RUDI STIEBRITZ was born 22.3.1923 in Jena, Germany, the youngest child in a family of six girls and three boys. After graduating as a structural engineer (1942), Rudi was conscripted immediately to fight with the German forces on the Russian front.
The inhumanity of the war, and his subsequent years as a Russian POW had aprofound effect on this author's philosophy of life and led to his Buddhist persuasion.
After repatriation, Rudi found life intolerable in East Germany under the communist regime, and applied to emigrate to Australia. Accepted, he and his wife arrived there in 1955, only to find that his engineering qualifications were not recognised in his new country. Undeterred, he took up bricklaying, and later worked in architects' offices in Adelaide, Gold Coast and Sydney.
A car accident in 1963 severely impaired his vision so the Stiebritzes bought a dairy farm near Beaudesert which they worked successfully for some years. In 1969 they turned to buying, restoring and reselling old homes, and in 1975 Rudi undertook a woodworking course for the blind, creating artefacts which, by wearing two pairs of spectacles one over the other on the good eye, he managed to decorate with folk art motifs. Using this 'double glasses' technique for the good eye,he also manages word processing successfully.The folk art led him to painting, and in the past decade he has had works included in several exhibitions.
He undertook a creative writing course with Access Arts in 1996; his course tutor became his collaborator on his war memoirs Pawn of War. Recently Rudi has had multiple heart bypass surgery but still finds the time and energy to supervise a sheltered workshop for SWARA; to undertake tertiary course in Sanscrit; and to prepare a dictionary of Sanscrit terms that apply to Buddhist teachings.
Rudy's Collaborator - Jay McKee
Jay McKee has been an active writer, teacher, and theatre practitioner for over 35 years. His skills embrace: writing for theatre and TV, dramaturgy, song lyrics, comedy sketches, poetry, newspaper and magazine articles, PR, short stories, editing, and tutor/facilitator of courses in theatre techniques and creative writing for both adults and school students, as well as for the disabled.
Jay has had work published in England, Switzerland and Germany as well as Australia. He was a member of the Wordfest Board 1990-4, President of Playlab Inc. 1988-92, PR person for International P.E.N. (Australia North) 1998-9, and is currently in his third term of office as Vice President of the Queensland branch of Fellowship of Australian Writers. He has conducted courses in theatre techniques for TAFE and for Queensland Arts Council, and his creative writing tutorials for FAWQ and for USQ's Summer and Winter Schools attract a large following.