Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Monday, June 29, 2020

#WritersAgainstRacialInjustice raise $63k for the outstanding Equal Justice Initiative

At the beginning of June, novelist Lise Haines got in touch with me to see what we could do in the time of COVID-19 to protest against egregious acts of police brutality/murder of unarmed black men and women and systemic racism--so deeply scored into our national psyche. We decided to conduct a fundraiser to support the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI), founded by Bryan Stevenson (Just Mercy). Four more authors: Delia Cabe, Elizabeth Searle, Rosie Sulton, and Michelle Hoover joined us to form #WritersAgainstRacialInjustice, a fundraiser on Facebook. We started with a reasonable aim of raising 10K. By Juneteenth, we had raised $40,000. Now, in our final week (we're wrapping up the fundraiser on July 3rd), we have raised more than $55,000 for EJI.

It's been an amazing awakening to see the support of more than 1100 contributors collectively shining a light on EJI. Here are links to write-ups in The Boston Globe, Shelf Awareness, and Publishers Weekly, Emerson Today, and others.

Monday, December 9, 2019

Shelf Awareness Spotlights #authorsagainstborderabuse

On November 8, 2019, the inimitable Robert Gray of Shelf Awareness spotlighted #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse  - Read his column re-posted here. There's still time this giving season to raise more. Thank you!

Deeper Understanding

Robert Gray: 'You Can Add to the Conversation & Hope It Helps'

On a Sunday afternoon near the end of October, author Holly Robinson and her book club in Newburyport, Mass., hosted bestselling author Anita Diamant (The Red TentThe Boston Girl). That in itself may not be extraordinary; writers speak with book clubs all the time.
Anita Diamant (photo: Anne Easter Smith)
This gathering, however, was a little different. As Diamant observed in a q&a on Robinson's blog: "You can't change the world by writing, but you can add to the conversation and hope it helps."
Her appearance was connected to a fundraising initiative launched last summer by Jessica Keener, author most recently of Strangers in Budapest. Under the social media hashtag #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse, she had posted a call for fellow writers to donate consultation time in exchange for their clients contributing to organizations fighting immigrant detention at the border. More than 40 authors initially agreed to volunteer their time, a number that has increased dramatically since then. As of October 1, $17,000 has been raised.
In a recent Facebook post highlighting the Diamant event, Keener noted: "With the holiday season upon us, consider hosting an author as a gift--in exchange for $100 or $200 or more to the American Civil Liberties Union; the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services, the International Rescue Committee or Team Brownsville. It's a wonderful way to give back."
Jessica Keener (photo: Roger Gordy)
Recalling the genesis of #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse, Keener said, "On July 1, with Independence Day looming, I reached a bursting point about the kids in cages and border abuses. Freedom for all? I couldn't take it anymore. I had to do something--and why not something that used my skills to benefit others as a community. I am a writing consultant at GrubStreet here in Boston. What if published authors offered their writing or editing services or a book club visit in exchange for a donation to one of the organizations working to fight border abuse?"
Another inspiration for launching the project was the fact that "my father was a Jewish Army man in WW2, who helped liberate Dachau concentration camp," she observed. "As his daughter (he is no longer alive), I feel a responsibility to speak up and take action against injustice. #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse is one way to speak up and act against what I believe are egregious border abuses--tearing families apart, isolating and depriving young, innocent children of their basic rights."
Keener initially contacted about 30 author friends and everyone said yes. "Early supporters Randy Susan Meyers and Jenna Blum gave me confidence to really go for it," Keener noted. "In two days, #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse was about 40 strong. Then the Boston Globe put a mention in the Sunday paper on July 3. I have no idea how that happened but that inspired another 100 authors to enlist. We have mega New York Times bestsellers, debut novelists, memoirists, essayists, and all genres on the list."
Participating authors have included Gina Frangello ("Thrilled to be a participating author, but/and this thing will only make a true and larger difference once we all collectively have clients whose fees we are able to donate en masse. Let's make it happen!"), Maryanne O'Hara ("I am part of #authorsagainstborderabuse. We are donating our consultation time in exchange for donations to groups fighting the horror of children in cages and other border abuse (ACLU, RAICES, PenAmerica + others.") and Jenna Blum ("I just finished my 2nd consult for #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse.... We intend to keep this plate spinning until the camps are CLOSED.... Erica freaking Jong is doing this! DON'T BE DESPONDENT ABOUT THE CAMPS. Protest = saying you won't abide inhumanity. Resistance = disrupting inhumanity. Let's LEVEL UP.")
Lara Wilson's Be Well Here and its authors collectively raised $2,000 (as a result of a matching gift by IRC); and Linda Schreyer's Slipper Camp raised $1,125 for the ACLU.
"It was incredible," Keener said. "With the holiday season upon us, I'm hoping people will think about enlisting an author or inviting an author to their book club in exchange for a donation to ACLU, RAICES, IRC, Team Brownsville and others. What a perfect holiday gift. It's been a wholly positive experience for everyone involved. I wish I could raise $17 million, but we all have to start somewhere. For now, I'd like to cross the $20,000 mark before the end of the year. "
--Robert Gray, contributing editor

