Storyteller, author, actor, poet, musician, activist, teacher, troubadour, father, grandfather: the next story from The Pound Project is written by the late Paul Murphy (1949-2016).
To coincide with Paul's birthday at the start of August we're working with his family to release an exclusive, previously unpublished short story from the great man to raise money for the John Hewitt Society - a Northern Ireland based charity that supports writers with invaluable funding, teaching and advice.
The contents of the little book are top secret. However we can tell you that it is a brilliant story of journeys and identity. There is also a prologue to the story written by his son Daniel.
If you want to know more you'll have to pledge!
The good news is that for just £1 you can read the story online or download the audio. For just £5 upwards we will deliver a beautiful little printed book of the story right to your door. And with other exclusive rewards such as reading events, t-shirts and writing workshops on offer, there's lots to get excited about.
Why Paul Murphy?
Paul was an inspiration to many people in Birmingham and beyond. He was a unique performer who, at the age of just 16, crossed the Irish Sea from Belfast and embarked on a lifelong journey entertaining and educating his followers with his profound and personal storytelling.
Paul was an artist and educator for whom the most effective education took place outside the confines of the classroom. For many years a solo performer in the folk tradition, he was also for a time the explosive, fez-wearing front man for folk dynamos The Destroyers. Paul was as much in his element telling stories and improvising songs for his friends and family in a tree house in his back garden as he was captivating an audience from a festival stage.
Stories were at the heart of Paul's work whether songs, the written word, drama or film. He was an everyman with time for everyone. Read a tribute here >
Paul believed in new talent and helped up-and-coming writers and musicians to find a platform. With projects like the now legendary Songwriter's Cafe in Birmingham, he shared The Pound Project's philosophy that creativity, writing and the arts should be valued.
Because of this we will be donating all of the profits from this project to the John Hewitt Society, a charity chosen by Paul's children: Mark, Ciara, Daniel, Alice and Áine.
What is The John Hewitt Society?
John Hewitt was a poet and political activist from Northern Ireland who believed in the beauty of his country. The charity was set up to honour Hewitt's belief that the arts have an incredibly powerful role to play in tackling prejudice and breaking down barriers in society. Like Paul, Hewitt was born in Belfast. Like Paul he also moved to the Midlands from Northern Ireland and spent his career committed to creativity and social justice. More info here >
Because Paul celebrated the connection between Birmingham and the Emerald Isle, and was proud to be from Northern Ireland, the family has decided to donate the proceeds from this story to the charity's Community Bursary Scheme. This fund offers financial support to writers in Ireland who would not otherwise be able to attend the society's wonderful summer course. It gives those participants the chance to work with some of literature's leading lights, and former bursary winners have gone on to become published writers in their own right. It is a brilliant cause.
More info on the summer school and bursary here >
What is The Pound Project?
Like Paul and The John Hewitt Society, The Pound Project is committed to promoting the value of writing and reading for everyone, regardless of who you are.
As a community of writers and creatives, we've developed an original way to generate funds for writers from all walks of life: we campaign with just one short story and one writer at a time.
We cater for all readers producing work in printed books, online, and in audio, so that everyone can enjoy our stories.
We seek low targets starting at just £500 in order to make sure the stories see the light of day. And we make our rewards affordable and environmentally sustainable so that the work can be shared with everyone - is a brilliant story worth a quid? Is a beautiful booklet to your doorstep worth a fiver?
Normally, it is our mission to then pay our writers a fair share for their work in order to further promote the idea that writers and writing is worth something. But of course in this case the funds will be going towards charity in the shape of an important bursary scheme that provides a crucial stepping stone to new talent.
So pledging to this cause will not only help celebrate the life of Paul Murphy, it will help a new writer find their way, and it will allow The Pound Project to further grow as an independent company.
Small change, one story at a time.
Our rewards are cheap, clean and simple and all come with exclusive updates on the project's progress:
The Pound (£1)
You get the top-secret password to access the pdf and audio version of Paul's story online.
The Fiver (£5)
You get the printed book, a bookmark and stickers lovingly wrapped and posted to you.
The Tenner (£10)
You get the book package, a lovely print of Paul's photograph with a thanks from the family, and you will be acknowledged on The Pound Project's website.
The Score (£20)
You still get the lovely little book, the photo print, and the acknowledgement. You'll also get an invite to attend our exclusive reading events in either Birmingham or London where we'll drink, eat, make merry and share extracts from Paul's story out loud, read by a very special guest.
The Pony (£25)
All of the above, plus you will be acknowledged in print at the front of the book. We can also feature your company logo and link online.
The Naughty (£40)
This gets you the book and photo, the exclusive invites, and the printed thank you. You will also get an original, limited edition t-shirt in your choice of white or navy.
The Nifty (£50)
All of the above. Plus, with our network of experience and expertise, The Pound Project will be giving something back. At the stylish co-working space The Engine in Birmingham's creative sector (pictured below), we will be running exciting writing workshops in autumn to help other writers of all abilities hone their craft and find their voice. All of this for only £50+.
The Ton (£100)
£100+ is the full package. Everything outlined above. The Pound Project's editor will also provide a one-on-one critique and feedback on any writing project you desire. You might be a future Pound Project contributor.
Where does the money go?
All profits from Paul's story will go directly to The John Hewitt Society and its Community Bursary Scheme. Neither the Murphy family or The Pound Project will influence who the charity decides to award the bursary to, and we have every faith that their choice will be completely deserving.
The Pound Project will cover its operational costs but will not take a profit, thereby maximising the amount that goes to the family's chosen cause.
Thanks for reading. Donate now.
We can't wait to share Paul's story with you.
Photos by Mark Murphy and Brett Wilde
Video music by www.rebelmusicsound.co.uk
Video design by Matthew Clugston