Lockdown authors’ response is icing on 90th birthday cake
WHAT do you get for your mother's 90th birthday when you can't celebrate with her due to coronavirus social isolation?
If she is an avid reader, you contact her favourite writers and ask them to pen a special note for her.
Genevieve (who asked that only her and her mother's first names be used), lives on the fringes of Mullumbimby and she went hunting for authors to make her mother's birthday extra special.
Despite her age, Therese lives independently in a unit in Sydney and loves reading, research and tennis.
After losing her husband in March this year, her birthday in isolation without her loving family was that much harder.
"The joy of reading has been the love of her life," Genevieve said.
After contacting seven authors and two famous tennis players, Genevieve was delighted some of them took the time to reply.
Genevieve emailed and asked if they could write to her mother, which she would print out and post to Therese who loved getting letters.
"Your words would be the icing on the cake," Genevieve wrote.
Jane Harper, author of The Big Dry, that has recently been made into a film, is on maternity leave and she asked for Therese's address to send a letter direct.
Harper included an autographed book and a card with her letter.
"My mum was thrilled," Genevieve said.
Australian author Margo Stedman, living in New York, was keen to respond after hearing Therese had read her book.
"I'm prompted to get in touch because I hear you liked The Light Between Oceans and you have a birthday," Stedman wrote.
Of the lockdown she said to Therese: "The advantage you have is you've lived through equally different events and have resilience and grace."
"You're family are blessed to have such a matriarch."
Stedman gave insight into life as an author.
"Writers' stories are silent until readers like you give them voice," she wrote.
Irish writer Colm Tobin, who has written many books including Brooklyn wrote about life in lockdown.
"It is summer in LA as I look out at the pomegranate tree in the front yard, and I think of Ireland," he wrote.
"It is marvellous to have access to serious readers," he told Therese.
Author Garry Disher promised to write Therese into his next novel as the femme fatale.
Tennis stars Roger Federer and Raphael Nadal didn't respond, but Genevieve didn't mind.
"I expected nothing. It made me feel good to describe my mother," she said.
As travel restrictions within NSW ease, Genevieve plans to visit her mother in Sydney next week.