Brisbane author Edwina Shaw has many passions, such as mental health, women’s issues, yoga and travel.
But it is the ability to use her writing gift as a tool for healing and compassion that inspires her the most.
Edwina’s story is one of growing as a person and writer while drawing on her own life and taking on challenges the world over from Leipzig in Germany to Cambodia in the dying days of the murderous Khmer Rouge.
Between writing novels, Edwina teaches writing at the UQ, and yoga to professional dance students at the QUT.
She has a background in education: from teaching maths in a maximum security Juvenile Justice Centre, to working with students with severe disabilities in special schools, opening her own private language school in Cambodia, and teaching English as a second language to refugees in Australia.
It is the writer, however, that will be up front when she goes to Bundaberg next month where she has been appointed a Crush Festival Bundaberg WriteFest speaker.
Bundaberg, the gateway to the Southern Great Barrier Reef, will play host to a troupe of local and touring artists, acrobats, writers, filmmakers, choir singers and Indigenous designers from 6 to 15 October for Crush Festival 2017.
Crush, a ten-day celebration of the wealth of talent in the region and beyond, is a Bundaberg Regional Council event managed by Creative Regions and supported by Tourism and Events Queensland.
“The 2017 program is packed full of fantastic experiences in beautiful outdoor spaces and venues to bring the community and its visitors together through the arts,” said Crush Festival artistic director Shelley Pisani.
The festival will kick off in style with the Dambali First Nations Fashion Exhibition and Forum on Friday 6 October at the Bundaberg School of Arts.
Hosted by local Indigenous artist Julie Appo, this event celebrates the region’s Indigenous fashion, textile design and wearable art creations and is the culmination of two years of work that has seen Appo engage with Indigenous artists learning to use their art for fabric printing.
Ms Pisani is particularly pleased with the involvement of Edwina, whose first book, “Thrill Seekers” was based on her brother’s adolescent battle with schizophrenia.
Her WriteFest event “Page Turners” will teach participants how to identify and arrange plot elements for greatest impact, meaning and suspense.
Ever since her brother started hearing voices, Edwina Shaw has been fascinated by the workings of the human mind.
“Thrill Seekers” is based on her brother’s battle with schizophrenia. It was released in the UK and throughout the English-speaking world and was shortlisted for the 2012 NSW Premier’s UTS/Glenda Adam’s award for new writing.
She has kept a journal since her late teens and started writing fiction inspired by these in 2002. Her second novel manuscript, “Child of Fortune” is loosely based on her experiences establishing an English language school in Cambodia in the mid 1990’s while the Khmer Rouge waged its last terrorist attacks, kidnapping and killing foreigners. It was a finalist in the 2012 Amazon/Penguin US Breakthrough Novel Award.
She has also had numerous short pieces published in Australian and international literary journals.
In 2008 she was awarded the Griffith REVIEW’s GREW Award for most promising new writer and her story “Mrs Sunshine” was included in Black Inc’s 2014 Best Short Stories collection.
Her third novel, “Into The Fire”, is a literary thriller about a cane farmer’s wife going slowly mad, jeopardizing the lives of her husband and children when she falls for a charismatic and manipulative, much older man.
Edwina has also written a combined memoir/self-help title, “A Guide to Grief” sharing the wisdom she gained riding the waves of loss after the untimely deaths of her father, brother and infant son and her pathway to healing through yoga and writing practices.
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