Gabriella Kelly-Davies

Head shot of author, Gabriella Kelly-Davies.
Author of Breaking Through the Pain Barrier, Gabriella Kelly-Davies.

Gabriella Kelly-Davies came to Hawkeye’s attention when she long-listed in the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Prize in 2019. After actioning feedback provided by judges, and with the help of an editor, she entered the Hawkeye Publishing Manuscript Prize again in 2020 and this time short-listed, going on to place third. Those competition credits in addition to the profound impact her biography subject has had on many people, resulted in Gabriella being offered a traditional publishing contract in 2021.

Biographer Gabriella Kelly-Davies has been writing stories ever since she mastered the alphabet—now that passion has seen her win three writing prizes. Gabriella has studied life writing at Oxford University, Sydney University and the Australian National University and she is a doctoral student in biography. She is the founder of Share your life story and has written over thirty self-published memoirs, life stories and family histories for her clients. Gabriella is President of Life Stories Australia Association and believes the art of biographical storytelling is a particular writing genre—it’s not fiction, but it requires the weaving of someone’s life story into a form that compels readers to keep turning the pages to find out what happens next.  

‘I’m passionate about storytelling and helping people share their story,’ Gabriella said. ‘Life writing is a powerful way of communicating what you stand for, the lessons you’ve learned in life, the exciting journeys you’ve embarked upon, and the knowledge you’ve gained through life’s ups and downs. From an early age, my dad took me to the local library every week to borrow biographies of musicians, writers, artists and political leaders. I love getting to know fascinating and inspiring people through their life stories—what it’s like to be them living their life; their motivations, experiences, relationships, passions and struggles. It’s a great privilege to read someone’s biography and an even greater privilege to write them.’ 

Breaking Through the Pain Barrier is available from all good bookstores, libraries, or directly from Hawkeye Books.

Author Q & A:


Writing and reading biographies and fiction and going to early music, jazz, and writers’ festivals.  

Favourite books

I have dozens of favourites, especially biographies of the Bloomsbury Group members, musicians, writers and artists. At the moment I’m enthralled by Hermione Lee’s biographies of Virginia Woolf, Edith Wharton, and Tom Stoppard as well as her books on the art and craft of life writing.

What drives you to write?

I live to write and have lived and breathed storytelling all my life, both as a career and a hobby. Everyone has a story to tell and I’m happiest sitting at my computer crafting these stories.  

Would you like readers to contact you?

Yes, absolutely! I love talking about biographies and sharing tips on life story writing. The best way to contact me is through the Hawkeye contact page. And please follow Hawkeye Books Facebook, or Hawkeye Publishing Instagram to keep informed about my appearances.


Life in Biography podcast – Interview with Gabriella Kelly Davies here.

Between The Covers Podcast – Listen to this great interview with Hawkeye author Gabriella Kelly Davies here.

A Tribute to a Trailblazing Australian Pain Management Prioneer, Painaustralia.

Launch of the biography of Painaustralia’s Founder Dr Michael J. Cousins, Painaustralia.

Spending Time in Nature Can Reduce Chronic Pain, Pain New Network.

Why Covid infections leave some patients in chronic pain, Pain News Network.

A Promising Stem Cell Therapy for Back Pain, Pain News Network.

Turning From Victim to Victor After Being Electrocuted, Pain News Network.

News Flash:

Video recording: How does one write the biography of a living scientist? Gabriella Kelly-Davies and the choices she made while writing Breaking Through the Pain Barrier: The extraordinary life of Dr Michael J. Cousins.

News Flash:

narrative choices in biography
Talk given at the state library of new South wales

Video Interview: Biographer Gabriella Kelly-Davies with Raphaella Kathryn Crosby, Migrane Australia.

Radio Interview: Gabriella Kelly-Davis with Chris Zinn, Eastside FM

Video recording – Launch of Breaking Through the Pain Barrier: The extraordinary life of Dr Michael J. Cousins. Meet Dr Cousins, the author, Gabriella Kelly-Davies, as well as Dr Cousins’ professional colleagues, friends and family. This is a 1-hour YouTube video.

Why Pain Is Not ‘All in Your Head’, Pain News Network

My Migraine Journey: From Electrodes to Cannabis, Pain News Network

Pain Desensitization: How to Overcome Your Fear of Chronic Pain, Pain News Network

A new advanced treatment for back pain, American Chiropractic Centre

‘I struggled with the stigma of crippling daily migraines’,

A new advanced treatment for back pain,

Celebrating a Truly Inspirational Pain Medicine Pioneer, Retail Pharmacy Magazine.

A new advanced treatment for back pain,

Celebrating a truly inspirational pain medicine pioneer, Retail Pharmacy Assistants Magazine.

National Pain Week 2021 works to combat isolation of chronic pain, Bendigo Advertiser.

Mover of Mountains, Wentworth Courier

Mosman Writer Publishes Biography of Trailblazing Pain Medicine Pioneer, Mosman Living.

Biography Celebrating Inspirational Pain Medicine Pioneer Dr Michael J Cousins AO By Gabriella Kelly-Davies, Pittwater Online News.

A Q&A with Pittwater Life Magazine, Pittwater Online News.

Thank you Peninsula Living for profiling my biography,Share Your Story’, Peninsula Living.

The stigma of chronic pain, Share your life story, Body & Soul Magazine.

Breaking Through The Pain Barrier,

The painting that captures the social isolation of chronic pain,

Honouring a truly inspiring pain medicine pioneer,

Member Book Releases, The Society of Women Writers NSW.

