Celebrate the launch of a new book What You Need to Be Warm, by UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador, Neil Gaiman  

This beautiful new book explores flight from conflict through the objects and memories that represent warmth in cold times. Sales of every copy of the book – including all author proceeds – will help support the work of UNHCR. 


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Internationally acclaimed author and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Neil Gaiman has long been a supporter of refugees – and his latest project, What You Need to Be Warm, is a further example of his commitment. 

In 2019, Neil Gaiman asked his Twitter followers: What reminds you of warmth? From thousands of replies, he composed an extraordinary poem inspired by the crowd-sourced words in aid of UNHCR’s winter appeal. This poem is now available as a beautifully illustrated hardback book, with sales of every copy supporting the work of UNHCR. 

This project evolved from the poem, to an animated film, to this latest iteration – a book. What You Need to Be Warm is an exploration of displacement and flight from conflict through the objects and memories that represent warmth in cold times. As written in the book, warmth could be: 

“A baked potato of a winter’s night to wrap your hands around or burn your mouth. A blanket knitted by your mother’s cunning fingers. Or your grandmother’s. A smile, a touch, trust, as you walk in from the snow or return to it, the tips of your ears pricked pink and frozen.” 

Neil’s words are accompanied by new, original illustrations from Chris Riddell, Nadine Kaadan, Majid Adin and many others, as well as an eye-catching cover from acclaimed illustrator, Oliver Jeffers. 

Neil Gaiman’s new book, ‘What You Need to Be Warm‘, with a front cover illustration by Oliver Jeffers.

Neil says: “Gale force winter storms tear through camps and settlements, terrifying vulnerable displaced families sheltering from the elements. Please donate today – every one of us can take action that will help save lives and give a little warmth to someone who needs it.” 

Neil was appointed a UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador in 2017 after many years of committed support. He is a fierce advocate of UNHCR and has supported numerous campaigns and appeals, and has written extensively on refugee issues. In 2024 Neil travelled to Jordan with UNHCR to learn more about the issues refugees face during winter. 

Now, as winter approaches, displaced people around the world will struggle to survive. To support refugees this winter Neil is generously donating his royalties from the book to UNHCR to help fund lifesaving support and build better futures for refugees around the world. 

To buy the book in the UK, visit the website here.

Donate here to help support refugees this winter.

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