The Dark Minds charity anthology I mentioned a few days ago has run into a spot of bother. Not through the contributing authors or the editor, I hasten to add. Stories are still pouring in and Betsy Reavley is working incredibly hard to make a success of the project. The problem is finding a charity to accept the proceeds.
This sounds really odd. Charities work by accepting donations from the public. To find any charity refusing to take donations seems to go against all logic. Yet this isn’t the first time it’s happened and the phenomenon seems to be spreading.
Recently, the Crime & Publishment anthology ‘Happily Never After’ ran into similar problems. In the case of Dark Minds, two charities have already turned it down. UNICEF wanted a minimum donation of £100,000, which with the best will in the world, no book publisher could ever commit to. And now Great Ormond Street Hospital have pulled out, citing the content of the anthology. Content that they were apparently told at the outset involved crime and horror stories.
It all seems very strange. I understand that charities have an image to keep up, but this is fiction, written and donated, for free, by authors, for nothing other than people’s entertainment. It’s not as though we’re going out bashing old ladies over the head and then donating the contents of their purses.
So why are charities seemingly so twitchy about what they’re associated with these days? Are they afraid of litigation? Or of winding up on the wrong side of an increasingly unforgiving press? I’m not sure, but if anyone has any ideas please pass them on, because the people at Dark Minds are starting to tear their hair out.