Louise O’Neill, Emer McLysaght and Patrick Freyne are among the writers taking part in the email writing project and fundraiser 12 Days
In the run up to Christmas, 12 Irish writers have come together to write 12 individual emails about Christmas and loneliness for the one-off fundraising project 12 Days. For €12, subscribers will receive 12 emails – one a day for 12 days – from Louise Bruton, Patrick Freyne, Claudia Hoareau, Clara Kumagai, Alan Maguire, Emer McLysaght, Pete McNamara, Odhran O’Donoghue, Louise O’Neill, Kathryn O’Regan, Deirdre Sullivan, and Ellen Tannam. Money raised will go to charities ISPCC Childline, Women’s Aid, ALONE and Samaritans.
The project will be delivered using the email platform Tinyletter and links to donate €12 and sign up for the emails can be found at 12days.ie
The series is illustrated by Ruth Gallagher, a freelance print designer and illustrator based in Copenhagen, originally from Dublin. She’s a celebrated talent in the fashion world, having worked at McQueen, Erdem and Scandinavian favourite Stine Goya. Ruth was inspired by the meanings of particular flora and fauna for this collaboration, like the snowdrop, a symbol for hope as one of the first flowers of spring.
Project co-creators Fiona O’Grady and Jeanne Sutton came up with the idea for 12 Days while bemoaning over WhatsApp how lockdowns and restrictions meant they couldn’t meet up for their usual annual drink. Due to the pandemic, Fiona is staying put in Copenhagen and won’t make it home this December. They organised themselves over Zoom and Google Docs.
O’Grady and Sutton said
We commented about how rough Christmas was going to be for a lot of people who are in far more challenging and less-privileged situations than ourselves, and we wanted to try and help in our way. The idea of emails and little messages from some of our favourite writers, established and emerging, seemed like a creative way to fundraise for vital organisations and services. The power of the written word and the effect a kind and empathetic message can have on the soul has been proven beyond a doubt this year as we all battle isolation and uncertainty.
Speaking of their participation in the project, Clara Kumagai said
I’ve found that 2020 has made human connections both difficult and precious. I’ve had to find new ways of spending time with friends and loved ones, and sometimes that’s been hard and isolating. An email arriving every day for twelve days, showing other people’s thoughts and reflections in poetry and prose really appealed to me. In a year that’s been dominated by checking the news every ten minutes, it’s something that will (hopefully) create some connections and give some space for thought.
Author Louise O’Neill agreed to take part because
Loneliness is an issue that is always prevalent at this time of year. As we face into a Christmas unlike any other we have ever experienced, I wanted to take part in something that would explore that. This is a wonderful initiative and I’m very proud to be involved.