Category Archives: Writers On Rafts/Ultimate Girly High Tea

The Ultimate Girly High Tea – Final tickets on sale now!

We’ve sold 200 tickets. And now, thanks to the Sofitel (and their willingness to reconfigure the room!) we are releasing a final 50 tickets to the Ultimate Girly High Tea on Sunday 1st May from 10am – midday at the Brisbane Sofitel Hotel.  The purpose of the event is to raise money for the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund (to help all those people who were impacted by the floods and Cyclone Yasi).  But the day is also about celebrating the resilience of Queensland women.  So if you’re partial to a lemon tart (and, let’s be honest, who isn’t?) — come and have high tea with us and some of our favourite Australian women.

This is your chance to meet and chat with:

Therese Rein (entrepreneur)

Mia Freedman (

Frances Whiting (The Sunday Mail)

Jessica Rudd (Campaign Ruby)

Kate Morton (The Shifting Fog, The Forgotten Garden, The Distant Hours)

Paula Joye (editor of

Caroline Overington (senior journalist at The Australian and author of Ghost Child)

Carolyn Donovan (former model and author of Chooks In Stilettos)

Rachael Bermingham (co-author of 4 Ingredients)

Anita Heiss (Manhattan Dreaming)

dale spender (author, speaker and founding member of  Second Chance – a fundraising organisation for homeless women)

Shay Stafford (former Moulin Rouge dancer and now author of “Memoirs of a Showgirl”)

Tara June Winch (Swallow The Air)

Juliette Wright (founder of

Danielle Crismani (founder of Baked Relief)

Kate Hunter (Mosquito Advertising)

Robin Bailey (97.3FM)

Alex Bernard (4BC)

Erica Bartle (Girl With A Satchel)

and the lovely  Emily Jade O’Keefe (Triple M)

Tickets are $130 each or $1040 for a table of nine. Click here for more details

All proceeds go to the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund.

Sunday Mail Column for Sunday 6 March 2011: the Ultimate Girly High Tea

The Way We Live For Sunday 6 March 2011

I have never met a lemon curd tart I didn’t like. Which is good news because they’re on the menu for the Ultimate Girly High Tea on Sunday 1st May at the Sofitel Hotel.

When the floods hit Queensland, you may remember I joined forces with Kate Eltham, CEO of the Queensland Writers Centre, to do something to help. First up we organised the Writers On Rafts competition where we raffled off dozens of authors from across the country to local book clubs and writing groups.

Now our attention has turned to the Sofitel’s famously lavish high tea of ribbon sandwiches, lemon curd tarts, pistachio macaroons and scones piled high with jam and cream – all in the name of raising money for the Premier’s Disaster Relief Fund!  The Ultimate Girly High Tea is all about that delicious food plus bubbly, girly gift bags and the chance to chat to some of our favourite high-profile women.

Like who?

Like entrepreneur Therese Rein, website editor and journalist Mia Freedman, co-creator of the 4 Ingredients phenomenon Rachael Bermingham, the Sunday Mail’s own Frances Whiting, best-selling authors Kate Morton (The Shifting Fog, The Forgotten Garden), Jessica Rudd (Campaign Ruby), Anita Heiss (Manhattan Dreaming), Caroline Overington (Ghost Child) and Kate Hunter (Mosquito Advertising: The Parfizz Pitch) plus Triple M’s Emily-Jade O’Keefe, 97.3FM’s Robin Bailey, Girl With A Satchel blogger Erica Bartle, model and author of Chooks in Stilettos, Carolyn Donovan and many more.  And me.  I’ll be flying back from Adelaide to MC the whole event (and to steal your lemon curd tart when you’re not looking).

So if you’ve always wanted to meet Mia, chat to Fran or Therese or have a book signed by Kate Morton – this is your chance. They’re under instruction to table-hop and chat with as many guests as possible. And let me tell you, the Sofitel is pulling out all the stops to make this an extraordinarily girly affair.

We have just 200 tickets on sale – so get to it.  Think of it as an early Mother’s Day gift for yourself.  The Ultimate Girly High Tea is on Sunday 1st May from 10am-midday at the Sofitel Hotel. Tickets are $130 per person or $1040 for a table of nine.  Go to or call 07 3842 9922 for more details.

Finally, I wanted to let you all know this is my last column for the Sunday Mail as new, exciting changes await you next week.  Since I started this column in July 2007, I’ve had nothing but amazing support from readers as together we explored life, love, loss and everything in between. I cannot express my gratitude enough to all of you for that support, especially the compassion you showed me following the loss of my daughter Georgie.  The truth is, I wouldn’t have survived those first few months without you all.

As for the First Sunday Club – it will be continuing. We have a new home on The only change is in our name. We’re now The First WEDNESDAY Club. Click here to read about FITE – our charity for March.

See you on 1st May.


The Way We Live: The One About Writers on Rafts ….


I want you to go find five dollars. Right now. Go see if you’ve got a five-dollar note in your purse or wallet.  I’ll wait.

You see for five dollars I’m going to give you the chance to win Nick Earls. Or Frances Whiting. Or those two cheerful blonde women behind those 4 Ingredients cook books who have the MacGyver-like ability to make lasagne from a biro and a bit of string.

For the past ten days I’ve been working with the Queensland Writers Centre on Writers on Rafts – a sort of literary-aid to raise money for the Premier’s Flood Relief Fund. Our initial idea was simple. We would  “raffle off” some local Brisbane authors to book clubs, writing groups and schools as a way to raise a few funds for flood victims. Maybe even convince some authors to name their characters after members of the public.

But what started off as a little initiative involving half a dozen Brisbane authors has grown into a national initiative involving 130 writers, literary agents and publishers across the country.

So. Back to the five dollar bit.  You need to go to the website and you’ll see the chance to go in the draw for a range of different experiences. You could win Nick Earls. He’s offering to visit your book club or writing group or your school. My former mentor will spend an hour mentoring you, telling you everything he knows about writing novels.   He’ll probably even make you a cake. Okay I made that bit up. (Although he does make a great cake …). Ever wanted to meet Frances Whiting?  Course you have. She’ll come to your book club and spill the beans on what it’s like writing her weekly column. Actually ask her about the time she met Princess Diana and Sarah Ferguson back in the mid-80s.  Better still ask her why she once tried to ripen an avocado in the microwave.  Rachael Bermingham and Kim McCosker == those gorgeous ladies from 4 Ingredients will share their secrets with your book club or writing group and tell you why they chose to self-publish. Then there’s the incredibly talented Ben Law who’s offering a mentoring session on writing non-fiction.  Law knows what he’s talking about.  His memoir, A Family Law, is rarely off the best-seller lists. If you’re an aspiring writer, you can’t go past the chance to have your manuscript read by Kristina Shultz, the Children and Young Adult’s Publisher at UQP.  Meanwhile Kate Hunter and John Birmingham are both offering to name a character after you in their next novels. That’s what you call the ultimate birthday present.  There are loads more experiences on offer. It’s your choice. And it’s just $5.

As for the big fundraiser – “The Ultimate Girlie High Tea”, big plans are underway. Can’t say much but keep Sunday 1st May free.  The list of special guests keeps growing.  (I even got an email of support from Megan Gale!).  For updates go to or follow me on