April 23, 2022

Waterstones appeal aims to raise £1m for Ukraine disaster fund


The publishing industry: responding admirably to the crisis in Ukraine (Photo by Marko Milivojevic on Pixnio)

As the conflict in Ukraine intensifies again in the east, and with an estimated 5 million people now estimated to have fled the country, humanitarian aid efforts continue.

We’ve been keeping abreast of the publishing industry’s response in recent weeks, with Bluemoose and Little Toller’s Packed With Hope project now coming to fruition, and last month’s Book Aid for Ukraine auction raising over £70,000.

Now, Waterstones has announced the Read for Ukraine scheme, which will see publishers donate books by the likes of Ali Smith, Maggie O’Farrell and Lawrence Durrell, then give 100% of the profits to Oxfam’s Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal. A special charity edition of Ukrainian author Andrey Kurkov’s masterful Death and the Penguin is also included in the list; £10 of the £12.99 rrp will go to the UHA.

The Guardian‘s report from this week carried a quote from Waterstones CEO James Daunt, who said:

We are very proud as booksellers to be able to work with authors and publishers to make this collective contribution to help the humanitarian effort to support those affected by the crisis in Ukraine. We thank the authors and publishers for their generosity. This is a compelling selection of books, with every penny from their sale going to support this urgent work.

Danny Sriskandarajah, chief of executive of Oxfam GB, said the charity were grateful for the scheme:

We are incredibly grateful to everyone involved in the Read for Ukraine initiative for their support to people fleeing devastating conflict in Ukraine. As humanitarian needs continue to grow, the money raised will help Oxfam and partner organisations in eastern Europe to provide vital support to people who have already lost so much.

Every branch of Waterstones, Foyles, Blackwell’s, Hatchards and Hodges Figgis will feature a Read for Ukraine table, with Waterstones saying the campaign will continue “for some months”.



Tom Clayton is publishing executive at Melville House UK.