Creators unite for bushfire relief

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An outpouring of generosity from Australia’s arts community has seen over half a million dollars raised for the online #AuthorsForFireys appeal.

Inspired by a 2017 fundraiser for asylum seekers, authors Emily Gale and Nova Weetman launched a bushfire relief auction on Twitter. The #AuthorsForFireys hashtag went viral, attracting more than 1,300 lots from more than 500 contributors, and amassing confirmed total donations of $511,274* since the auction’s official conclusion.

Writers, illustrators, editors and publishers pooled their resources to auction a range of items, services and experiences. These included signed books and book bundles; original illustrations; commissioned works; manuscript assessments; meet-and-greets; private events; the chance to be written into upcoming novels; and even a book club visit from an award-winning author.

Among the auctioneers were poet Maxine Beneba Clarke; journalist/authors Trent Dalton and Leigh Sales; writer/broadcasters Clementine Ford and Benjamin Law (who teamed up with authors Anita Heiss and David Marr); and former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, to name a few. Household names stood alongside emerging talent, many of whom (including the aforementioned) were Copyright Agency members. Joining the individuals were publishing houses like Affirm Press, Hardie Grant Egmont, HarperCollins and Magabala Books, as well as organisations like the State Library of Victoria.

#AuthorsForFireys is not the only fundraiser being driven by Australia’s arts sector. Musicians are gearing up for Fire Fight Australia, a benefit concert featuring Tina Arena, John Farnham, Jessica Mauboy and Guy Sebastian alongside international guests. Meanwhile, leading and emerging contemporary artists are taking part in the HOME Bushfire Relief Art Auction Fundraiser, including Copyright Agency members like Abdul Abdullah, Deborah Kelly, Ramesh Nithiyendran and Anne Zahalka.

The creative community has responded to a national tragedy with empathy and decisive action. This oft-undervalued sector is resilient and resourceful: qualities that are indispensable to relief and restoration efforts. Art unites us and – particularly in times of crisis – its value cannot be understated.

For a list of organisations that benefitted from #AuthorsForFireys, visit the campaign website.

*Figure correct as of 6 February 2020.

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