team

4 books are shown 1 sits on top of 2, and the back cover of another book is to the right

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.

our editor is beverley streeter and she looks happy about the role

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.  

Her areas of expertise include writing (content, correspondence), editing (both structural and copy-editing), complaints management, quality assurance, customer service, administrative tasks, office management, logistics,  leadership, training, coaching. Beverley brings these skills into play as a freelance editor, offering honest and reasoned feedback to authors in a gentle and constructive way. As an Associate Member of the Institute of Professional Editors, she works with authors of both fiction and non-fiction manuscripts. The opportunity to broaden her reading while assisting writers in expressing themselves effectively has resulted in a successful win/win formula.  

In recent years, Beverley became aware of the needs of older women approaching the transition to retirement, which inspired her to set up an interactive and resourceful blog called Classic Women. Beverley currently combines contribution as a volunteer in her community (Justice of the Peace, Secretary of the Gold Coast Writers' Association, committee member of Palm Beach Creative Stitchers), alongside her freelance editing work, and regular trips to the local recreation centre.

Grant Lock's book - I'd rather be blind

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.

photo of Michael Kuhn - big smile and waving

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.

photo of May-Kuan Lim another big smile and standing in front of a hedge

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.

Besides an artist, Faisal also an activist on disability rights issues, mainly on the accessibility of persons with disabilities. By doing disability rights activism, in the period of 2004 – 2008, Faisal was the chair of Bandung Independent Living Center (BILiC) an Organization of Persons with Disabilities based in Bandung Indonesia. Since 2012 He also creates public accessibility movement The Jakarta Barrier Free Tourism, that aim to educate the public on accessibility as the rights of persons with disabilities.

In this book project, Faisal contributes the story of 16 months in Australia. The story about how enjoyable and challenges in seizing the days with his wife Cucu Saidah who at that time study Public Policy at Flinders University in South Australia from 2016-2017. This was not the first book he wrote, in 2005 he wrote his perspective on living independently in the book ‘Cinta yang Utuh’. Faisal contributed to ‘Jurnal Difabel Vol. 2 Year 2015’ and wrote about his story on disability activism.

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.

For the past forty years, Marie has lived in the USA with annual visits to her hometown, Adelaide. Life went on, she raised four children and began a career teaching adults with disabilities to read, write and do math. Marie is currently a Learning Disability Specialist for San Diego Continuing Education. In an effort to encourage writing, she had her students submit writing for publication. That is when she became involved with WE LEARN and their annual journal of writing by learners in literacy programs. Now in its 15th edition, Women’s Perspectives motivates students to become enthusiastic writers.

Marie’s two worlds converged when she heard about 18.5. On her next visit to Adelaide, she met with John and Terri and volunteered as a writer and proof-reader. She has worked with several team members to write, edit, discuss and fine tune writing to move the project forward.

 In San Diego, Movement Be says, “Tell your story before they do.” This book, 18.5, does just that. People with disabilities telling their lived stories. Real people with real stories.

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.

Cristina aims to share her families’ experience living with their son James, in order to give the reader a glimpse of the everyday life as a family. Though very challenging, exhausting, difficult and at times trying, their lives are also fulfilling and rewarding. Having James has enriched their lives and they are very privileged to have James in the family.

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.  

He has a Bachelor of Applied Science in Computer Studies and has a Certificate in Non-Fiction Writing and Publishing.  John is generally coloured black, white and teal, as he supports the Port Adelaide Football Club in the AFL and SANFL. However, in the photo, John is purple as he was a candidate for the Dignity Party in the 2018 South Australian election. John has a blog about living life with a disability and a Christian.

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.

She never thought she would be able to accomplish doing many things in life, given the health issues, but have fought very hard, and found that anything is possible.  Melinda is from Perth, Western Australia, and will be contributing and writing her story with the help of David Wayne Wilson.

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. 

Phillippa comes from a very autistic diverse household and is autistic herself so speaks from lived experiences that she hopes to be able to pass on to others. She contributed a story.

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.

Gail’s business name is Books with a Purpose. She writes to make other’s lives easier and has now written three books ~ What we’re Wheelie like on disability, Unscrambling Grief - their story of surviving losing two children and more recently she published 5 Easy Ways to Solve the Aged Care Puzzle to simplify the process of getting a loved one into aged care.

 In her spare time she loves to arrange flowers, travel and speak German.

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.

Zia is actively involved within the Whyalla area, including the council and the Writer's Group.  Her hobbies include scentsy, reading, drawing, teaching herself Spanish and listening to loud music.  Zia would love to get an Alpaca.  Her website is https://www.wondrouswordszia.com.au/.

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.

Pam’s working days are filled with caring for sick animals and she volunteers as an ambo in her community helping sick humans. She loves horse riding, motorcycle riding, kayaking, gardening, walking her dogs and reading in her hammock. But most of her spare time is spent writing. It’s an addiction.  Pam's website is http://www.pamfarley.net/.

