Literary Community Rallies Around Author Through Donations for Silent Auction

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011
  • Cicily Janus Random House Author, Jazz Fanatic, House chef, Cultivator of Dreams

Recently, I discovered a young adult author through a literary agent on Twitter. Her name is Bridget Zinn. Bridget recently had two of her novels sold at auction to Hyperion/Disney. For those who don't live in the literary world, this is an amazingly big, gigantic, wonderful deal. But there's a lot more than the sale to this story.

This story involves the charitable folks at, Upstart Crow Literary Agency, Bridget's family and the literary community at large.

This is what her literary agent Michael Stearns, had to say about her on the agency blog:

A few weeks ago, we sold her first two novels at auction to Hyperion/Disney. While a book sale always gladdens drear heart, this one was especially pleasing. A thirty-two-year-old writer and part-time librarian, Bridget has had an extraordinary year. It began with one action-packed week in March: she was offered agency representation; she received the first batch of edits for her novel; she was diagnosed with cancer; she was married in the hospital to her boyfriend-since-teenhood, Barrett Dowell; minutes later she was whisked into surgery. Since then, she has been married a few more times (they had some idea that a ceremony would be a nice thing; go figure); done a spiffy revision of her novel; and undergone many hair-curlingly expensive treatments to shrink and obliterate the tumors that remain. Happily, the treatment seems to working; unhappily, much of it is not covered by her scant health insurance.

To help pay the bills, Bridget and Barrett's friends and family are rallying, and rather than just hold out an empty cup on a street corner (the Stearns Method), they have amassed a pile of one-of-a-kind donations to be auctioned off. Many authors (Bridget's friends, acquaintances, far-flung admirers) have donated signed copies of books, sure, but there are also manuscript critiques and proofreading services for authors (including one from yours truly), and that's just the boring stuff. There are also works of art, note cards, food, drink, baby gifts, jewelry, and much more. Many of these items would make lovely gifts, and I'm told that this is the time of year when people give each other things. (Really? Why? What is that about, anyway?)

Whether or not you actually bid on anything, you certainly ought to mosey on over and take a look. Auction items can be viewed here or just go straight to the auction here and use the Auction ID: bridget, and the password: rules to view the auction. You will need to create an account on the site in order to bid on auction items, but that's a simple matter of submitting your name, email address, and a password so that the organizers can contact you if you win an item.

In artist communities around our country, it is imperative that we support each other and gather the support of others outside the community, especially in times of trouble. This series of events for Ms. Zinn is the exact thing that can bring someone down especially in a country that would rather support commercial businesses over local artisans, including writers. But thankfully and hopefully, between the literary community and her family, her circumstances are not going to trump her ability to spread her talent around the world and continue her craft. The sheer force of goodwill and love shown towards this author gives me absolute hope. If you have holiday gifts you must buy, consider spending more on the item and go over to the auction. Let's continue the rally and give back this Holiday to Bridget Zinn. The silent auction goes until Dec. 11th, 2010.