Freedom from Torture - Authors, illustrators and agents join literary auction to raise funds for Freedom from Torture

Authors, illustrators and agents join literary auction to raise funds for Freedom from Torture

Authors Julian Barnes and Tracy Chevalier will host Freedom from Torture’s biennial literary fundraiser on 15 November. This year's theme will be freedom and will explore what that means for the social and political landscape in 2018.

The fundraising event will take place at IET in Savoy Place, Central London, and will precede an online auction of unique literary-themed prizes, donated by literary stars. The auction will be open on 1 November and finish on the evening at the event.

On the night, authors Kamila Shamsie, Women’s Prize for Fiction winner, and Burhan Sönmez, EBRD Literature Prize winner, will be performing readings, alongside survivors of torture.

Guests will have the opportunity to mingle with literary stars and bid for unique literary-themed items. Highlights of the evening will include:

  • A premiere of a short film and display of hand-made kites, inspired by Khaled Hosseini’s novel, The Kite Runner, and made by torture survivors.
  • Personalised ‘poetic prescriptions’ given to guests by poet and therapist, Ronna Bloom.
  • A first look at original work from Write to Life members, the longest running refugee writing group in Britain.
Burhan Sönmez, prize-winning author and former Freedom from Torture client:

My novel Istanbul Istanbul draws on my experiences of imprisonment and torture, expressed in four characters forced to share an underground cell as they await their torturers. Twenty years ago, when I was in need of medical help, Freedom from Torture (then known as the Medical Foundation) helped me a lot. I am indebted to the organisation. It saved my life.

Marian Keyes, author and supporter of Freedom from Torture client:

Everywhere women live in societies imbalanced by discrimination, with sexual assault, torture, and cruelty used as tools to silence and break them. This literary auction gives us a rare opportunity to hear their voices again and I’m very proud to be a part of it. I am writing a new novel set in modern Ireland and I want the highest bidder to be a character in it. Freedom from Torture is a fantastic charity that supports people in the most unimaginable situations. I wish they didn’t need to exist, but I’m enormously grateful to humanity that they do.


Margaret Atwood, author and Freedom from Torture supporter, says:

In my novels, I often write about a world that is without liberty and human rights. This fiction is a cruel reality for the torture survivors who are supported by Freedom from Torture. For this vital work to continue, I am offering you the chance to have a character in my new novel named after you. This year’s auction is a timely reminder that while the world is an increasingly scary place, our voices are powerful, and we still have the freedom to use them. Happy bidding!


Julian Barnes, Booker Prize winner and Freedom from Torture patron says:

Stories should reflect the fullest complications of the world. Freedom from Torture’s literary auction gives us a rare chance to hear the stories of the survivors – everything from the political injustices and physical pains, to the human capacity to endure and create poetry and prose from struggle.“Bid on the extraordinary literary prizes, come to the event and watch the kite display, and pick up your personal poetry prescription. As patron of Freedom from Torture, I am proud of the support they give to those who have experienced the worst of humanity – and your help will enable their complicated stories to be heard.


Tracy Chevalier, author and Freedom from Torture supporter, says:

I have supported Freedom from Torture for many years and have had the pleasure to meet and perform alongside survivors from their Write to Life group. This year’s literary event is looking at many different ways to celebrate ‘freedom’, something which has been so brutally taken away from survivors of torture.


Prizes include:

  • A framed handwritten passage from Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner, a copy of the novel, and a kite made by a real-life kite runner who is a Freedom from Torture client.
  • A character named after you in author Lee Child’s latest novel
  • A character named after you in Marian Keyes’s latest novel
  • A film script signed by actress Helen Mirren, and other memorabilia
  • A private coaching session with a leading literary agent on writing a bestseller
  • A (huge!) personalised illustration by Quentin Blake
  •  A commissioned portrait by artist and political cartoonist for The Observer, Chris Riddell


Notes to the editor:

If you would like to attend the event, please contact Samuel Morton: / 0207697 7808



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