2020: A New, Red Dawn

on Monday, January 6, 2020
Of the many ways I'd thought about opening this first post of a reinvigorated blog, this was not one of them: My country is on fire. My city, far from the flames, has been blanketed in smoke. Pictures from some of the burning towns look nothing short of apocalyptic. Hell, even my bayside suburb, usually glorious and vibrant at this time of year, looks like a scene from a disaster movie. Through it all, I've mostly locked myself inside and read. Six days in and I'm onto my sixth book for the year. Like many city folk in Australia, I've felt helpless and despondent. And useless. Until today.

With mad props to Emily Gale, Nova Weetman and others, the Australian (and now international) writing community has mobilised to raise money for the Country Fire Association (the roof body for the volunteer country fire fighters in each state). If you head over to Twitter right now and follow the hashtag #AuthorsForFireys (Fireys is Aussie slang for firefighters), you can see a whole array of amazing items being auctioned off for the cause. There are signed books, manuscript appraisals, AMAs, the chance to have characters named after you in your favourite author's next book, special handmade book-related knick knacks... you name it. Literally every author and book industry person I know is getting involved and it's magnificent. Personally, I've bid on a cartoon portrait of my dog, an original typed draft of a story by Josephine Rowe and the chance to have a ferret in the wonderful RWR McDonald's next book named after me, in honour of my beloved (and much-missed) ferret, Spaekk.

I'm also getting on board with a special package of book related stuff that includes:

- An inscribed copy of The Book of Dirt
- A signed Chinese edition of The Book of Dirt
- A copy of the new Text Classics edition of Arnold Zable's incredible novel Cafe Scheherazade, to which I have written the introduction, signed by Arnold and me
- A curated collection of my Top 5 novels of all time
- Two unpublished short stories
- The first two chapters of my latest work-in-progress (a pretty surreal novella)
Plus I will be matching the winning bid dollar for dollar.

All #AuthorsForFireys auctions run until 11pm AEST on Saturday January 11.

At the moment the highest bid for my lot is at a staggering $700. I genuinely cannot believe it. If you want to get involved, or check out all the other incredible things on offer, be sure to jump on Twitter and search the hashtag.

These are pretty scary, shitty times. But at least I feel a bit better knowing how beautiful and generous the reading and writing community can be. Sending much love, strength and hope to those on the frontline.

Check back soon when I'll be returning to regular programming.


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