The I Belong Here foundation exists to increase access to reading, books, literature, nature and the great outdoors, helping to create a sense of belonging in all regardless of background, so all can feel safe and welcome while journeying through the world.
Initiatives include raising enough from donations to distribute thousands of free copies of I BELONG HERE throughout the UK, giving copies away at train stations and on trains – I was racially abused while making a train journey – and on countryside pathways including retracing the journey of reclamation I made along the backbone of Britain.
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Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train, has become patron of the I Belong Here foundation, with a generous donation to support Anita Sethi in her mission to get her book I Belong Here to as wide a selection of people as possible – a fitting irony as Sethi was racially abused on a train journey, an experience recounted in her Wainwright Prize-shortlisted book.
Sethi will be embarking on an Autumn tour of the North, retracing the route in I Belong Here and giving out free copies along the way.
Paula Hawkins says: ‘I want to support Anita in her mission to get her brilliant book into the hands of as wide a selection of people as possible”
Anita Sethi says: “I’m so thrilled to announce that the brilliant author Paula Hawkins is a patron of the I Belong Here foundation. I’m deeply grateful that her generous donation means that I will be able to retake the TransPennine train journey on which I was racially abused and told that I don’t belong here, as well as walking Pennine pathways and journeying through UK countryside and cities, distributing free copies of I Belong Here along the way. I’ll also be getting free copies into the hands of low-income and marginalised groups along with a series of free nature writing workshops. Free copies of I Belong Here will be given out to help create a sense of belonging for all including those who can’t afford books and haven’t before found themselves reflected in books.
As the world reopens from lockdown and journeys become possible once more, I hope to help recalibrate the world into a fairer one for all to belong in and Paula Hawkins’ support as patron is vital in this dream becoming a reality.”
Sethi has also been awarded an RSL Literature Matters Award which will facilitate a series of free I Belong Here nature writing workshops for northern writers of colour and those from low-income backgrounds.
The I Belong Here foundation is in memoriam Sophie Christopher (1990-2019).
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