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At the Immortality Auction that took place in November, seventeen authors auctioned off the names of characters in their upcoming novels.

“The point of the Immortality Auction,” said author Julian Barnes, “is to raise money while giving pleasure.”

Tracy Chevalier donated “a tough-talking landlady of a boarding house in the 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's donation was a choice between an appearance in the novel she is currently working on or in her 2016 retelling of Shakespeare’s The Tempest, while Adam Foulds said, “Your name will find itself quite possibly in a contemporary setting and will meet an untimely end.”

Adam Mars-Jones’ donation to the auction was the name of an unsavoury character she described thus: “You would cross the road to avoid this character, but reprobates are much more enjoyable.”

Other authors who contributed characters to the auction were Pat Barker, Martina Cole, Sebastian Faulks, Ken Follett, Robert Harris, Alan Hollinghurst, Hanif Kureishi, Kathy Lette, Ian McEwan, Will Self, Zadie Smith and Joanna Trollope.

£34,000 pounds was raised at the auction held at The Royal Institution. Proceeds will go to the charity Freedom From Torture, which provides therapies and support to torture survivors.

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