Literary Immortality Auction: Get bidding!

A unique literary auction offers bidders the chance to be immortalised as a character in an upcoming book by their favourite author.

Seventeen literary heavyweights including previous Man Booker winners Julian Barnes, Alan Hollinghurst, Margaret Atwood, Ian McEwan and Pat Barker, are donating a character in a future novel or short story to raise money for the UK medical charity Freedom from Torture.

Seekers of a literary afterlife can place their bids online now.

The real-time episode of the auction will take place at The Royal Institute of Great Britain in London on November 20th.

Best-selling author Ian McEwan said:

"Forget the promises of the world's religions. This auction offers the genuine opportunity of an afterlife. More importantly, bidding in the Freedom from Torture auction will help support a crucial and noble cause. The rehabilitation of torture survivors cannot be accomplished without expertise, compassion, time - and your money."

Bidders will have the chance to name characters in novels by: Will Self, Sebastian Faulks, Zadie Smith, Tracy Chevalier, Martina Cole, Adam Mars-Jones, Ken Follett, Robert Harris, Kathy Lette, Adam Foulds, Joanna Trollope and Hanif Kureishi.

All of the participating authors have donated a character in a forthcoming work that will be named after auction winners.

Tracy Chevalier, author of the international best-seller The Girl with the Pearl Earring, said:

"I am holding open a place in my new novel for Mrs (ideally a Mrs) [your surname], a tough-talking landlady of a boarding house in 1850s Gold Rush-era San Francisco. The first thing she says to the hero is "No sick on my stairs. You vomit on my floors, you're out." Is your name up to that?"

Listen to Tracy Chevalier talking about the event on Radio 4's PM program.

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