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

November Update: #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse raises $18,000

11.8.19 - $18,000 raised! RECHARGING for the HOLIDAYS! GIFT AN AUTHOR to your BOOKCLUB - Choose from our list of authors (below) who signed on for consultations and book club visits. All donations  help organizations working against border abuses. All donations go directly to ACLU, RAICES, IRC, and TEAM BROWNSVILLE.  Let's get it to $20K for the holidays. HOST an AUTHOR for your bookclub and donate!

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

IN THE BOSTON GLOBE on July 4, 2019 #AuthorsAgainstBorderAbuse + updates

Graphic created by Jenna Blum 
THANKS to the Boston Globe article and your incredible response and efforts  #authorsagainstborderabuse is 150 strong. See list below for authors donating consultation or Book Club virtual visit times in exchange for clients' donations to organizations fighting kids in cages and border abuse. (ACLU, RAICES, International Rescue Committee , Team Brownsville + others.) 

UPDATE (11.8.9): We are in Shelf Awareness today$17,000--total donations raised -- donations that have gone directly to organizations working to stop border and detention camp abuses. A special shout out to BeWellBehere.Org and the authors who collectively raised $2000 (as a result of a matching gift by IRC) in collaboration with #authorsagainstborderabuse and Online Slipper Camp, which raised $1125 for ACLU.

Note: Authors (writers, and everyone) unable to engage in a consultation may donate $100 or more to one of the orgs working against border abuses and will be listed under Key Supporters. Please email me your donation receipt to: Jessicakeener1(AT) This can also be a team donation of $100 or more and I'll list your team's name. THANK YOU!

Answers to commonly asked questions: 
1) Can clients give to an organization they favor? YES.
2) Must the consult take place in July? Not at all. You can book your consults (one-hour consults for $100/hr for total of 3 consults max) months from now, but please go ahead and donate to the organizations NOW. 
3) Is it too late if you are an author and want to donate your writing/editing/biz expertise? It’s never too late. DM me and go for it.
4) Once the client shares the receipt w/the author for the consult (via email), what's next?  Book your consult. Authors will let me know the amount of their clients' donations so I can track our total raised. No need to send the receipt to me. 
5) Why will a client enlist an author? Example scenarios: To get help tweaking a letter to an agent or feedback on part of a novel, memoir, short story or essay, or proposal; also, BOOK CLUBS can BOOK AN AUTHOR to visit (via skype/conference call or in person if local) in exchange for a $100/hr donation. 
6) How do clients find authors? Find authors on Facebook, Instagram,Twitter, and author websites, which typically have contact info. 
7) Clients: consultations can take place on the phone or via email. Geography is not important. 
8) Clients: When an author is booked up, I will mark "booked" next to the author's name on this list, so you can seek a consult with others on the list. 
9) More questions?  I'll continue to address them and update.  

