Writing prize to honour Kath O’Connor

Lucy Mayes, Hush Foundation Engagement Manager and author, Professor Catherine Crock, Hush Foundation Founder and CEO and Arts Leader Elaine Chia.
Lucy Mayes, Hush Foundation Engagement Manager and author, Professor Catherine Crock, Hush Foundation Founder and CEO and Arts Leader Elaine Chia.

Who amongst us hasn’t been touched by an act of kindness in healthcare? In some instances, a kind word, smile or act of thoughtfulness can mean almost as much as the treatment when we find ourselves in positions of vulnerability. Kindness can mean a lot also to the staff delivering the care in often stressful conditions. The Hush Foundation is inviting people to get creative this summer by sharing stories of kindness in healthcare.
Hush, whose mission is to transform healthcare cultures with kindness and the arts, is delighted to launch its inaugural Kindness in Healthcare Writing Prize, in memory of the late author and doctor Kath O’Connor. Kath was a General Practitioner in Central Victoria and had just finished the second draft of her beautifully crafted novel, Inheritance (Affirm Press, 2023) when she died of Ovarian Cancer in 2019 at the age of 48. Kath’s colleagues at Goldfields Medical Group in Castlemaine wanted to honour her memory, her love of writing and her ethos of kindness in both her professional and personal life. They reached out to the Hush Foundation offering generous prize money, and seeking the organisation’s support to host a writing prize in Kath’s memory.
Entries are invited from anyone who has worked or received care in our health and aged and other care systems – including patients, clients, families and staff. Entries of up to 1000 words must respond to the theme: “kindness in healthcare,” may be of fiction, non-fiction or poetry and must be original, unpublished works.
The winning entry will receive a cash prize of $650, with the second prize being $350.
A selection of the best entries will be published in the Hush Foundation’s Kindness Anthology #2 and shared with healthcare audiences around the world. Entries will be judged by Ruby Ashby-Orr, Commissioning Editor Affirm Press (Kath’s publishers), by a known Australian author (TBC), and by Author-GP-writing mentor Dr Hilton Koppe. Judge, author GP and writing mentor Dr Hilton Koppe has generously donated an online writing workshop to which the top 10 short-listed writers will be invited.
The Hush Foundation has a 20-year history of transforming healthcare cultures through the Arts. The organisation, led by Founder and CEO, paediatric physician Professor Catherine Crock AM, has commissioned and produced 21 albums of original Australian music by some of Australia’s leading composers and musicians, composed specially for health and care environments to reduce stress. Hush has also commissioned and produced three original theatre plays for education using true patient and staff stories, two books and a series of annual workshops, events and creative learning resources known as the Gatherings of Kindness. The Foundation is a small charity with national and international following, whose work aims to highlight issues in healthcare cultures and support positive behaviour change, which in turn supports enhanced staff wellbeing, quality and safety, and improved patient experiences and outcomes.
“Kindness does three vital things. Kindness makes best use of your team, kindness brings the safest environment and kindness creates unexpected wonderful moments of joy,” says Professor Crock.
For more information including competition guidelines, see: www.hush.org.au/hush- writers-prize-2024 or e-mail info@hush.org.au. Entries close March 31, 2024.

Castlemaine Mail
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