Gabriella Kelly-Davies becomes a published biographer with debut book ‘Breaking Through the Pain Barrier’, Australian Writers’ Centre

Support our creators affected by lockdown, Australian Society of Authors.

Are you a keen writer? Read this great article in Mosman Living by Gabriella. Ask an Expert: Top 7 Memoir Writing Tips.

Peninsula Living Magazine

21 comments to “Gabriella Kelly-Davies”

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  1. Lori - July 27, 2021 Reply

    Thank you for your endless dedication to the quest for pain management in Australia, endless gratitude to the Cousins family and Pain Australia, my question is about the community repercussions for people who live with pain as a chronic condition. As an invisible yet debilitating condition there is still much ignorance within the Medical bureaucracy how can we as patients address this ? This has personal ramifications for patients and their supporters. Do we simply keep talking about Pain ?

    • GABRIELLA KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

      HI Lori

      You are right. The time for talking is now over. Now is time for action to improve the way pain is managed in Australia. In a radio interview Michael 10 years ago Michael said: ‘The time for talking is over. Now it is time to take action. We need federal and state governments to fund the National Strategic Action Plan on Pain that all health ministers around the country have endorsed. You can help by spending 20 minutes talking with your local member of parliament about the issues.

  2. Michael - July 27, 2021 Reply

    How much money did Michael’s innovation save the health costs incurred in New South Wales, with people getting back to work more rapidly after injury?

    • GABRIELLA KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

      HI Michael
      It wouldn’t be exaggerating to say millions of dollars. Deborah Schofield is doing an economic study of cost savings at the moment if you’d like to touch base with her.
      The human cost savings are inestimable in terms of the emotional and mental health savings.

  3. Alex and Di - July 27, 2021 Reply

    We have so much to thank you for Mike, sending all our love and congratulations to you both

  4. Anne - July 27, 2021 Reply

    Gabriella, how far were you into the book before you got a publisher interested?

    • GABRIELLA KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

      Hi Anne
      Thanks for your question.
      I was shortlisted for the Hawkeye Manuscript Development Prize and afterwards Hawkeye offered me a traditional publishing contract.
      I had finished the manuscript when I submitted it to Hawkeye’s competition.

  5. GABRIELLA Marie KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

    Michael was the most influential leader in the early years of our fellowship training at Stanford. We have now trained over 120 ACGME certified Pain Specialists and have the largest NIH funded pain research program in the USA.

    • GABRIELLA KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

      I loved writing the Stanford chapter. MIchael’s years there were pivotal in his career.

  6. Brenda - July 27, 2021 Reply

    This is Brenda Lau, RNSH pain fellow 2005-2008. We follow in your shoes as Canada established the Royal College sub specialty of Pain Medicine in 2013. On behalf of the many Canadian pain specialists who graduated with FFPM, we send you warm greetings, and much love to you and Michelle. Thank you to both of you for your pioneering efforts, your mentorship and your care to us as fellows.
    Your work continues to inspire our journey to improve whole person care, human dignity arid hope.

  7. Elizabeth - July 27, 2021 Reply

    A terrific achievement Ms Kelly-Davies! You could not have selected a more important subject or a more delightful man to focus on!

    • GABRIELLA Marie KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

      Thanks so much Elizabeth. I felt honoured that Michael Cousins allowed me to write his biography. For me it was a passion project, although it didn’t end up being a hagiography.

  8. Zoe - July 27, 2021 Reply

    Sending all my love to my grandfather, I’m so proud of his work and the tremendous compassion he always showed for his patients and family alike. He’s an inspiration to me and many others.

  9. Brian - July 27, 2021 Reply

    On behalf of Pain Foundation Limited, I wish Michael congratulations on the publication of this book on his life and work and to Gabriella on her authorship of the book.

  10. Michael N - July 27, 2021 Reply

    Michael was instrumental in establishing the Faculty of Pain Medicine, but I wonder if Gabriella might have discussed with him what his advice might be now on the next steps for the field in general with so many disciplines in addition to Medicine?

  11. Patti - July 27, 2021 Reply

    Congratulations Gabriella – well done, Patti Miller

    • GABRIELLA Marie KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

      Thanks so much Patti.
      You have inspired me so much through your books and teaching. Thank you so much for teaching me how to strengthen my narrative voice.

  12. Fiona and Michael N - July 27, 2021 Reply

    We’d like to congratulate Gabriella on the launch of her book and thank her for her tenacity in getting the book to this day. We also salute Michael’s extraordinary career, as well as the unique and enduring partnership with Michelle that is the bedrock on which it was founded.

    • GABRIELLA Marie KELLY-DAVIES - July 27, 2021 Reply

      Thanks so much Michael and Fiona. It was a privilege to write Michael’s biography. Thank you to both of you for allowing me to interview you about your experiences with Michael.

  13. Emma - July 27, 2021 Reply

    Thank you Gabriella for championing my real life Superhero!
    No words can express my gratitude for Prof Cousins coming into my life. Prof truly cared for me for 21 years at RNSH on Level 9C.
    He and his incredibly dedicated team changed my life and my family’s lives forever. I miss seeing h^ very much.
    Sending much love to Prof on this very special and well deserved day, and to dear Michele and his family for sharing Prof for so long with us. Take care!
    Fond regards,

    • GABRIELLA Marie KELLY-DAVIES - July 28, 2021 Reply

      HI Emma
      I agree with you. Prof Cousins and his team at RNSH changed my life. Their commitment and dedication to helping people living with pain inspired me to write Prof Cousins’ biography.


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