Publishers, Authors, and Agents Rally for Hurricane Maria Relief

In response to Hurricane Maria, which hit Puerto Rico on September 20, a number of agents, editors, and authors in the children’s book community and beyond have joined together to hold an online talent auction in support of Puerto Ricans affected by the storm. All proceeds for the #PubforPR auction, which runs through October 5, will go to local charity organizations, Unidos por Puerto Rico and ConPRmetidos.

The cause began to take shape on September 24, when a group of five authors and publishing professionals—Nova Ren Suma, Patrice Caldwell, Mara Delgado, Carrie DiRisio, and Kara Thomas—learned of the devastation caused by the storm. Thomas, a YA author, told PW, “I had been talking privately with friends about how frustrated we were with the lack of government response to the situation in Puerto Rico.” Thomas later connected with fellow members of the children’s book community, in response to DiRisio’s tweet about starting a charity auction. “So many other writers were replying to the thread, asking if they could help,” she said. “We mobilized via email and came up with a plan for approaching agents, editors, and authors for donations. Once we reached out, the response was enormous.”

Over the course of the last week, #PubforPR has grown to include many more authors, editors, and literary agents, including Dahlia Adler, Patrice Caldwell, Mara Delgado, Carrie DiRisio, Sierra Elmore, Dana Alison Levy, Lily Meade, Jim McCarthy, Joy McCullough, Yamile Saied Méndez, Claribel Ortega, Emily X.R. Pan, Elana Roth Parker, Kara Thomas, Nova Ren Suma, Mekisha Telfer, and Marietta B. Zacker.

Author Mara Delgado, who was born and raised in Puerto Rico, was eager to lend her support. She took on the role of vetting relief organizations, with author Yamile Saied Méndez. “From the beginning, before #PubforPR was born, I’d been looking into the aid organizations that were popping up,” Delgado said. The group decided to raise money for Unidos por Puerto Rico and ConPRmetidos because, she explained, “All of us at #PubforPR wanted the funds to go directly to the island. Both of these organizations are in Puerto Rico and understand what Puerto Rico needs at this time and in the months, maybe years [ahead].”
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