Current Members



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 with her Australian journalist husband, Peter, and their two sons. Turning her hand to painting and writing, initially as a hobby, after more than twenty years of calling Noosa home, that hobby has become a full-time occupation. Writing under the pseudonym of Rebecca S Mason, Sheila has been putting words together creatively for over thirty years. And whilst admitting that most of those words and ideas often stayed rattling around her brain, some did, eventually, make their way onto paper. Rebecca’s motto has to be, ‘you’re never too old’, and she’s proved that by writing scores of short stories, and working on her autobiography as well as her first novel, Shimla, set in England and India, which is now almost complete. Disobedient Tumbleweeds was Sheila's fifth published joint anthology with Noosa Writers. 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.


Maria Benson
Maria spent three years of her early childhood in Tripoli Libya before returning to her native Scotland. Four years later, in 1968, she immigrated with her family to Australia. By then, the family had grown to eight children. She attended Ballarat High School, but as another two siblings came along, she left school at fifteen to help contribute to the family. Her first job was at a newsagent in Ararat, where her love of books grew. ‘It doesn’t matter how much education one may have, there is a lot to learn from reading,’ is a favourite cliché that the self-professed non-educated woman lives by. Moving to Queensland’s Sunshine Coast in the 1980’s, Maria hadn’t considered writing until a friend mentioned that her dog always had a tale to tell her every time she visited. It prompted her to begin work on her first novel, which sadly, was put on the backburner due to work and raising a family. Years later, Maria joined Noosa Writers and began writing short stories, honing her craft with the help of fellow authors. The novel is now close to completion, with another two in progress. Maria’s short stories can be found in three anthologies she put together with Noosa Writers: When Pelicans turn Blue, Frozen in Time and Disobedient Tumbleweeds.


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. Since joining Noosa Writers Celia has turned her hand to adult fiction in conjunction with her poetry. She has published two anthologies with Noosa Writers, namely Frozen in Time and Disobedient Tumbleweeds.


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 company Fools Theatre and spent many years performing in arts festivals, schools, community celebrations 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 Nazi stolen art, titled The Provenance Diary. He now lives in Noosa, where he continues to write and explore new ideas in sound and theatre arts.
(David is currently on sabbatical)



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.


Sheila Hawdon
Sheila has more strings to her bow than a violin ensemble – actress, marriage counsellor, psychotherapist, children’s author, drama teacher, to name but a few. A recent member of Noosa Writers, she is now embarked on yet another enterprise to add to that list of achievements – as a novelist. Starting out in repertory theatres in the UK, she made it on to the West End stage, appearing in, among other hits, Feydeau’s Farce, Cat Among The Pigeons alongside Richard Briers, and The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie with Eleanor Bron. It was through their shared love of the theatre that she met her future husband, actor and playwright Robin Hawdon. After retiring from the theatre she taught acting at drama schools in London and Bristol before she and Robin, now joined by two daughters, relocated to Bath, where she trained first as a marriage counsellor and, later, as an analytical psychotherapist, running her own practice for twenty years. In her spare time she wrote a successful children’s book Handle with Care, whose success encouraged her to start writing seriously. Her first novel, On The Border, is about to be published under her Welsh name, Cari Davies. She is also part-way through two others. Sheila and Robin now divide their time – Covid permitting – between homes in Noosa, Bath and Provence.


Jan Hayes
Jan was raised in post war Burwood in Melbourne, Australia.Bruce Beresford’s “The Fringe Dwellers”inspiredto her begin writing, in grade six.She took a side-track via academic delinquency and became a clinical psychologist and art therapist with an unorthodox passion for narrative therapy. But her writingcalled her back. Her short story’, Murdering Arnold’, was published in an anthology entitled, ‘Just Alice’ by Stringy Bark publishers. Her first novellafocusses on the choices of adult welfare refugees and features an indigenous mother and daughter.She is also writing about her experiences having beenthree times diagnosed with different cancers.


