The book was written at Woodbridge House over the course of 12 hours.

Woodbridge writers come in second

Every book submitted is published free online with the idea of providing children suffering from cancer access to the book at any time.
December 7, 2023
Andrew Williams

A GROUP of writers from Guildford and Woodbridge were named as the runners-up in the national Write-a-book-in-a-day competition, last month.

The group, named The Woodies, drew inspiration for their submission ‘The Not So Secret Garden’ from the National Trust listed Woodbridge House where they wrote the book over the course of 12 hours.

The team of 10 included Carol Astbury, Jane Dewing, Gerry and Lois Crowley, Jo Flynn, Chris Oakeley, Deborah Cooper, Bronwen Channon, Shirley Benton and Ricky Arnold.

This year the write-a-book-in-a-day competition featured more than 14,000 writers across the country split into almost 2000 teams and raised $903,850 for the Kids Cancer Project, the most of any year.

Every single book submitted as part of the competition is published free online, with the idea of providing children suffering from cancer access to the book at any time.

The Woodies share an affinity for the historic school turned National Trust building, with many having volunteered there over the years.

At 8am on July 30, the group gathered at Woodbridge House and were given the parameters of two human characters, one non-human character, a setting and five random words. The team had until 8pm to finish the book with a minimum of 8000 words.

The story is set on the banks of the Swan River and features a diamond ring and follows the relationship between the unlikely pairing of a guerilla gardener and a canoeist.

Carol Astbury, The Woodies organiser, has participated in the write-a-book-in-a-day competition for that last eighteen years.

She said the competition poses unique challenges due to the short time frame and collaborative nature of the project. Mrs Astbury said this year, however, went smoothly and with minimal technical errors.

“I knew it was going to be a good story from the moment we did the last read through before we submitted,” she said.

The writers each tackled a chapter, which required constant communication between each other to ensure a cohesive flow to the story.

Gerry Crowley, a Woodbridge resident, said the collaboration process required the submitting of one’s own ego.

Normally a solitary writer, Mr Crowley said he also struggled writing in the same room as everyone else, but that the experience was ultimately very rewarding.

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