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Over Land Over Sea - Book LaunchOver Land, Over Sea: poems for those seeking refuge, an anthology of poems published by Five Leaves Publishing will be launched, as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, at the Secular Hall on Humberstone Gate in Leicester on Monday 7 December 2015 from 6.30pm.

There will also be other launch events in Nottingham and other towns and cities over the next few weeks and months.

Copies of the anthology are being sold to raise funds for Doctors Without Borders/ Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), Leicester City of Sanctuary and the Nottingham Refugee Forum, charities working in support of refugees.

A crowdfunder project was set up to cover printing and distribution costs so sales will directly benefit the charities.

From 204 poems by poets living in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Sweden, Iran, USA and Australia, 101 poems were selected for the anthology by an editorial panel of three East Midlands based poets, Kathleen Bell, Emma Lee and Siobhan Logan.

Kathleen Bell lives in Nottingham, teaches at De Montfort University and her poetry pamphlet At the Memory Exchange (Oystercatcher, 2014) was shortlisted for the Saboteur Awards.

Emma Lee, who lives in Scraptoft, Leicestershire, has published three poetry collections, most recently Ghosts in the Desert (Indigo Dreams, 2015), and writes poetry reviews.

Siobhan Logan lives in Leicester, has published two poetry collections with Original Plus and performed her poems at Leicester’s National Space Centre and the Science Museum in London.

Emma Lee said: “The standard of submissions was very high and it was difficult to choose poems for Over Land, Over Sea. Poems came from established poets as well as those who were prompted to write in response to the current refugee situation.

“We were looking for poems that will engage with readers without being preachy or unremittingly gloomy. We also wanted poems that looked at all aspects of a refugee’s journey and worked well with other selected poems to produce a coherent collection.

“The crowdfunding project was set up to raise funds to cover the printing and distribution costs for the anthology. The editorial panel, typesetter and publisher have worked on a voluntary basis to keep costs as low as possible. In addition we are grateful for a community grant of £200 from the Everybody’s Reading Festival and a donation from Mouths Wide Shut, who collected money during a spoken word event in London. We have now raised funds to cover costs so sales will directly benefit the charities involved.

“The project doesn’t end with the publication of Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge. There will be launch events in the East Midlands and beyond, featuring local poets in the anthology, as well as a blog associated with the anthology. The launch events will also include further fundraising opportunities.”

The project was initiated with a Facebook Group, Poets in Solidarity with Refugees, which brought together local writers, live literature promoters and people working with refugees to publish an anthology and promote it through launch events and social media.

Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge is available from Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham and online.

Ambrose Musiyiwa who organises the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival said: “We are delighted that Over Land, Over Sea is being launched as part of the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival. The sheer range of talent that the anthology brings together and how those voices speak to each other and to the issues are all part of what make the anthology one of the best of its kind.

“The poets remind us that those who are seeking refuge are human beings, people.

“The anthology fits very well with the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival which aims to draw attention to International Human Rights Day which is celebrated annually, across the world, on December 10.

“The festival gives people in Leicester a platform through which to engage with human rights issues at home and abroad.

“The festival will also be fundraising for groups and charities that assist people who have fled conflict and persecution and are looking for refuge.

“The festival will culminate in a presentation on Britain and the EU’s response to the Mediterranean migrant deaths.”

Notes:

1. For more information on Over Land, Over Sea: Poems for those seeking refuge, see http://fiveleavesbookshop.co.uk/over-land-over-sea/

2. For part of the backstory to the anthology, see http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/poems-4-people-anthology-in-solidarity-wrefugees

3. For more information on the Leicester Human Rights Arts and Film Festival, contact Ambrose Musiyiwa at email address. <amusiyiwa@googlemail.com> or mobile number .

4. Poets in Solidarity with Refugees Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1638620103072868/

5. Leicester City of Sanctuary (registered charity 1138017) works locally to support refugees, offering advice, welcome packs and opportunites for refugees to improve their language skills and integrate with local communities.

6. Nottingham Refugee Form (registered charity no 1121560) provide advice, support and programmes to help refugees develop confidence, skills and knowledge to rebuild their lives and integrate into society.

7. MSF (registered charity number 1026588) help people worldwide into delivering emergency medical aid to people affected by conflict, epidemics, disasters or exclusion from healthcare.

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