This post is also available in: العربية

A volunteer with Samaritans organization, that helps people against suicide, received a six-figure deal by publishers in 20 countries for his book, after literary agents showed no interest in his work.

James Norbury, a 44-year-old self-taught artist and writer, self-published his book containing a collection of drawings of two unlikely friends, a panda and a dragon, captioning life-enhancing proverbs.

The drawings and proverbs, which helps in lifting moods, were depicted from his volunteering with Samaritans that ended recently, through the lives of callers.

“I get a lot of emails and messages telling me how much they have helped. Some people have even said they didn’t take their own lives because the pictures had given them new ways to look at things. If that can happen as a result of my drawings, that’s all that matters,” says Norbury.

With plans to be published in the UK by Penguin Michael Joseph on 16 September, Big Panda and Tiny Dragon features two friends, who overcome life’s obstacles together, after being lost in places, but discover beautiful sights that they never would have found if they had gone the right way.

Norbury spent two years at Samaritans speaking to callers about several matters included depression and suicide.  “That’s one of the reasons I started doing the drawings. That’s perhaps why my pictures connect with people. I understand sadness,” he explains

After posting his drawings on Instagram and having three followers only, he thought it was an attempt no one was interested in, but luck turned and soon he was inundated with requests for calendars and postcards featuring his drawings. There was so much interest that he self-published his book and soon there were so many orders that he could barely cope.

He emailed two literary agencies, and Ludo Cinelli of Eve White in London responded, putting together a proposal for publishers, sparking extensive interest.


Source: The Guardian