Written by Siobhán Parkinson
At least two people (and people who have been to a lot of launches in their time) said ‘the best launch ever’ to me on the night of our launch of Jane Mitchell’s A Dangerous Crossing. And so it was. How could it not be? It had everything going for it: a truly lovely venue in The Irish Writers Centre in Dublin; a heart-wrenching and powerful story about what it’s like to be a refugee written by a writer with a deep compassion for people in distress who is also a wonderful prose stylist; a great turnout of enthusiastic friends and supporters of Jane Mitchell, of Little Island and of the rights of people fleeing for their lives; and a truly wonderful launch speaker in the person of Colm O’Gorman, Executive Director of Amnesty International Ireland, which has been a terrific supporter of this very important book.
Children, like all of us, are being bombarded with distressing images of refugees, bombed-out cities, capsizing boats, washed-up corpses, families stricken with grief and terror. They are also, like us, hearing a narrative about ’swarms of refugees’, Europe being ‘inundated’, the need to patrol and tighten our borders to keep the hordes out, the need to confine refugees from the Middle East to Turkey and Greece. What are they to make of it all? Adults sometimes want to protect children from the awful realities of war and its consequences, but that’s simply not possible in today’s world. The appropriate way to deal with these questions is to give children a way of thin king about these things that grounds them in the human experience and gives them insight into what it is like to be a child fleeing war and terrorism. That is what Jane Mitchell’s A Dangerous Crossing does — and there is no finer motivation for a writer. We are proud to have published this book, proud to be supported by Amnesty International, proud to know and work with Jane Mitchell.
People who bought the book at the launch were supporting Amnesty International, which received a portion of the night’s takings. A Dangerous Crossing should be available in good bookshops; you can also buy it direct from us online or direct from www.amnesty.ie.
With thanks to Yan Bourke for the fantastic photos!