Mosman biographer Gabriella Kelly-Davies last night won the coveted Allen and Unwin Faber Writing Academy scholarship to study ‘Writing True Stories’ with Patti Miller, an award-winning life story writer and educator. During the course Gabriella will be developing her manuscript of the biography of Emeritus Professor Michael J. Cousins AO, one of the world’s leading pain medicine researchers, clinicians, educators and advocates. In 1990 Professor Cousins founded the Pain Management Research Centre at Royal North Shore Hospital, which is recognised internationally as a centre of excellence for pain research and treatment.
Gabriella, who has written memoirs for several Mosman residents, says she feels honoured to have won the scholarship. ‘As a writer I am always looking to enhance my writing and Patti Miller is such an accomplished teacher that I’m confident she will help me to write a compelling biography of Professor Michael Cousins that captures his driving passion for improving the management of pain.
‘In the late 1960s and 1970s Professor Cousins was inspired to devote his life to improving pain medicine by three exceptional pain medicine pioneers who revolutionised pain research and clinical care.
‘My overwhelming goal is for Michael Cousins’ biography to inspire the next generation of researchers, clinicians and educators to dedicate their life to scientific discovery and the pursuit of better ways of preventing and treating illness, particularly chronic pain.
‘I am also eager to share with people living with chronic pain the latest approaches to pain management that do not involve addictive drugs such as opioids.
‘Professor Cousins’ vision for a national approach to interdisciplinary pain management and the systems and processes he and his colleagues put in place to realise this vision are having ripple effects across the nation. The system-wide changes he drove through the National Pain Strategy, Painaustralia and the NSW Pain Management Plan are improving the way pain is funded and managed.
‘There is still a long way to go, but Professor Cousins’ relentless advocacy has raised the priority given to pain management within Australia’s political circles and the health system.
‘Through setting up and leading the pain centre at Royal North Shore Hospital, Professor Cousins and the teams of clinicians and researchers at the Pain Management Research Centre demonstrated the benefits of interdisciplinary pain management. The research at this centre was ground-breaking, profoundly influencing the management of acute, chronic and cancer pain and providing the evidence required to support Professor Cousins’ advocacy for more funding for research and specialist pain services.
‘Michael Cousins’ colleagues speak of his forward-thinking ability and phenomenal driving energy. Several colleagues said he was a ‘force of nature’ and an inspirational leader who would clearly and passionately articulate his vision, bringing them along with him to achieve that vision.
‘With vigorous support from many colleagues over the last four decades, Professor Michael Cousins has been able to advance the way pain is prevented and treated and has put in place systems that will benefit people living with pain now and into the future.
‘I’m fervently hoping that Patti Miller’s course at the Faber Writing Academy in Crows Nest will help me to inject vivid detail and realism into my descriptions of Michael Cousins’ life and work that will captivate readers and keep them reading to the last page,’ she added.
About Gabriella Kelly-Davies
Gabriella is a Mosman-based biographer and the founder of Share your life story. Gabriella has written the life stories of businesspeople, medical specialists, surgeons, musicians, journalists and multi-generational families who have lived in the same home for over a century.
She has studied creative writing, creative nonfiction, narrative nonfiction and feature writing at Sydney University, the University of New South Wales and the University of Technology (Sydney) and life story writing through Oxford University, the Australian Writers’ Centre, NSW Writing and the Writers’ Studio.
She is currently writing the biography of Emeritus Professor Michael J. Cousins AO, one of the world’s leading pain medicine researchers, clinicians, educators and advocates.
More information: www.shareyourlifestory.com.au