McEwan and Barnes in character charity auction

McEwan and Barnes in character charity auction

Seventeen authors—including Ian McEwan, Julian Barnes (pictured), Zadie Smith and Hanif Kureishi—are auctioning off the chance for readers to have a character named after them in a forthcoming published work. 

The venture will raise money for Freedom from Torture, a medical charity which provides psychological and physical therapies to torture survivors.

Among the characters on offer is a female landlady in Tracy Chevalier’s next novel. She said: “I am holding open a place in my new novel for Mrs—ideally a Mrs—[your surname], 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.’”

Margaret Atwood is offering to name a character in a novel she is currently finishing, or one in her retelling of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, which will be published as part of Vintage Books’ Hogarth Shakespeare programme. Other authors taking part include Alan Hollinghurst, Pat Barker, Will Self, Sebastian Faulks and Martina Cole.

The auction takes place on 20th November in London, with Barnes, the charity’s patron, in attendance. Readers who cannot make the event can submit online bids from 5th November.

McEwan said: “Forget the promises of the world’s religions. This auction offers the genuine opportunity of an afterlife. Bidding in the Freedom from Torture auction will help support a crucial and noble cause.”