Shirley is best known for her work as a screen-writer and director. Shirley’s first film, Love Serenade, won the Camera D’Or (Best First Feature) at Cannes Film Festival in 1996. The script for her most recent film South Solitary won the Queensland Premier’s Prize (script) 2010, the West Australian Premier’s Literary Prize (script) 2010, and the West Australian Premier’s Prize 2010. It was also nominated for the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards. Shirley continues to work extensively as a director in television and TVC's.