Renowned political commentator, journalist, author, cook, and TV presenter, Annabel Crabb, is launching a special book on the 2003 Canberra bushfires.

Tears, Laughter, Champagne: A story of friendship forged through fire and food, written by Karen Downey, with photography from Grace Costa, will launch at ANU on Saturday 9 December.  The book tells the unique story of nine women who forged strong friendships after they lost their homes in the 2003 Canberra bushfires. It’s an exceptional tale of friendship, fine food, and rebuilding after a tragedy.

Known among themselves as the Singed Sisters, the women have met regularly since the fires to share stories, tears, champagne, laughter, and gardening tips. Sometimes, they also bring along their partners, the Burnt Blokes.

Annabell Crabb has strong links to Canberra through her many years in the Parliamentary Press Gallery. She also has friends that lost their homes in the devastating fires, and the Singed Sisters are delighted that she is launching the book this weekend.

The concept for the book is definitively not new, with the idea born out of the first post-bushfire meeting, and now it is finally coming to life. All profits received from the book sales will be donated to YWCA Canberra.

The 2003 Canberra bushfires occurred during 18-22 January 2003, and severely damaged almost 70 percent of the ACT’s pine plantations and pastures, as well as most of the Mount Stromlo Observatory. More than 500 houses were severely damaged or completely destroyed, requiring a huge relief effort from the community.

The launch of Tears, Laughter, Champagne: A story of friendship forged through fire and food will take place at 3pm on Saturday 9 December at AtheNaeUm at ANU, downstairs in Llewellyn Hall.

Tickets can be purchased from Eventbrite at $8 a head.