Farewell dear netizens

Dear sincerely valued clients,

This is just a quick note to inform you, belatedly, that The Dead Letter Office, while still dedicated to the preservation of epistolary culture and considered communication, is no longer able to maintain its website. Due to funding constraints, we have had to make a decision between crude, vapid online communication, and the more thoughtful printed letter. We chose, as we know you would have wanted, the latter.

We hope you are all well and look forward to seeing you again, perhaps in wintry Banyule.

We remain your most loyal and obedient servants,

Miss Dolores Wagner and Miss Ethel May Beeton


More from DLO letter-writing workshop. Letter offering tips on living a good life. Again, a letter-writer of advanced skills writing to a person in an hour of needs. Parallels can be drawn with the DLO’s office to Sir Walter Really (see category ‘letters in an hour of need.’ )

Dear Schapelle,

I feel it might be appropriate to offer you some tips on living a good life from here on in. I know that this has been problematic for you in the past.

Firstly, I strongly recommend that you restrict yourself to speaking only the truth. It is simper this way as it’s much easier to remember than any invented version of it.

Secondly, it’s probably best to give up surfing – you never know when the temptation might arise to put something other than a board inside its cover.

Thirdly, and this may be quite difficult, consider changing your name and running away from your family. Perhaps think about Tasmania as that would also help you with my second tip of abandoning surfing.  You could become an environmentalist instead and still be in the limelight, just a touch more positive one.

Lastly, I imagine that should your request for clemency be granted, you stand to gain quite a bit in financial terms. The Australian public would undoubtably be impressed by your genuine remorse if you were to donate any profits to our drug rehabilitation program.

I wish you well in your pursuit of justice and in living a long but most importantly, a good life back home.

Yours sincerely,

Miss E___________

The letter-writer produced this in response to the exercise at the DLO’s workshop about writing to a favourite movie or TV star. Although of tender years, she shows early promise. Perhaps one day she too may be able to make her living as a lady of letters, although as we know, it’s getting harder and harder to crack into the industry.

Dear Hermione Granger from Harry Potter,

I love your seris of movies – Harry Potter. You are a fantastic actress and can perform great facial expressions.

What is your favourite movie out of the whole series? I love all of them, even though all of the movies haven’t come out and my mum won’t let me read the books after the fifth.

Anyway, you are a great actress and should be in many more movies to come.


One of the more poignant letters produced at the DLO’s workshop. The writer has many years of experience in the art and we think this is apparent form her sophisticated style. The letter appears to be a friend who has grown a little too fond of the bottle. Sadly, a very common thing in Australian society. The DLO believes something needs to be done. We would have made public statements to the effect if we were not worried about our funding sources being removed.  

Dear Miss _______,

I do hope this letter finds you well and that the winter hasn’t bought on your aches and pains as last year’s winter did.

Unfortunately I have heard from Mr George that you are, and may I be so blunt as to say, ‘hitting the bottle’ again. This disturbed me to the point of my nervous itch and you know how that distresses me.

Miss Abigail, it is with some regret that I was chosen to be the ‘letter-writer’, however, as I have been chosen I will not ‘mince words’ with you.

To live the good life one must give up the ‘demon drink’ and whilst I am at it, the profanities that Miss Brown heard you using have been a shock to us all, that also must be ceased immediately.

I do hope you take it upon yourself to begin immediately to mend your ways and lead a good life.

Yours sincerely,

Miss ______________

Dear Stefanie

The Dead Letter Office likes this. It was written by an ESL speaker at our workshop. There is something simple, dignified, even Germanic about the tone. Again, the scenario was a letter to someone who’s about to make a bad decision, advising them to take another path. The letter writer implies, but does not directly state, that there is something wrong about marrying someone with a very similiar name. It is a useful technique. The letter-writer has broken the golden role about not crossing, but this is redeemable as he can always do a second draft – I’m not sure that he’s sent the letter yet. The crossed parts are included here as they offer a useful insight into the letter writer’s state of mind. I think he was prudent to cross them out, don’t you?

Dear Stefanie

I was deeply disturbed by the news of your decision to marry Stefan. There are so many things that I could have offered to you that Stefan cannot.

Do you remember the days we spent together at the local playground, where we vowed to stay together and love each other until the end of days? Until this day, I was of the conviction that there still was a future for us, and that things could be fixed, regardless of what happened in the past. [Crossed: Stefan is not right for you] 

Stefan is not the right man for you and he never will love you in the way I do and always will. I beg you to reconsider your choice.

[Crossed – I can offer you so much more, and not least any impressive portfolio of investment than Stefan

With eternal love,


Another gem from Miss Wagner as part of the ‘lucky dip’ letter writing exercise at a DLO workshop. Miss Wagner selected a scenario about writing to someone who is about to make a bad choice. Miss Jolie seemed to fit into that category. Miss Wagner used a standard line in advice letters, which is useful for added diplomacy. See if you can pick it! Miss Jolie has not yet responded to Miss Wagner’s concerned epistle. She must be very busy indeed.

I’m not sure the marriage congratulations are quite appropriate. I think Miss Wagner is a bit behind the times, Ms Jolie and Mr Pitt wedded many years ago now.  

Dear Miss Jolie,

You do not know me – I don’t think, at least, but I am a very great fan of your work. My favourite movie of yours is Girl Interrupted.

I ask you to reconsider your decision to adopt your 7th child. You say in Womans Weekly (18/05/10) that you ‘are attracted to children who are already born.’  This may be so, and I can well understand it, but it does not follow that you will be able to give that child the care and attention it needs.

How is it that you did not perceive this immediately, since you usually see so clearly and judge so correctly?

But belated congratulations on your marriage to Mr Pitt.

Yours most respectfully,

Dolores Wagner (Miss)

Letter to Anne of Green Gables

This is a letter written by Miss Wagner during our writing workshop. We had to write to our favourite book or movie character. Miss Wagner chose a lady very dear to her heart.

Anne of Green Gables, 42 Lane Drive, Ingleside CA 7234

Dear Anne,

How much joy you gave me in my early years. Purely by virtue of our hair colour, we were both teased at school – yet both grew up to be alluring, accomplished women.

Unlike you, I was not an orphan – it always seemed rather glamorous but I can’t imagine it was easy. You had a wonderful life, but you did endure somehardships – losing one of your most precious sons in World War II.

Anne, do you have any advice as to how I might secure myself a doctor for a husband? I fear this seems overly forward. But economic considerations do play on my mind as I approach 40.

I admire you greatly and look forward to seeing what kind of moment achievements your family brings to the world over the coming years.

Your fervent admirer

Miss Dolores Wager