#AuthorsForFireys: Australian writers rally around to raise funds for bushfire relief

Australian authors have donated signed books for auction to raise funds for Victoria's Country Fire Authority.

The items for auction supplied by author Rachael Craw.

The items for auction supplied by author Rachael Craw. Source: Twitter/@RachaelCraw

A conversation between Australian authors Nova Weetman and Emily Gale has snowballed into a larger fundraising effort for Victoria's Country Fire Authority.

Authors have auctioned up signed copies of their books, with others also throwing in offers such as a mentoring session and a personally written poem.

The auction ends on Saturday at 11pm AEDT.

Victorian Premier Daniel Andrews has urged people to only donate funds and avoid donating items due to a lack of storage space to co-ordinate collection and delivery.

"It's important to remember that the emergency relief effort is being run by experienced organisations – and they don't have space to sort or store donations," he said in a statement posted on Twitter.

Instead, the Victorian government has set up a bushfire appeal with an initial contribution of $2 million.

A fundraiser started by comedian Celeste Barber has already raised over $30 million for the NSW Rural Fire Service.

Emily Gale said the Twitter auction was modelled on the #AuthorsForAsylum project created by Melbourne-based author Zana Fraillon in 2017, which raised $13,000 in two days.

Author Trent Dalton said the highest bidding Brisbane book club would get a signed copy of Boy Swallows Universe, an appearance at the local book club and French champagne. 

Hannah Kent, the author of Burial Rites, said the highest bidder will have their name mentioned in her third novel or the option of a mentoring session.

Poet Maxine Beneba Clarke has offered up a personal poem commission for auction. 

"For the highest bidder, I will write 100 lines of poetry," she wrote in a post on Twitter.

"Brief me, and then have your wedding vows, birth announcement, or birthday gift written by an Indie and ABIA award-winning poet laureate!"

Masterchef winner Julie Goodwin is auctioning six signed cookbooks and a one-on-one recipe writing workshop.

Yassmin Abdel-Magied offered up signed copies of her two books and "coffee with me on my next trip to Australia".

Peter FitzSimons threw in signed copies of six of his books, plus "biographies of Nick Farr-Jones and John Eales, signed by them too".

Author Favel Parrett opted to auction a non-book item: a handmade crocheted shell knee blanket made from Australian wool with the option to choose colours.

Shivaun Plozza offered an unframed artwork along with two signed books.

Rachael Craw is putting forward a number of her works, plus a 40 minute Skype chat on writing.

Jamila Rizvi offered a signed copy of her book plus dinner and a "work pep talk".

International authors were also were invited to participate, including Korean American writer Min Jin Lee who is auctioning five signed copies of her book, Pachinko.

American novelist Rebecca Makkai offered up a signed copy of The Great Believers to the top five bidders.

The New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the state government will maintain its financial contribution to the bushfire relief effort, even after the $30 million raised by Celeste Barber.

"The [NSW] RFS receives record funding. We've met every single request that is made," she said.

"I've kept saying this for years. But when you are in a position where you can enhance that support you do that. And we're considering other options as well in terms of the recovery."

Meanwhile, Australia's sports stars have continued to tally up funds for the bushfire relief effort, with World No. 1 tennis player Ashleigh Barty pledging to donate all of her Brisbane International prize money.

The event kicks off on Monday with the winner taking home $A360,000 ($US250,000). 

Nick Kyrgios' call for a fundraiser and a "Rally for Relief" exhibition match has resulted in the ATP Cup raising more than $42,000 raised of a $150,000 target.

The NRL, Football Federation Australia, Netball Australia and two-time Dakar Rally winner Toby Price have also donated money to help those affected by the fires.

Published 6 January 2020 at 2:01pm
By Biwa Kwan