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The BBC's Iain Simpson at the auction
"The undoubted star of the night was the Australian-born satirical novelist, Kathy Lette"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 6 December, 2000, 01:38 GMT
Readers flock to buy literary roles
Nick Hornby
Sold: A part in a new Nick Hornby novel
Literary fans have paid thousands of pounds to secure immortality in their favourite author's next book.

Best-selling British authors auctioned off the names of characters in their new books to the highest bidder for charity.

Fans of seven writers, including Nick Hornby and Louis de Bernieres, helped raise about 25,000 in aid of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture.

I would like to be somebody outrageous in her next book

Bidder Shelaine Green
The sale at the London's British Academy of Film and Television Arts revealed the extent of readers' dedication.

A role in Mad Cows author Kathy Lette's next work went for 6,200 to 36-year-old marketing consultant Shelaine Green.

"Shelaine has proved what every woman secretly knows - size does count," said Lette.

Wallet size matters

"I was flabbergasted at the amount she bid and plan to make Shelaine Green a major character in my next book."

Ms Green, from Guernsey, said she was a big fan of Lette.

"I would like to be somebody outrageous in her next book - a woman who kicks some guy's butt," she said.
Greg Wise and Anna Friel
Greg Wise and Anna Friel starred in Kathy Lette's Mad Cows

Sebastian Faulks fan Rebecca Millward paid 2,800 to name a character in the Birdsong author's next book after her mother Sheila - then bought a name check for herself in Rose Tremain's forthcoming novel for 520.

Ms Millward, an auction house junior, said Faulks had told her mother she would be a secret service type character but she had no idea what Rose Tremain had planned for her.

A place in the next book by Nick Hornby, author of High Fidelity and Fever Pitch, attracted a 2,050 offer from an anonymous "bookworm" bidding over the phone.

Other successful bids were 800 for Captain Corelli's Mandolin writer Louis de Bernieres, 650 for Whitbread Award winning novelist Jim Crace and 350 for Hanif Kureishi, who penned My Beautiful Laundrette.
Book parts
Kathy Lette: 6,200
Sebastian Faulks: 2,800
Nick Hornby: 2,050
Louis de Bernieres: 800
Jim Crace: 650
Rose Tremain: 520
Hanif Kureishi: 350

Crime writer Ruth Rendell had told the organisers she "loathed" the idea of the auction - but later donated 10,000.

Martin Amis and other authors were less sporting and declined to take part after claiming the names of characters were integral parts of their novels.

Medical Foundation director Helen Bamber said the auction had raised a total of 25,000.

"We were delighted with the result and certainly plan to repeat the exercise."

The cash from the auction will go towards the Medical Foundation's 4.7 million Under One Roof appeal for a new treatment centre for the victims of torture.

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