Dorothy P E Shaw

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Background and History

Dorothy Evelyn Shaw was an inspiring Deaf lady who advocated for the development of Deaf and Hard of Hearing children’s literacy and literary skills.

After many years of dedication, Dorothy was awarded the prestigious Order of Australia Medal in 1989.

When Dorothy died in 1990, donations in lieu of flowers for her funeral were passed on to Deafness Resources Australia (DRA). After such a generous gesture, the Board of DRA decided to establish a short story writing competition for young Deaf people, in memory of Dorothy Evelyn Shaw.

The Dorothy Shaw Young Writers Competition (DSYWC) was managed by DRA until its merger with Deaflink Inc in May 1995. This resulted in the formation of Australian Communication Exchange Limited (ACE). ACE then managed the competition.

In 2006, ACE transferred ownership of the DSYWC to Deaf Australia (formerly known as the Australian Association of the Deaf (AAD)) so that it remains true to its heritage and purpose. As well as being involved in the establishment of DRA, Dorothy Shaw was also Deaf Australia-AAD’s founding President.


Dot Shaw Young Writers Competition

  • To encourage Deaf and Hard of Hearing young people to express themselves creatively through writing and story telling
  • To promote the development of literacy and literary skills among Deaf and Hard of Hearing young people.
Information Pack

How can you participate DSYWC 2024?

Auslan video coming soon

The writing competition is in memory of Dorothy Evelyn Shaw, whose advocacy for deaf children to have equitable access to learning literacy is legendary. She is a source of inspiration for many and contributed significantly to the Deaf Community, not least her final request that donations be made in lieu of flowers to Deaf Resources Australia (DRA). DRA decided to establish this writing competition as a tribute to her memory. Since its inception in 1992, the response to this competition has been very popular.  

All entrants are issued with a certificate of recognition and winners receive money prizes.

The Dot Shaw Young Writers’ Competition Theme Prompts for 2024 is:  

Surprise! Your choice from one of two prompts.  

  • Imagine you’re a deaf person playing in the park, and guess what? You find a shiny gold envelope! What do you think happens next in this exciting adventure?  
  • Wow! One day, you become the very first Deaf Prime Minister of Australia. What awesome things would you want to do after getting this super cool job?

Deadline for entries: 18 October 2024 at 11.59pm AEST 

Types of creative writing:  

  • Short story (fiction or non-fiction) 
  • Comic 
  • Picture story 
  • Poetry

Entry Fee:  

Entry in the Dot Shaw Young Writers Competition is free of charge. 

Eligibility of the Writer:  

The writer must be:  

  • Deaf, deafblind or hard of hearing Australian citizen or resident 
  • Enrolled as a primary or secondary school student or home schooled.

General Eligibility Information: 

  • Works entered must follow the theme, prompts and content suitable for a readership for each division group.  
  • Writers can only submit one story entry. 
  • Joint/Co-authored entries is not accepted. 
  • All stories must be the work of the writer/s and presented in a finished manner and proof-read where reasonable it is.  
  • Giving of ideas, story structure and final assistance with proofing can be provided by a parent or a teacher.  
  • The work must be in English.  
  • Winners’ entries will be shown on the Deaf Australia’s website.


The competition is broken down into five divisions:

  • Prep / Kindy 
  • Primary (Year 1 – Year 3) 
  • Upper Primary (Year 4 – Year 6)
  • Secondary (Year 7 – Year 9)
  • Upper Secondary (Year 10 – Year 12)

*Please note: Deaf Australia reserves the right to request verification from any contestant to determine their eligibility.

Judging Criteria: 

  • Judges will assess the quality of entries based on: 
  • style and language 
  • creativity and originality 
  • story line and plot 
  • structure 
  • character development (as appropriate) 
  • cohesiveness 
  • Judges will take into account the age of the entrant. 
  • Judges will not assess the stories based on your English and its structure, grammar etc.  

Terms and Conditions

  • Entry is free
  • One entry per student.
  • The story needs to be entry's work with a clear beginning, middle and end.
  • The story must be original and imaginative.
  • The story is limited to 1000 words.
  • The official entry form must be filled in completely for each entry.
  • Entries will not be returned.
  • Late entries will not be accepted.
  • No responsibility will be accepted for late or lost entries.
  • The judging panel’s decision will be final.
  • Winners will receive an invitation to the virtual awards ceremony during Deaf Australia’s AGM.
  • Winner’s stories will be published on Deaf Australia’s website, newsletter and social media platforms (Only first name and year level of student will be used).

Teacher’s Guide Pack

Before downloading the Teacher Guide Pack for the DSYWC, please take a moment to review the following outline, which provides a comprehensive overview of the contents. This guide is designed to support teachers in preparing their students for the competition, offering valuable tips, techniques, and resources to enhance their writing skills. With this guide, you can empower your students to unleash their creativity and produce exceptional pieces of writing that showcase their unique voice and talent.


Coming Soon

Featured video

Stories from Dot Shaw’s children

Recorded webinar

Creative Writing Workshop with Kerrie Taylor

Discover inspiration and delight in the exceptional stories of our previous competition winners, offering a glimpse into their imaginative prowess and providing a source of enjoyment for all who read them. See the links below to immerse yourself in their remarkable works and experience the power of their storytelling.

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