An author’s lot … Adele Parks will name a character in her next novel after the highest bidder. Photograph: Geoffrey Swaine/Rex Features
A group of authors, led by the writer Keris Stainton, has joined together to create an auction of 150 literary lots designed to raise money for Japan in the wake of last week’s devastating earthquake and tsunami.
Bidding opened this morning on http://www.authorsforjapan.wordpress.com, the Authors for Japan website, which Stainton set up for the auction at lightning speed, and her peers have volunteered support en masse. Lots on offer include the chance to have a character named after you in the next Adele Parks novel, a dedication on the flyleaf of the new Jill Mansellstory, or the opportunity to have your own opening chapter critiqued by a published author.
There are also signed books aplenty up for grabs. Philip Reeve will do a drawing on the title page of his first-edition hardback of Scrivener’s Moon for the highest bidder, while Julian Stockwin is offering copies of his latest two Thomas Kydd historical warfare novels with the added extra of a boxed musket ball. Miranda Dickinson, author of Fairytale of New York, will write a new short story starring the winning bidder.
There are offers to create a book-themed blog or website, or draw a bespoke children’s illustration. Among many submissions of coaching sessions, that of Betty Herbert, author of The 52 Seductions, stands out. “Even the most confident author can stall when it comes to writing the juicy bits,” she reminds us, offering mentoring for authors anxious about writing sex scenes.
Stainton said the idea was inspired by the success of the Authors for Queensland auction, set up to raise money for victims of the Queensland floods earlier this year. “The response has been fantastic, amazing, and we’ve got more lots to go up this evening,” she promised.
Bidding stays open until 8pm on Sunday (20 March) and all proceeds will go to the British Red Cross Japan Tsunami Appeal.