AUTHORS:  We are novelists, essayists, memoirists, journalists, playwrights, poets, short story writers, NYT Bestsellers, award-winners in every genre. Thank you for making this happen:
Heather Abel
Karen CL AndersonBooked
Bethany Ball
Jennifer Banash
Sage Blackwood
Ellen Baker    BOOKED
Karen E. Bender
Sheila Blanchette
Jeanne McWilliams Blasberg
Jenna Blum BOOKED
Gayle BrandeisBOOKED
Jennifer S. Brown
Jennifer Joan BillockBOOKED
Andi Buchanan
Chris Cander
Cassandra Carr
Emily Cavanagh
Meg Waite Clayton
Diane Lopresti Chamberlain   BOOKED
Jon Clinch
Tish Cohen
Paula Coomer
Gemma Cooper-Novack
Jeanine CumminsBOOKED
Diana Davidson
Ed Davis
Anita Diamant 
Ronlyn Domingue
Kimberly Elkins
Pamela Erens
Kris Faatz
Amy Ferris
Lucy Ferriss
Barbara Fischkin
Patry Francis
Gina FrangelloBOOKED
Dreama Frisk
Lisa Genova
Alex George
Elizabeth George
Steven Gillis
Lisa Gornick
Amy Gottlieb
Aine Greaney
Heather Gudenkauf
Lise Haines
Jennifer Haupt
Amy HempelBOOKED
Billie HintonBOOKED
Susan Ito
Erica Jong
Lesley Kagen
Marjan Kamali
Jessica Francis Kane
Jessica KeenerBOOKED
Beth Kephart BOOKED
Crystal L. King
Christina Baker KlineBOOKED
Anne KorkeakiviBooked
Sandra Lambert BOOKED
Holly LeCraw
Caroline Leavitt BOOKED
Marie Myung-OK Lee
Marianne Leone
Tehila Lieberman
Larry Lindner
Jessica Lipnack
Judy L. MandelBOOKED
Bianca Marais
Louise Marburg
Lisa MartinBOOKED
William Martin
Alex Marzano-Lesnevich BOOKED 
Eric McNulty
Edie Meidav
Ellen Meeropol
Susan Merrell BOOKED
Roland Merullo
Randy Susan MeyersBOOKED
Kate Milliken
Elena Mikalsen
Angela Mitchell
Maria Mutch
Amy Sue NathanBOOKED
Eva Lesko Natiello
Ruth Nemzoff 
Maryanne O'hara
Amy Phillips Penn
Peg Alford Pursell
Virginia Pye BOOKED
Dawn Raffel
Holly Robinson
Roxana Robinson
Amy Rogers
M.J. Rose
Renee Rosen 
Bev Katz Rosenbaum
Roger Rosenblatt
Jordan Rosenfeld
Elizabeth Rosner
Carolyn Roy-Bornstein
June Sylvester Saraceno
Rabbi Sandy Sasso
Whitney Scharer
Linda Schreyer
Suzanne Strempek Shea
Amy Shearn
Jacqueline Sheehan
Masha Shukovich
Priscille Sibley
Douglas Silver
Ed Simon
Julie Skinner
Jason Skipper
Leora Skolkin-Smith
Gina Sorell
Cindy Lynn Speer
Donna Baier Stein 
Rene Steinke
Emily Strelow
Alexandra Styron
Rosie SultanBOOKED
Terese Svoboda
Grace Talusan
Jean Trounstine
Mary Volmer
Alison Wallis
Brooke WarnerBOOKED
Linda K. Wertheimer
Mary Vensel White
Joan WilkingBOOKED
Ellen Marie Wiseman
Mark Wisniewski
Julie Wu
Steve Yarbrough
Kathleen Yearwood
Danielle Younge-Ullman
Peter Zheutlin
Zoe Zolbrod


Be Well Be Here
Bernie Bro Brown
Carmella Dion
Michelle Hoover
Stephen Kiernan
Christina Baker Kline
Elizabeth Letts
Lisa H. Perkins
Melissa Pritchard
Barbara Linn Probst
Elizabeth Searle
Slipper Camp: Virginia Beck, Alexia Carter Worsham, Yael Swerdlow, Kristine Friend, Kate O'Brien Wooddell, Rebekah Spicuglia, Sharon Dukett, Christina V. Larsen, Be Boggs
B.A. Shapiro
Donna Baier Stein
Unbound Book Festival
Team Brownsville :Amy Ferris, Jessica Lipnak, Ken MacKenzie, Jessica Keener

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Author Joy

Not sure words are needed here. My hardcovers arrived this week and I am over the moon with the beautiful magical object that I can hold in my hands. I am proud to be an Algonquin Books author.