Our international team are from Indonesia, the USA and the UK.
And the Australian team lives in the states of South Australia, Victoria, Queensland and Western Australia.
Order the books here.
Beverley Streater is our editor. During a long career in human services, Beverley transitioned from face to face service delivery in aged and disability services, to coordinating services, managing teams, and finally providing strategic advice and communications to senior personnel.
Grant Lock is a contributor and writer. Grant dug wells, built schools and helped restore eyesight to thousands of Afghans. He is married to Janna, the woman the widows of Kabul call Frishta (Angel). Grant was Director of Afghanistan’s biggest eye-care project when he started to go blind. After 24 years in Pakistan and Afghanistan, they had to return to Australia. His first book, “Shoot Me First,” has sold over 10,000 copies. His latest book is “I’d Rather Be Blind”. Grant is a natural storyteller, poet, and a popular motivational speaker.
Michael Kuhn contributed his story with the help of Kathleen Kuhn and written by May-Kuan Lim. Michael is a happy 30-year-old man who loves life, people, being involved in everything, including his Church. Michael is very energetic and tries everything and is always out and about. He likes music but has no interest in TV and computer games. Recently he swapped support for AFL teams, from the Crows to the Power.
May-Kuan Lim wrote the stories of Michael Kuhn and Tracy Meg. May-Kuan has been free-lance writing since 2007 and a member of SA Writers since 2010. In 2015, she won the Arts SA Emerging Artist Mentorship Grant for her book project about refugee resettlement in South Australia. She writes narrative non-fiction, loves oral history, and blogs at maykuanlim.com.
Tracy Meg contributed a story that was written by May-Kuan Lim. Tracy has spinal damage resulting from a Motor Vehicle Accident in the Northern Territory in early 2013. She was travelling by herself in Australia, during a career break since mid-2012. Tracy recently started her blog WelcomeToMyQueendom.com and believes there is power in words and the testimonies of the lives of people. Tracy is interested in
Faisal Rusdi is a professional mouth painting artist from Indonesia. He is an artist member of the Association of Mouth and Foot Painting Artist (AMFPA) since 2002. The association is based in Liechtenstein with members from 75 countries. Faisal had performed his artwork through an exhibition at national and international avenues such as Singapore, Myanmar, Japan and Australia.
Marie Doerner has worked for the over two decades with students, both children and adults, who have various disabilities. Marie finds it rewarding to support instructors to improve their programs with strategies and accommodations for their students. She also loves working with students to help them develop self-advocacy skills and learn to find their strengths. However, the favorite part of Marie’s job is when her student work can be highlighted such as speaking at conferences and having their writing published. Marie helped to proofread the book and wrote for Faisal Rusdi and the Rodert family.
Cristina Rodert grew up in the Philippines and moved to Australia in 1995 as a post graduate student. Her life was changed forever in the year 2000 when her son James was born with Down Syndrome and later diagnosed with autism. In addition, James has speech and hearing impairments. Cristina had no awareness of disabilities growing up in the Philippines. Having a son with multiple disabilities and no family support presented a real challenge for herself.
John Duthie contributed and wrote a story, as well as helping other people with their stories. He came up with the idea of the book when sitting on the toilet. John was hit by a tree in 2009 and is writing his autobiography Alive and not Kicking.
Melinda Jones was born with a rare genetic condition called Neurofibromas Type 2 and had her first brain tumour removed at 19 yrs old. Her second brain tumour at 39 yrs old left her permanently deaf. Melinda is a full-time mother to 3 beautiful children and as a family have learnt and now use sign language( Auslan) to communicate daily.
Phillippa (AKA Philly or as Pippa.K) is an Australian fantasy writer, her first fantasy book is in the process of being written with no release date set as yet. Phillippa resides in Adelaide, South Australia with her husband, three children, a Labrador (who is her son’s Autism Companion Dog through the organisation Lab’s n’ Life) and three cats who have created the inspiration to continue on with her love of writing, especially in the fantasy genre.
Gail Miller has written the story of how her Mum’s life changed after a tragic car accident. She’s married with two adult children and lives in the Adelaide Hills. Her background is in children’s dentistry, but somehow in midlife she morphed into an author and public speaker.
Zia Westerman provided proofreading services and contributed a story written by Pam Farley. In 2014 Zia completed an Advanced Diploma of Arts (Professional Writing), and was awarded the Society of Editors (SA) Award for Highest Achievement in Editing. In the same year, she also completed a Certificate in Professional Editing and Proofreading.
Pam Farley wrote the story of Zia Westerman. Pam is a writer of dark fiction. She has written more than sixty short stories and has had many published in various literary magazines and anthologies. Her sixth novel The Hunter Within won the 2015 Murray Book Prize.
Ross Hill-Brown contributed a story about how he became an incomplete tetraplegic in a traffic accident in the U.K. in 2015. It is written by John Francis. At the time he was an active Master track and Field athlete. Four days before the accident he ran a 400m heat in the World Masters Championships in Lyon beating the other two Australians who had competed by recorded time. A couple of days earlier he had made the 200m semi-final.
John Francis has been a journalist for over 50 years, producing radio documentaries, working in newspapers. Thirty years ago he founded *Tearaway* Magazine, 'The Voice of New Zealand Youth', which in the 1990s was massive with young New Zealanders (before social media and mobile phones took over their lives).
Rick Neagle contributed a story about Mitchell Neagle, and written by Marie Doerner. Mitchell has autism spectrum disorder and attends St Patrick’s Special School. Rick became a strong advocate on many disability issues including the provision of services for people with autism.
