loydans” — a Haitian genre of miniature stories, or “dwarf-sized sagas,” — that were a specialty of the late PEN Haiti founder George Anglade, who died in the quake.
Are there any takers? If you’re interested in pursuing such a project and willing to donate time and/or content and/or expertise, let us know via the comments below or Twitter using hashtag #ppdiscuss.