The Australian Federal Police’s missing persons website has placed a link to ‘Write About Me’, a fictional story by Sapphire Coast author Melissa-Jane Pouliot, about a missing Australian teenager.
The book is a story about a teenage runaway who doesn't come home and was inspired by Melissa-Jane’s cousin Ursula Barwick, who went missing.
Speaking at the launch of ‘Write About Me’ in Merimbula on Tuesday, September 24 at Booktique where around 60 people attended, Melissa-Jane said that she was thrilled to have the endorsement of the National Missing Persons Co-ordination Centre (NMPCC).
On the missing persons website, the front page image of the book links to a full page about the novel and Melissa-Jane’s personal memories of Ursula. This page links to Ursula’s official AFP missing persons page.
“I feel extremely fortunate to have the backing of the NMPCC – they do such incredible work in raising the profile of missing persons. When Ursula went missing it wasn’t talked about in the media and there wasn’t as much support within the police specifically for missing persons.”
Melissa-Jane said her book had prompted new conversations and new information about Ursula which she hoped would result in further investigations into her disappearance.
Booktique owner, Michelle Delle Vergin said it was always exciting to have a local author published.
"The audience at last week's book lover's meeting were appreciative not only of a talented local author, but of the presentation that Melissa-Jane delivered on the night. Her personal story is an amazing one, and to create fiction out of something so close to her heart is an amazing feat for a first novel," Michelle said.
Melissa-Jane said: “There aren’t many fictional novels dedicated to the topic of missing persons, and it is a great medium for encouraging people to talk about the impact on family and friends when someone goes missing.
“Through my fictional characters I hope to connect with both young people and their families and friends to try and prevent the situation my own family is facing,” Melissa-Jane said.
More than 35,000 people go missing in Australia every year. While 95 per cent of people are found within a short period of time, there remains around 1600 long-term missing persons. The missing persons website is: www.missingpersons.gov.au