The Authors for Grenfell initiative

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Tom Witcomb is an agent at Blake Friedmann, where he began working after hearing about an internship whilst working in a call-centre. His list of fiction and non-fiction has received widespread critical acclaim, and several awards shortlistings.

Like everyone, I was rocked to the core by the scene at Grenfell Tower, and as the story continued to unfold that day I worried that there was more to come; that the fire would ignite the touch paper of public discontent and vocal, violent discord would follow. I’m proud of my fellow Londoners who, in the climate, stayed cool, stayed calm, demanded answers.

When the agents at Blake Friedmann heard about the Authors for Grenfell initiative, there was no question about putting our names forward to offer our lots, and I watched in astonishment as the charity auction closed its bids and our numbers racked up. The generosity of the book world, the authors, the readers – strangers, banding together to help those in need – is overwhelming.

More and more, it feels as though people are telling us that everyone else is the enemy. This proved them all wrong. Donations for all lots, not just the big name ones, came in thick and fast from every corner: rich, poor, left, right, male, female, people of all creeds and everyone in between. Literature is borderless, readers unfettered by prejudice, united in a shared passion.

The success of the Authors for Grenfell Tower initiative is a triumph in many ways: in the immediate it will offer vital support to people who have been stripped of everything, including loved ones, but also, beneath the horror, the anger, the sadness, it spreads a message of hope in the fundamental goodness of humans.

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