Shine Writers' Prize 2023 winners

The Shine Writers Prize showcases the talent of participants in Lifetime Care, workers from the Workers Care Program and clients of Dust Diseases Care.

The Shine Writers' Prize celebrates the role of writing and storytelling in promoting and supporting emotional wellbeing and social connection.

Entrants have experienced severe injury from motor or workplace accidents in NSW or have developed a dust disease as a result of exposure to hazardous dust while working in NSW.

Overall winner - Dominic Goodwin

Dominic impressed the judges by exploring his comic side in a storyboard of himself describing special moments of his life pre- and post-accident, entitled "This is me, Neon".

Dominic's visual story shows that after he left hospital, his enthusiasm for life has continued. Through a combination of text and pictures, his story tells us about his love of music, shuffle dancing and sport, and he shares some of his recent adventures.

Dominic said "I still love shuffling and music and I love being out and about. That's what makes me happy. I've done some cool things with my carers since my accident, like Defqon and going on holidays."

As a shuffler, Dominic loves sneakers and plans on buying himself a fresh pair of Nike TN shoes with his prize money. He's already been shopping to check out what's new! 

Dominic Goodwin.



Runner up: Asha Prasad

Asha moved to Sydney from a small town south of Auckland, New Zealand, after graduating and getting a job. At 26, she had a stroke following an injury at work. After a long road of recovery, Asha has learned to look after her mental health, love life and herself.

Drawing from personal experiences and feelings, her writing started to take shape. For a long time, she didn't consider her writing to be good. However she challenged her mindset and worked hard to find her own writing style.

The key message Asha wants people to take away is "to live life to the fullest safely, within your means and not harming anyone else and to not give up on what you really want to do."

Asha enjoys music, loves learning new things, going to shows, going out for dinner, and being in nature. She loves being at the beach and doing things out of her comfort zone. She has been indoor skydiving and although it scared her, she would do it again. 

Asha Prasad.



Highly commended: Daniel Khalef

Daniel lives in Sydney with his family. Since his accident, he has drawn on art to help express thoughts, feelings and ideas.

For Daniel, one of the challenges of creating his illustrated story was drawing about what made him feel vulnerable. This meant revisiting what happened when he had his accident, accepting it, and then expressing his emotions on paper.

"You hear people talking about it, but you truly need to experience that again by drawing it. This helps us accept what has happened, learn from each lesson to grow and build your future by caring about who you love. Being stuck in the past will only hold you down. You must undergo a traumatic experience to be optimistic and thankful, to see the beauty in everything as simple as taking a breath."

One of his illustrations emphasises being helpless and broken, seeking help and guidance but it’s just too dark to see. His sister, mum and his art sessions have provided a reason and means to express his thoughts and challenges.

"I'm determined if not for the help of art therapy I wouldn't have the ability to express my thoughts emotionally and physically.

"In every problem there's a moral to learn, look back and consider, improve as a person and remember the value of life."

An image of a storyboard with 4 frames drawn. 1 Shows a hospital monitor with the caption 'Lub-dub...'. 2 An overhead view of a person lying on a hospital bed with an oxygen mask attached to a machine and a doctor writing notes. 3. There is a close-up of the person's face with eyes closed with caption 'Who am...'. 4. A close-up on the person's eyes, now wide open with caption 'Who am I?'.

An excerpt from Daniel's story.

Judges panel

Fiona Murphy

Fiona Murphy is an award-winning deaf writer. Her work has appeared in The Guardian, The Saturday Paper, The Age, Big Issue, among many other publications.

Her memoir, The Shape of Sound, was highly commended in the 2022 Victorian Premier Literary Awards.

Portrait photo of Fiona Murphy

Kerri Shying

Kerri Shying is a poet of Wiradjuri and Chinese family, winner of a NSW Writers' Centre Emerging Writer Grant in 2017 and is widely anthologised.

Shortlisted for Helen Anne Bell and Noel Rowe Prizes in 2017, she won the Varuna Dr Eric Dark Flagship Fellowship for 2019 for her collection "Know Your Country", 2021 available through Puncher and Wattman. She has published two books of poetry and a chapbook since 2017, featuring her decolonizing form Elevensies.

Kerri has been convenor of the disability peer writing collective, WU for 6 years and was a nominee for The Aspire Awards 2020. She lives with her famous dog Max Spangly in Muloobinba and her hobby is getting tattoos. She is a respected disability advocate and mentor, and lives with disability

Photo of Kerri Shying hugging a dog

Gayle Kennedy

Gayle Kennedy is a proud member of the Wongaibon Clan of the Ngiayampaa speaking nation of South West NSW. She is an award-winning writer and has published work in newspapers, magazines, literature journals and for radio.

She was the Indigenous issues writer and researcher for Streetwize comics from 1995-1998. Her poetry collection Koori Girl Goes Shoppin was shortlisted for the David Unaipon Award, an award Gayle won in 2006 with Me, Antman & Fleabag. It was shortlisted for a Victorian Premier's Literary Award, Deadly Award and commended for the Kate Challis RAKA Award.

Gayle's published 11 novels between 2011 and 2014. Gayle's presented at writers festivals, NAIDOC events, and nationally and internationally on her experience with polio and disability in general. Gayle's work has been published in Puffin, Currency, Ora Nui, Edinburgh Review anthologies, Southerly Magazine and Verity La, amongst others.

Portrait photo of Gayle Kennedy