In the midst of the holiday shopping season, there’s no better time to embrace the adage “it’s better to give than to receive.” Veronica Roth, author of the bestselling Divergent series (HarperCollins/Tegen), has found a way to put that philosophy front and center, by launching the #AbnegationDonation campaign, a fundraising effort in partnership with First Book, the nonprofit organization that provides access to new books for children in need.
Throughout the month of December, for every $2.50 donation to First Book made using this link, HarperCollins will donate a new copy of Divergent to First Book.
As readers of Divergent know, Abnegation is one of five factions into which society members are sorted in dystopian Chicago. “For me, the whole Divergent series is about the question of what selflessness is and what it means,” Roth told PW, about her inspiration for the campaign. “This is a way to do something good with that question. And, I’m in the holiday spirit, so it’s good timing all around.”
Though HarperCollins has a longstanding relationship with First Book, Roth was introduced to the group earlier this year during her national tour for Four: A Divergent Collection, her volume of short stories that was released in July. For every ticket sold to Roth’s tour appearances, HarperCollins donated a new book to First Book. The partnership had a strong effect on the author. “They do incredible things,” she said. “We talked about how they work, and I was very impressed by their mission. It seemed like a natural fit for me to get involved.”
Roth, HarperCollins, and First Book will all be using the hashtag #AbnegationDonation to spread the word about the campaign. Roth plans to support the awareness effort through her active social media presence, and anticipates that participants will be motivated to give beyond the campaign. “I’m hoping that people can latch onto the idea, not just through the hashtag, but also get excited about a spirit of selflessness in the world around them, seeing it where it is,” she said. “I’ll also be drawing attention to people who are doing good things, pointing out, ‘Oh look, it’s an abnegation, in the wild!’ ” she added.
What Roth foresees for herself beyond the holiday campaign is a bit of R&R. “It’s kind of hard to talk about anything new right now,” she said when asked about forthcoming projects. “Things have been so busy this year with the movie coming out [the Divergent feature film starring Shailene Woodley was released in March] and the short stories. It’s been bananas! It will be nice to take a break. I have no looming deadlines at the moment, but I love writing for teens and that’s not something I’ll be giving up anytime soon. So whatever is next will definitely be for them.”