Biographies

 

   

Maria Benson

Born in Scotland, Maria immigrated with her family to Australia in ’68. The second eldest of ten children, she attended Ballarat High School, but left at fifteen to help contribute to the family and got her first job in a newsagent in Ararat.

An avid reader from a young age, Maria took up writing later in life as a hobby, (Tales with a twist her favourite genre) and is currently working on two novels. She has two children and lives and works in Tewantin.

 

Gray Bickley

Born in the UK, Grayham was educated at The Foley Art College which instilled in him a long search for the right artistic outlet. Immigrating to Australia in 1967. The search took him into the realms of professional acting which sparked his interest in writing. Following a career in marketing, Gray and his wife Judith moved to Corooy, where they still live with their dog Riley.

After receiving a lung transplant in 2004 he found that the search was pursuing him. Since this time he has been writing short stories and poems and is trying to complete his first novel. His other interest is photography.

Gray’s story Cover Shot recently won third prize in the Noosa Today’s short story competition.

 

David Erskine

After several years working as a journalist and advertising copywriter, David completed a Bachelor of Education, majoring in drama, film and music. In his new role as Arts Educator, he taught in schools and tertiary institutions.

Then one day, he acquiesced to the call of the itinerant performing artist and literally ran off with the circus. He toured with Adelaide’s Magick Circus across Australia and then to Europe, honing skills in clown, mask, puppetry and magic.

On returning home, he established his own theatre troupe and spent many years performing in schools, arts festivals and corporate events throughout Australia and overseas. At the same time, David's fascination for sound led him to the world of audio production, where he developed skills in sound-design for radio and film.

From 2003 -2015, he lived in Berlin, Germany, continuing his work in the arts. And it was during this time he became inspired to write a novel on the restitution of stolen art.

He now lives in Noosaville, where he continues to write and develop new ideas in sound and theatre arts.

 

Celia Esplin

The seed of Celia's spirited imagination was borne from a childhood of travel and adventure.

Born in the UK to a military family, her journey to Australia came via boarding schools in England, a French Convent in Belgium, time on the ancient island of Cyprus and the striking west coast of Africa.

Settling in Australia in 1965, her marriage furthered the creative journey taking her further afield to the Seychelles, Taiwan, Kenya and Abu Dhabi. Celia's sense of fun has drawn her to discover her niche which is children's poetry.

The diversity of her background and child-like free spirit drives the words to the pages; creating images which appeal to children of all ages from two to 99! Celia and her husband, Brian, now live on the Sunshine Coast where they run their own aviation business.

Besides the child within, her greatest inspiration these days comes from the eyes of her grandchildren and their combined fascination of the world around them.

 

Barbara Kelly

Born in Brisbane and began working at 15 selling everything from frocks to gas stoves. Developed cooking skills by demonstrating products at local shows and department stores.
Did the usual bunk to England at 20 and worked for Australia House marketing wine and the Ten Pound Pom immigration scheme.  Hitch-hiked around Europe for three months and that’s where I developed my writing, penning weekly  ten-page letters back to the parent-birds.

Married to a vet pathologist who taught me everything I know about science. Added three to the world population and built two houses.
At 40 Gough Whitlam gave me the chance to go to Uni and I gained an Industrial Relations degree from UQ. Also studied writing there with Thea Astley and Bruce Dawe. Worked at QUT and UQ until retirement, developing a successful student tutoring system (PASS) that greatly reduced the 30% failure rate of many first-year students.

Art distraction: fusing glass designs onto copper at 1600 degrees.
Mostly a Private Bin self-publisher distributing (!) small volumes of poetry, travelogues and two decades of family life. I kept a diary from 16 to 60.  Won the Queensland Women’s Poetry prize. Recently finished two fictional anthologies.  Chernobyl to be published in Noosa Writers new Anthology volume.

 

 

 

 

Laura Kippen

Born in the UK, South London and raised on pie, mash and liquor, Laura moved to the outskirts of Kent with her husband and raised their three children. She had a background of banking and Reflexology and her husband flourished in the financial services, real estate and owned a successful building company, Kingsdale Homes.

After her husband suffered a brain haemorrhage in 1993 and had a later health scare, they made the decision in 2002 to immigrate to Australia to retire and give their children better opportunities and quality of life.

