On Wednesday 31st July over 80 people gathered at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne to celebrate the work of the writers who entered the 3rd Annual Dulcie Stone Writers Award which VALID hosts in partnership with Writers Victoria.
Once again this year’s ceremony showcased the voices of people with an intellectual disability and honoured the life of Dulcie Stone who passed away in July at the grand age of 95.
Dulcie was not only an acclaimed writer but and also a strong advocate for people with an intellectual disability. VALID CEO, and son of Dulcie, Kevin, shared with the audience memories of his mother yelling over the phone at bureaucrats that a school for people with intellectual disabilities needed books, paper, pencils – some of the essential tools that facilitate learning and an ability to tell your story.
Dulcie Stone was an early champion of the enrichment that follows when people with intellectual disabilities are empowered and given the opportunity to talk about what matters to them. As a writer who published over 30 books, Dulcie understood the power of writing as a vehicle for transforming lives and changing communities.
The Dulcie Stone Award is bearing witness to the transformative power of writing by people with intellectual disability. Those who have attended the Dulcie Stone Writers Award have gone away inspired and captivated by the stories they have heard. This year’s event was our largest by far. Dulcie would be proud of the tradition that the Award is starting to create in the world of writing.
For this to be fully realised we are dependent on our partners, Writers Victoria, and in particular, Writability Coordinator, Lyndell Caffrey who helped us with judging and did a wonderful job providing feedback to our winners on the day. A big thank you to Lyndel, Writers Victoria and the Wheeler Centre – it is a wonderful opportunity for us to be able to host the event each year in one of the key centres for writing in Australia.
There were six winners this year and two encouragement awards in 2019. The winners were:
- Buffy Dee Lasun
- Timothy Jong
- Ivan Estebeth
- Teagan Connor
- Matt Robertson – Story Board
- Grace-Rose Turner – Story Board
Our Encouragement Awards went to:
- Adam Thrussel
- Eliza Brodie
One of our winners, Buffy Dee Lasun, in a powerful piece, bordering on political polemic, compared writing her story with the feeling of morphing from a cocoon and giving her wings to fly. Similarly, Teagan Connor’s story reminded us of the potential to realise our true selves when we have the courage to shed the mask of conformity and bravely face the world, no matter what the consequences.
Congratulations to all of our winning writers and all those who entered the 2019 Dulcie Stone Awards.
Entries will open soon for the 2020 Award. Keep your eyes on the VALID website for details. The theme for next year has been chosen – “A Good Life…Are We There Yet?”
So you are welcome to start writing now! We look forward to reading your work.