I’ve never liked tower blocks. I had a friend who lived on the 13th floor of what used to be called a “hard to let” block in east London. She loved the view from her balcony, and kept flowerpots tethered in five unblowoffable ways to the railings, but even stepping on to it made me feel weak at the knees. Perhaps my knees were already weak when I arrived, because I always used to walk up the stairs. The lift was creaky and claustrophobic. Supposing it got stuck? Supposing someone scary got in it with you?
Even posh tower blocks – skyscrapers, rather, penthouses, high rise living and the other more affluent synonyms – worry me. The only time I visited New York, I was less scared sleeping on the 34th floor than I’d anticipated. It certainly felt more solid than Annie’s hard to let tower. But waiting ten whole minutes for the busy lift down at breakfast time was frightening. In a medical emergency, that would have been precious time wasted just trying to get away from your own front door.
And in a fire? In the real life towering inferno of last week? Lucky middle class me, who hasn’t lived through war or had to try and escape violence and poverty only to end up in an on-the-cheap death trap. Lucky middle class me who goes up one flight of stairs to bed, in my brick built house with working smoke alarms and, come to think of it, four exit doors and recently certified gas and electricity services. Despite having seen and never forgotten “The Towering Inferno”, despite having watched the Twin Towers TV footage replay over and over again in the wake of that attack, I can barely imagine the reality.
So please, take a look at this. An auction (open internationally) run by authors, publishers, agents, all proceeds to the Red Cross fund for the survivors of the Grenfell Tower disaster. Bidding ends at 8:00 p.m. British Summer Time on Tuesday 27 June 2017.
(These three pictures from the top of the homepage were correct at 11am on Friday 23rd June. More are added all the time.)
Do you write? You can bid for an editorial critique from Johnny Geller of Curtis Brown, or Juliet Mushens and many others. Maybe you’d like your submission package assessed, again by top agents in their field. (Try not to include a typo in your bid to Johnny Geller, liek I did.)
Do you read? John Boyne, Linda Grant, Caitlin Moran, Adele Parks, and David Nicholls are among many well known authors offering signed copies, some first editions, some doodled as well as signed. Other authors are offering named characters in their next work.
Do you teach, or are you a parent/carer of school aged children? You can bid for school visits from YA authors, from adult authors, from picture book illustrators and authors, and from drama groups.
Ever fancied a writing retreat? There’s one in Devon to bid for, one in Cornwall, and even one in California! And more, since I wrote this, I think…
And the delights of “miscellaneous”! You can bid for up to ten entries for the Bath Novel Award Prize, or to chat about books over coffee with Lucy Mangan, or to play with the Authors’ cricket team! Someone’s joking his bid is only for the position of wicket keeper, I wonder if a batsman’s six will overtake his bid. (It does look like an all male affair. But no carping, in this good cause.)
Check the FAQs if you have any doubts. There are so many items and bids already, it’s a bit long to scroll down the home page, so visit the items for auction list, the categories sidebar, or the tags.
Happy bidding and good luck!
I’m not putting my usual © sign on this. Please share it, reblog it, tweet it – but remember: Bidding ends at 8:00 p.m. British Summer Time on Tuesday 27 June 2017.