Retirement became busier than working, as they both became involved in Surf Life Saving, Rugby Union and President and Recorder of The Noosa Swim Club. Their eldest daughter, Gemma, now mother to three beautiful girls and owner of Little Gem Creations. The second daughter, Connah, a singer/songwriter finalist, now to become a nurse and mother. Their son, Macauley winning Gold in the Arafura Games at the age of fifteen, now working as a successful panel beater in their family owned Bissell’s Paint and Panel business in Noosaville. Both Laura and her husband looking to be able to retire again…

Laura’s love of life, magic and fairy tales, hold an endless wonder of make believe – a passion she feels should be kept alive. The joy raising her children led to writing picture book stories – sharing the excitement of imagination.

Finding a publisher had not been easy, though ABC Children’s TV loved the concept – self publishing is now underway.

After joining the Noosa Writers in 2017, she says, ‘it has been very satisfying to find such lovely like-minded people to share this passion with.’

 

 

 
   

Sheila Mason

Sheila was born in the heart of the English countryside. Choosing a career in engineering as a draughtswoman, she journeyed to Africa in her early 20s. Eventually settling back in England after travelling back and forth to Africa with her Australian journalist husband, Peter, and their two sons, Sheila turned her hand to painting and writing, initially as a hobby. Now, after almost twenty years of calling Noosa home, that hobby has turned into a full-time occupation!

In the mid-1980s she threw in her lot with Peter’s newly-formed hot air balloon company, which they ran together for 20 years. It was an exciting period of globe-trotting and record-breaking which took them to some of the world’s most mysterious, exotic and out-of-the-way locations - among them Wadi Rum and Petra, in the Jordanian desert; the Grand Canyon, Red Square, the Taj Mahal, Niagara Falls, Mount Fuji, and the Himalayas, where Sheila helped organise – and was mission controller – for the world’s one and only balloon flight over Mount Everest.

Writing under the pseudonym of Rebecca S Mason, Sheila has seriously been putting words together, creatively, for about twenty years. And whilst admitting that most of those words and ideas often stay rattling around her brain some have, eventually, made their way onto paper! Rebecca’s motto has to be, ‘you’re never too old’, and she proves that regularly by writing lots of short stories and working, intermittently, on her autobiography as well as her novel, ‘Shimla’, set in India, which she hopes to finish one fine day!

Disobedient Tumbleweeds is Sheila's fifth published anthology with Noosa Writers, this one being a collection of six novellas. Previous anthologies containing Sheila’s short stories and poems include: Frozen in Time, When Pelicans Turn Blue, Dead Elephant in the Surf, and Dead Elephant in the Bazaar.

 

Kerri McDonald

Kerri was born in NSW, raised and educated in QLD, and moved to WA in 1986. After twenty-five years in the IT industry, she escaped from city-life with her husband Dave, and moved to a farm in southwest WA. There she discovered a passion for writing children's stories after watching their city-bred poodle confront her first sheep.

She completed a Masters in Creative Writing through the University of Canberra in 2009.

Kerri and Dave moved back to sunny Queensland in 2011 with their scallywag dog, Cassie. In Noosa, I rediscovered my love for Art after joinging Noosa Arts & Crafts. Since then I have broadened my creativity in drawing and painting using oastels, watercolours and other mediums

Her Younge Adult novel, Time Conspiracy, won third prize at the annual CYA conference competition in 2012 and her Middle Grade novel, Knight Flyer, won first place in 2014.

Time Conspiracy was published in 2017 and she is currently working on the next book in the series. She plans to publish Knight Flyer in 2018.

 

Shane Thompson

Growing up in the country, Shane will always be grateful for a childhood that stimulated her imagination and allowed time for voracious reading. Boarding school came as a shock but student life at the University of Queensland was a revelation. She took full advantage of writing, politics and psychology classes and began her career as a librarian. However nature continued to be her inspiration and gardening, her pleasure.

Juggling a busy teaching career while raising two children did not leave much time for writing unless it was work related but always she kept diaries where her creative life lurked next to household to do lists.

Now at last, she has the luxury of time to express what is within and would like to thank Noosa Writers for supporting this journey.