Christine Davidson
Christine has a background in medicine and law. She retired to Queensland in 2018 after 35 years in Canberra where her writing was confined to riveting titles like The Carotid Body of the Rat and its Role in Erythropoiesis and The Assessment of Non-economic Loss.
Retirement liberated a long dormant passion for writing and she is now working on her first novel – a foray into speculative fiction. She also writes short stories and poetry.


Joy Arnold
Joy Arnold started writing as a high school student in New Zealand, and continued writing poems and short stories as a student teacher. Eventually, the joint pressures of teaching and raising children, put writing on the back burner. Meantime, she enjoyed an adventurous life with her husband and sons, jet boating up braided rivers into the magnificent Southern Alps, four-wheel driving in the family’s trusty Land Rover and camping and fishing for trout on the side of glacial lakes. In 1996, the family migrated to Australia and settled in Queensland. Before long, Darwin became a part-time home, and for the next few years, Joy and her husband travelled to the Northern Territory every dry season. There Joy worked first as a teacher, and later as an advisor to teachers with Autistic in their classes, and found her passion. Now retired, Joy has returned to her love of writing, and is enjoying the valuable wisdom of her fellow writing group members. .


Roger Kelly
Roger has found writing fiction to be a liberation after years as an academic veterinarian working on scientific papers, lecture notes and text-books. But, on retiring, he was liberated anyway, so the escapist urge subsided and the manuscript languished to the point that it began to smell bad.
Roger is now stalking the conclusion of his tale, although it is proving to be an elusive quarry.


Liz Miller
Liz was born and grew up in Melbourne, Australia. She pursued a career as a teacher and has worked in education for over thirty years. Liz has always been an enthusiastic writer but spent most of her life writing in the closet. However, as a passionate teacher of writing, she understood the necessity for all writers to have an audience. Bravely, she put her writing out into the wide world, and as a result published her first novel ‘No Freedom for the Heart’ in 2017. Liz has three adult children and one grandchild. She is lucky to live in Noosa, with her husband, for the winter months each year. A recent member of Noosa Writers, Liz is grateful to be part of this creative and supportive group where all members are encouraged to share and discuss their current projects. No closets permitted!


Margie Riley
Margie was born and happily raised on a farm in rural Wiltshire, in the UK. Then, unhappily, she attended boarding school. She emigrated to Australia a long time ago. She’s come to writing later than reading, which she's loved forever. She’s worked as a trainer, in recruitment and—for a complete change and to satisfy her social justice needs—the not-for-profit sector. A couple of her short stories have been published in Stringybark anthologies Behind the Wattles and No Tea Tomorrow, she’s working on The Novel and writes about her extended family and animals. She believes there's nothing like a good furry friend to help while away the hours. She also had a piece published in The Review (The Weekend Australian). Margie belongs to a local book club and is a proud founding member of another of forty-plus years’ standing—long before book clubs were a thing. She’s been married (to the same man) for years—they had two sons. She lives in small town in the Sunshine Coast hinterland of SE Queensland where she and her husband grow veggies, mind prolific citrus trees, and cultivate a few weeds. Their rescue dog, Jilly, keeps guard.


Peter Mason
Peter is an award-winning Anglo-Australian journalist, travel writer, author and adventurer. Born in Melbourne, he was taken out of school at age 15 by his journalist parents and dragged halfway around the world to Britain, where he finally managed to complete his education. After studying Journalism, Politics and English Literature at Canterbury College (now Kent University), he followed in his parents’ footsteps, embarking on a lifelong journey through every aspect of the media which took him from humble copy boy in London to Motoring Correspondent in South Africa to editor of a daily newspaper in Rhodesia. Back in London he joined the Daily Express, progressing through the ranks of reporter, features writer, columnist, and foreign correspondent. In 1987, he embarked on a second career and founded, together with his wife Sheila, the Aerial Display Company (ADCO), which went on to become the world’s foremost hot air balloon project management operation. In 1990-91 he organised, and led, two expeditions to the Himalayas which culminated in the first flight by hot air balloon over the summit of Mount Everest. He is a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a Freeman of the city of London.
(Peter is currently on sabbatical)