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.

His running came to a halt on the day of the accident and his story tells of his recovery, having been told he was not expected to walk again.

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).

John now produces video life stories, and in the process of writing his memoirs.  He wrote the story of Ross Hill-Brown for the project.

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.

He is currently the Dignity Party President and stood as a candidate in the 2006, 2010 and 2014 SA elections. Rick is passionate about the Norwood Football Club and played in three premierships. Rick has post-graduate qualifications in Acupuncture, Financial Investment and Business Management.

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.

He is passionate about people being known for their abilities not their disabilities.  Neville contributed and wrote his story.

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.

During her time working for the International Authors Forum (IAF), a network of writers' and artists' union all over the world, she sat on the board of the Accessible Books Consortium, an initiative dedicated to making published work more globally accessible to people who are blind. Katie edited the blogs of our team.

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.

She has been in the disability sector for more than 20 years. Roles include working with children with intellectual disabilities, adults with multiple disabilities and teenagers with Autism. Diana has also worked as a Rehabilitation Counsellor, assisting those injured in the workplace.

She has written for children’s’ television and workshopped episodes of an Australian TV series “A Country Practice. More recently, Diana wrote the novel ‘The Second Son’. It was based on her great grandfather’s letters to his brother talking about his life in Australia and the challenges he met along the way. Diana believes that story telling is one of the very best ways to engage people and to offer them a unique perspective into someone else’s life.

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.

Her first essay was published in “Page Seventeen - issue 12” called, “How a schizophrenic hears”. Bee is a peer support leader and lived experience panel member for Swinburne Uni since 2015.  See more at: www.hive.id.au, and books- www.beesboutiquebooks.biz

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.

His main passion is electric wheelchair (powerchair) sports. He devotes his time training, playing and teaching his beloved sports of Powerchair Football, Powerchair Hockey, Rugby League and Balloon Soccer, in hopes of helping powerchair sports in general gain more widespread exposure for the disabled community at large looking to find a competitive outlet.

Jonathan is currently undergoing a Bachelor of Behavioural Science degree as a part-time student at Flinders University, and in his spare time is an avid supporter of spectator sports such as AFL, NBA and cricket, while also having a keen interest in music.

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.

Chantel is heavily involved in her community in a range of voluntary roles, and is currently completing a PhD at the University of South Australia where her research is focused on understanding experiences of inclusion for people living with disability in education. She is passionate about people with disability living better lives through access and inclusion.

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.

Nadja writes mainly fiction and works as an English teacher. She also does volunteer work for an organisation which provides free audio books, where Nadja does proof-listening and also audio recordings. She lives in Perth with her daughter, who also writes fiction and her website is located at nadjafernandes.com.

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.

There is nothing Alex won't try, he has a fiery temper and is a bit of a sore loser, which makes him determined. He has had his ups and downs and we still have them, serious surgery at 8 weeks old, and plenty of other procedures and hospital visits, he is part of the Starlight foundation and is currently thinking about his "wish".  Alex contributed his story and Nadja wrote it.

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.

Nessa's goals in life include raising awareness about disability and fighting for the rights of disadvantaged persons. She is studying journalism at ECU in Perth, WA, and will be gra

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
Theatre of Disability in an administration role, and working on theatre productions and creative developments.

When Kathryn is not working at the theatre, she spends time going to the theatre, arts events , or socialising with friends and family.  She contributed a story written by Rachel Mann.

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.

Rachel has completed some subjects in Professional Writing through Deakin University and workshops through the Writer’s Centre. She now hopes to grow a business where she can write people’s stories full time. Rachel lives in Gawler with her family.

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.

Alice enjoys shopping, watching movies, visiting friends and family members, reading and going to concerts. She is currently working for a graphic design business called Blend Creative and undertakes tasks on the design program, Indesign. Alice often attends Purple Orange, which is a youth group for people with a disability.

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.

John says "I am in my sixties, the age when one looks back on life".  John loves writing and contributed an insight into his achievements, one of which is being a published author.  His story was written by Judith Buckingham.

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. 

Lorraine has a diploma of teaching, and been a Family Day Care provider for over twenty years until retirement. Lorraine volunteers with Girl Guides, as a Tai Chi instructor, and helps with other community groups.  She provided proof-reading for the project.

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.  

In 2012 Linda was inducted into the WA women's hall of fame for voluntary work with disabled people.  She currently lives independently in a retirement village with the aid of support workers.  Linda's passion is for all deaf blind people to have the same rights as everyone else.

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.

Mary believes that she is an ordinary person who with the love, support, and encouragement of many has been able experience many of the things life has to offer and accomplish some extraordinary things! Mary is a wife, self published author, and a university student undertaking her Bachelor of Counselling, who just happens to live with Cerebral Palsy.

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.

Valerie is a high school teacher and member of the Board of Management at the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers' Centre in Greenmount, Western Australia. She wrote the story of Linda Fistonich and Mary Albury.

 

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