The Way We Live: The One About Writers on Rafts ….
SUNDAY MAIL COLUMN FOR SUNDAY 23 JANUARY 2011
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 www.writersonrafts.com 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 www.writersonrafts.com or follow me on twitter.com/RebeccaSparrow
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Over the past 25 years Rebecca Sparrow has earned a living as a travel writer, a television publicist, a marketing executive, a magazine editor, a TV scriptwriter, a radio producer, a newspaper columnist and as an author.