Disability in Literature

  1. Spotlighting Disabled Black Authors: Sophia Chester Debuts First Book, & Shares Her Plight As a Disabled Black Woman

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    For Black History Month, I decided to interview disabled Black author Sophia Chester.  You may remember Sophia’s name from last week’s post about disabled Black authors in literature.  Sophia is someone I met via Tumblr, and I stumbled upon her book, Cosmic Callisto Caprica & The Missing Rings Of Saturn, on my dashboard late last year.  Sophia was so excited that I “fangirled” about her book that I knew that I had to interview her for the RYV! blog.

    Sophia’s book is one of many I support because it has a strong Black female character lead, as well as disability representation within it.  In my eyes, Sophia knocked it out of the ballpark with the level of diversity that is present in her book.  I ardently believe in supporting disabled Black women who are trailblazing empowering paths, and Sophia fits that mold for me.  

    Sophia was gracious enough to take the time in allowing me to interview her for Black History Month, and to share HERstory with myself and my readers.  Her voice and body of work are greatly appreciated and needed, especially for those of us who aspire to become authors and writers.  

    Without further ado…

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  1. Disabled Black History: Shining A Light on Disabled Black Authors & Their Work

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    In continuing with the theme of Black History Month 2016 by shining a bright light on disabled Black authors, this week will focus on the literary works of disabled black trailblazers from the past and present, young and old.

    Searching for literature written by and/or share the stories of disabled Black people can be a needle in a haystack situation:  these bodies of work are not easily found, but when discovered, opens the door to voices and tales that may resonate deeply within the soul of the seeker.  Disability in literature is gravely underrepresented in general; when you add race into the mix, it gets even dimmer regarding visibility.  Spotlighting the diverse experiences within the disabled community is essential for us to fully understand various perspectives and ideas that broadens our view of the world and the people in it.  

    Compiling this list of disabled Black authors was an incredibly affirmative challenge because it displays the creativity and gumption these authors had in writing stories they felt were worthy of being written and read.  Their works are as diverse as them:  fiction, academia, memoirs, and self-help/advice.  For each author (listed in no particular order), provided are their disabilities, book title, book summary, and links to where you can buy and/or learn more about them.  

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  1. Little Known Black History Fact: Elizabeth Suggs, Early 20th Century Author with Brittle Bones Disorder

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    For Black History Month 2016, I will be featuring disabled Black authors who have written trailblazing and powerful pieces of literature about their plights that resonates with those of us who understand their stories and experiences.  An author that came on my radar last month was Elizabeth “Eliza” Gertrude Suggs; Eliza’s life fascinated me on many levels, especially when I realized that she had the same disability as myself.  Her story is one that I believe is worth spotlighting since the lives of disabled Black women from the late 19th, early 20th centuries are hardly covered in our history books.  

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  1. Spotlighting the Disability Representation Within the 2016 Diverse Reads Book Challenge!

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    The new year sparks new challenges we make plans to start and conquer, and one of the challenges that I aim to complete is a book challenge.  As an avid reader, I have noticed that I do not make as much time for reading as I should, and I want to change that in 2016.  The hardest decision for any bibliophile to make is selecting the right book that will expand your worldview, and pique your literary hunger at the same time.

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  1. The Official Release of Doll Hospital Journal: Issue Two!

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    Cover design for Issue Two!

    As someone who is always looking for literature that shares the resounding truth about the disabled experience, I was elated to find a published body of work that was created by disabled people for disabled people.  Doll Hospital Journal (DHJ) is an intersectional art and print journal on mental health that was created by my dear friend Bethany Lamont.  Bethany wanted a mental health zine that would allow the voices of those who are marginalized to be heard.  Beth (as I call her) is one of the sweetest people I have met on my advocacy journey; her personality is infectious, and she is so caring and thoughtful.  I have enjoyed getting to know her this year, and be a part of this new issue of Doll Hospital Journal.  

    Issue Two was released digitally on Friday, December 4th, and I have been diving into it over the weekend.  I did not get a chance to read the first issue of DHJ, but if it is any bit of empowering, eye-opening, and beautifully curated as this one, then I definitely have to get my hands on a copy immediately.  

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  1. “Because I Am Loved”: Children’s Book Author B. Keith Fulton Shares New Book About His Disabled Sister Shauna

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    In October, I was contacted by renowned writer and illustrator Jerry Craft about a children’s book he illustrated, Shauna, that featured a disabled girl of color protagonist. Being that I had put out a call to spotlight more diversity within children’s books, particularly those with disabled people of color characters and/or written by disabled or able-bodied authors of color, I was elated to learn about this new book.  Jerry connected me with the book’s author, B. Keith Fulton, and B. Keith and I did a phone interview towards the end of that month.

    I wanted to share the interview I conducted with B. Keith about his vision for the book, why it meant so much to him to share his sister’s, Shauna, story with the world in this capacity, and how authoring a book with such a powerful message impacted him.

    Without further ado, B. Keith Fulton ramps his voice about Shauna:

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  1. Discovering Disabled Characters in Literature – A Call For Action

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    The question for today:  Where are all the disabled characters in literature?  Diversity and representation in literature has been a hot topic over the past couple of years with online campaigns aiming to create dialogue about this issue, and what can be done to support books and authors that go unread and unnoticed by us readers.

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  1. Harper Makes Her Debut In Archie Comics Issue 656!

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    Archie Comics Issue 656 Cover

    Last Wednesday, June 18th, the anticipated issue of Archie Comics featuring a new character that is a wheelchair user finally hit comic book stores.  Harper, the cousin to the diva socialite Veronica Lodge, made her debut, and boy, are those within the disability and comic book communities buzzing about it.  Harper, from various news articles published about her arrival, is described as a “spunky fashionista” with an incredible “dynamic personality.”  The idea behind Harper’s creation in the series stemmed from a conversation between Archie Comics writer and artist Dan Parent, and Archie fan Jewel Kats, a children’s book author who has a disability.  (I spotlighted Kats’ book, Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair, in a previous article on the RYV! blog.)  It is truly amazing that a conversation sparked an incredible idea, which birthed an empowering character.

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  1. Spotlighting the Romance Novel Series “Wheels of Steel” by Pepper Pace

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    Wheels of Steel cover

    As an avid reader, I have been on the journey to find incredible books that discuss the disability experience in a positive, empowering manner.  Finding such books is why I am starting the “Disability in Literature” series on Ramp Your Voice!  This week, I want to share with you an amazing romance novel series by an incredible author of color who made it her duty to create books that featured disabled characters, and in effect, shatter stereotypes about the disability experience.

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