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Debut author makes big picture issues real

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By Ellen Hill for Sue Liu

Humanitarian efforts in far flung locations, terrible natural disasters and appalling acts of terrorism become believably real through Sydney author Sue Liu’s debut work Accidental Aid Worker.

The independently published book is a travel memoir of a courageous woman on a quest to find love and places to belong.

Readers will feel an immediate emotional commitment to Liu as they travel along this literary journey through an overwhelming series of experiences encompassing the entire gamut of human sensations – love and loss, encouragement and disillusionment, achievement and adversity.

More than 150 copies have already been sold and distributed internationally.

The book was launched on November 1 at a soiree attended by Dr Rabbi Dovid Slavin, who runs Bondi’s Our Big Kitchen and Inside Out author Greg Fisher, whose connection with Liu feature in the book.

Readers will learn how Liu stumbled into voluntary aid work in the wake of the 2004 tsunami during the civil war conflict in Sri Lanka. She teamed up with a tour guide, a Catholic priest and a community of refugees, beginning a 10-year obsession with helping people in need. Through tragic events, Liu meets the larger than life Geraldine Cox and spreads her generosity to help orphaned children in Cambodia.

Accidential Aid Worker author Sue Liu

Accidential Aid Worker author Sue Liu

Accidental Aid Worker is a moving and real-life account of one woman’s drive to survive and support others while masking battles of her own.  Along the way, Liu loses her grip on life and embarks on a harrowing journey through mid-life crisis, disconnection and chronic depression. She is forced to face inescapable truths about herself in order to navigate her way to the woman she really wants to be.

Liu shares her most vulnerable moments with warmth and bare honesty, alongside epic travel adventures and quirky tales involving; priests, nuns, a rabbi, terrorist attacks, natural disasters, a tuktuk accident, refugees, orphaned children, surgeries, fishing for marlin and at times, spontaneous singing and dancing with children.

Liu’s decade of volunteer community work began in 2004 when she galvanised her community of Sydney’s inner west, with more than 100 supporters following her journey back and forth trying to deliver the aid collected to refugees to the devastated people in the town of Trincomalee in the north east of Sri Lanka.

“Back in 2005, I was overwhelmed by the groundswell of support I received from friends and people in my own community in particular who just wanted to contribute in a tangible way to my collection and help people in crisis. It became an addiction to being a humanitarian, I couldn’t stop,’’ she says.

Accidental Aid Worker is also Liu’s very open struggle with grief, loss and isolation. She recounts multiple losses in her family, struggles with being a single, self employed woman and suffering burn-out, depression and the mid-life zone of her 40s.

However, Accidental Aid Worker is also about Liu’s commitment to survive, give hope to others facing adversity and reconnect with her life and purpose, which includes devoting herself to community.

“I believe life is a series of next steps and pieces of a puzzle and I certainly have had a full, interesting and quirky life. I couldn’t keep these stories to myself anymore and part of my healing was writing and producing this book. I think my struggles will really resonate with a lot of people. There are plenty places to laugh with and at me, and plenty of times to commiserate.

“I recommend reading with tissues and a glass of wine.’’

This heartwarming and thought-provoking story will make you laugh, bring you to tears, inspire a thirst for travel, a yearning to give back and pause for thought about what really makes us all tick.

The limited edition memento paperback of Accidental Aid Worker features a special memento double cover is available for $35.00 plus postage along with an ebook at

As well as being a great stocking filler, purchasing the book will help communities with $5 per book sold before Christmas donated to a charity supporting Sydney’s homeless and disadvantaged. The purchaser can choose between OBK, The Wayside Chapel, Lou’s Place and Gethsemane Community.

Go to for more information about this self-published book, author Sue Liu to access photo galleries, news clippings and the shop.

Books are also on sale at Hill of Content at Balmain and Gleebooks at Glebe, Dulwich Hill and Blackheath in the Blue Mountains as well as online through Ibooks, Amazon, Goodreads and Smashwords.

  1. Sue Liu is a commercial client of Deep Hill Media and Headline Publicity

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Norman Lindsay Gallery, Faulconbridge.

Mountain biking on the Oaks track between Glenbrook and Woodford.

The old Lucasville Station platform and stairs on the Lapstone Zig Zag track.

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