Lisa Birch is a freelance writer and editor from the beautiful western suburbs of Adelaide. She shares her little house with her husband, her daughter and two mischievous cats. Lisa provided proofreading for the book.
The last 9 years of Neville Hiatt's journey have been a painful journey after an accident intermissioned a promising radio career. All his artistic work from his photographs to his books were born out of a recommendation from his psychologist to find a new voice.
Katie Webb has worked with authors all over the world for many years, both as an advocate for authors' professional rights, and on various literary and academic projects.
Jacy Arthur was born with Cerebral Palsy with severe hearing loss. She hears by reading lips, and speaks through my hands via a keyboard. Jacy has written two books so far "If Only You Knew" and "If Only You knew Too". The books share her life and how her family coped with Jacy's disability. Jacy contributed her story and was written by Diana von der Borch-Garden.
Diana von der Borch-Garden is currently an Educator training students in Certificate 111 in Individual Support (aged care and disability support workers). She also works as an Art Therapist & Rehabilitation Counsellor with both adults & children on NDIS. Previously, Diana ran art therapy workshops for people with chronic or persistent pain.
Bee Williamson contributed and wrote her story. She has schizo-affective disorder. As a poet and artist, Bee has designed and written 11 books, including “The Hidden Self”, “Nature - a gift” and the latest, “Torment & Soul”. All three have been stocked in most independent bookshops around Melbourne.
Ben Wilson contributed and wrote his story. He is currently teaching at St Peter’s College in Hackney, and played football for Collingwood and Sydney in the AFL, before returning to Adelaide to play in the SANFL with Norwood and later South Adelaide. He is an Ambassador for Huntington's SA & NT. Ben stoodfor the Dignity Party in the electorate of Dunstan in the March 2018 state election.
Jonathan Nguyen contributed a story written by Chantel Bongiovanni. Jonathan (known by his friends as Jono) is a 26 year old man of Vietnamese descent who lives with Merosin-Deficiency Muscular Dystrophy, a neuromuscular condition that falls under the umbrella Congenital Muscular Dystrophy.
Chantel Bongiovanni is a writer and Powerchair athlete living with disability. In this book, she collaborated with Jonathan Nguyen to write his story about his experiences in Powerchair sport. She has also written a chapter in Black Inc Books’ Growing Up Disabled in Australia, edited by Carly Findlay.
Nadja Fernandes wrote a story about Alex, and Gordon Smart (a pseudonym chosen by the real person). Gordon is visually impaired and lives by himself in Perth, WA. He does all his house chores by himself, including cooking. He earns his living by trading shares on the Stock Market.
Alex was born with Spina Bifida, he is 8 1/2 years old. As a result of his Spina Bifida he is a paraplegic and gets around in a manual wheelchair. He is the second of 4 children, he has an older brother Elliott (10), and younger sisters Betty (3) and Sophie (1). Alex loves sport and a bright young boy. He attends the local primary school and is popular, with a great sense of humour.
Gordon Smart contributed a story, written by Nadja Fernandes. This is not the actual photograph of Gordon, and he doesn't exist. A few contributors choose to remain anonymous by choosing a pseudonym.
Nessa Vlajkovic is 20, and contributed and wrote a story about the challenges and triumphs she has experienced in her life as an individual living with deafblindness. She is a cheerleader with a background in dancing and gymnastics.
Kathryn Hall was born with cerebral palsy. Kathryn is an actor and was able to get a part in the movie “Rabbit” through an open audition process. She spends much time volunteering at No Strings Attached
Rachel Mann wrote the story of Kathryn Hall and provided proofreading for the project. Rachel enjoys assisting people to share the stories they most wish to share with the world. With a background as a social worker, project officer and social researcher, Rachel has always enjoyed the process of writing and talking with people.
Alice Waterman contributed a story and wrote it with the help of SA Care. At 18 months of age, Alice contracted a virus infection which had the effect of confining her to a wheelchair with quadriplegia. She communicates via phone, facial expressions and makes noises with her mouth.
John Rynn - John has non verbal quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy. He enjoys travelling on boats of all sizes from Sailability dinghies to cruise liners as well as painting and poetry.
Judith Buckingham is part of the writing team and wrote the story of John Rynn. She has worked in the disability sector for over twenty years. For the past eight years she has been working for the ACEDisability Network undertaking research projects and professional development. Her PhD explored the meaning and practice of inclusion of adults with cognitive disability. In her spare time she likes to write fiction.
Lorraine Saunders is a member of Rocky River 'Riters which has members from the mid north towns of Gladstone, Laura, Georgetown, Crystal Brook and Redhill. She coordinates the Laura Literary Awards, an annual nation-wide prose and poetry competition for adults, high school and primary students.
Linda Fistonich contributed a story written by Valerie Everett. Linda was born with a congenital condition known as optic atrophy, which has left her living her life as a deaf blind person. She completed a Batchelor of psychology degree in 1989 and loves helping and caring for people from all ages and backgrounds.
Mary Albury contributed a story of the roller-coaster ride that is her life (written by Valerie Everett). Love, loss, and learning to overcome adversity with good humour and compassion, has finally brought her to a place of acceptance and joy in her life. To reach this place, Mary has come to understand that with hard work and tenacity absolutely anything is possible and that life is truly what you make it.
Valerie Everett is a published and award winning writer of fiction, non-fiction and poetry. She is passionate about researching and writing stories about all things Australian, including historical events and the lives of ordinary people who have achieved the extraordinary.