Crouch End children’s author raises £25k in literary auction to help refugees

PUBLISHED: 14:52 04 November 2016 | UPDATED: 15:10 04 November 2016

Children's author Fiona Dunbar raised the money for charities supported by Highgatehasheart

Children's author Fiona Dunbar raised the money for charities supported by Highgatehasheart


The writer, author of the Silk Sisters and the Lulu Baker trilogies, organised a literary online auction with prizes including a signed copy of The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr and another of War Horse by Michael Morpugo

Children at the Athens refugee centre. Photo: Firas MardnliChildren at the Athens refugee centre. Photo: Firas Mardnli

Fiona Dunbar was especially touched Judith Kerr contributed, as the Berlin-born writer was a refugee, escaping from Hitler’s Germany in 1933.

Setting up the blog Authors for Refugees, Ms Dunbar used her arts contacts to auction a signed poster by Doctor Who actor Peter Capaldi, helping her raise around £25k.

Adult authors, including Dartmouth Park writer Tracy Chevalier, also took part.

Ms Dunbar wrote on her blog: “This humanitarian crisis is so vast, I think that for many it’s overwhelming. I know a lot of amazing people who have given their lives over completely to working to help refugees, in Calais and other camps, others who have set aside prolific careers in order to give months of their time.

“Having spent just one week volunteering at the Khora Refugee Centre in Athens, I understand why. You do not walk away from this. You experience it, and it changes you forever.”

Ms Dunbar visited the Khora Centre in September before it opened, clearing it out, helping create a young children’s play area and even making furniture.

She watched a play performed by Syrian refugees, which moved her with its tale of checkpoints, even through the language barrier. She also met refugees in an Athens camp, with 800 people in a derelict school and no hot water.

Ms Dunbar raised the money for HighgateHasHeart, which raises funds for HelpRefugees, Safe Passage (Citizens UK) and the Islington Refugee Centre. The group was set up by seven mums, including actress Juliet Stevenson, in the summer.

Find out more about the project at To donate, or get involved, visit or email

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