Book Review: Resistance and Hope, Edited by Alice Wong

By Belo Cipriani

Book cover image for Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled people, edited by Alice Wong. The cover features a variety of colorful, psychedelic-looking mushrooms bursting out of a log, with a dark blue, star-filled sky in the background.

Some books become classics because they bring to the forefront new ideas, while others are imprinted in our consciousness because they shine light on a little known world.

Resistance and Hope: Essays by Disabled People, edited by Alice Wong, is one of those rare anthologies that both highlights new ways of examining disability, as well as raises the profile of the disability community. Wong, a San Francisco-based disability rights activist and journalist, has gathered 16 essays from some of the leading voices in disability advocacy, to shed some light onto disability issues in the Trump era. Continue reading “Book Review: Resistance and Hope, Edited by Alice Wong”

Expanding Bipolar Visibility in Fiction

By Belo Cipriani

A black-and-white photo of author Susan St. John, on a sepia-toned backdrop. She's wearing a t-shirt and a baseball cap, gazing into the distance.

Bipolar disorder is one of the most studied neurological conditions today. According to the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH), it roughly affects 4.5 percent of adults in the United States. But while bipolar disorder impacts many people, when it comes to accurate representation in literary works, there is still a need for more books that capture the bipolar experience.

In recent years, there have been some great Continue reading “Expanding Bipolar Visibility in Fiction”

Disability Literature: The Rise of D Lit in Publishing

By Belo Cipriani

Four rows of colorful books neatly arranged in a bookcase.

On a chilly November afternoon in 2008, I tapped my white cane down Shattuck Avenue in Berkeley, California and entered Pegasus Books. At that time, I had only been blind for a year, and often found a lot of my questions about disability answered by disability stories.

A charismatic woman greeted me, and I explained I was looking for books written by people with disabilities. “You want Crip Lit,” she said, helping me walk to another section of the store. Continue reading “Disability Literature: The Rise of D Lit in Publishing”

3-Step Reading Comprehension Guide to Reading Like a Writer

By Julie Webb

A photo of a man holding a pair of glasses, thoughtfully looking at an open book in his lap.

Many people sound like strong readers because they read accurately and with good expression. Yet when asked to discuss and interpret what they read, these readers aren’t sure where to begin. Their inner thoughts churn, they pause, and panic sets in. They ask themselves, what did I just read? What was the text about? Why can’t I remember?

The difficulties these readers face can go Continue reading “3-Step Reading Comprehension Guide to Reading Like a Writer”

Meet Author Andrew Gurza: Shining a Bright Light on Sex and Disability

By Caitlin Hernandez

Oleb Books author Andrew Gurza is sitting in his wheelchair, wearing a grey dress shirt, smiling at the camera.

Oleb Books author Andrew Gurza, a self-identified “queer cripple,” not only writes, speaks, and tweets about his experiences, but also hosts a podcast about disability and has become well-known for his ability to spread awareness about the intersection between the queer and disabled communities.

Having earned his masters degree in legal studies from Carleton University in 2013, Gurza, who has cerebral palsy, switched from writing stories and imitative newspaper articles as a child to writing about his experiences as a man who is both queer and disabled. Continue reading “Meet Author Andrew Gurza: Shining a Bright Light on Sex and Disability”

Tips for Writing with a Brain-Related Disability

By Nigel David Kelly

A smartphone, keyboard and notepads and pens, and a set of Apple earbuds are fanned out on a white surface.

A very wise and famous man once wrote a note to a friend: “The man who looks at the world the same way at sixty, as he did at thirty, has wasted thirty years of his life.” That man was Muhammad Ali.

Now I am not 60 yet, though not that far off, but I now look at the world in a very different way than I did 30 years ago. I’d like to say this is due to some epiphany of my own volition, but no, it was forced on me.

Five years ago, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It is probably best I didn’t know then how much this would change my life. Continue reading “Tips for Writing with a Brain-Related Disability”

Meet Attorney and Award-Winning Writer Heidi Johnson-Wright

by David-Elijah Nahmod

Photo of author Heidi Johnson-Wright, wearing a red, short-sleeved top, a colorful scarf and hoop earrings. She's sitting in a wheelchair, smiling.

Heidi Johnson-Wright, author of the leading story in the collection Firsts: Coming Of Age Stories By People With Disabilities, has lived with the complicated effects of rheumatoid arthritis since around the age of 9. The condition made it necessary for her to use a wheelchair and curtailed her ability to perform simple, everyday tasks. When she began college in the 1980s, she needed a caregiver to help her dress and get to class on time. Johnson-Wright quietly accepted her situation, excelling in her studies. She even had a boyfriend. Continue reading “Meet Attorney and Award-Winning Writer Heidi Johnson-Wright”

Meet Author Nigel David Kelly: The Belfast Champion

by Christina Pires

A black and white profile photo of Oleb Books author Nigel David Kelly, a man in his mid-50s with a full, well-trimmed beard.

Before his mid-40s, Oleb Books author Nigel David Kelly — a contributor to Firsts: Coming of Age Stories by People with Disabilities lived by the old Greek saying, “A healthy mind, a healthy body.” Born in Belfast, Ireland, Nigel was a National Champion powerlifter and took pride in maintaining his physical health. He also enjoyed engaging and maintaining a healthy mind, which is why, in 1987, he began his college undergrad studies in computer programming. When asked if that field of study was his first choice, Nigel replied, “I sat a college aptitude test, which showed a high level of analytical ability. This suggested computers, which I’d never touched. I lapped it up, studying for the next 14 years.” Continue reading “Meet Author Nigel David Kelly: The Belfast Champion”

Why a Blind Man Started a Publishing House

A closeup of an open book with fanned pages, on a warm, amber-colored backdrop, featuring the logo for Oleb Books.

I learned to be a writer by being around other writers. Through workshops offered through the San Francisco literary nonprofit Litquake, Meetup.com, and Craigslist, I met other people who had stories to tell and, like myself, were eager to pen their first book. It was at one of those early writing classes that I learned about graduate writing programs, and decided to make the two-year commitment to being a full-time student.

In grad school, I learned how to take in criticism, as well as to write under deadlines. I also discovered I do my best writing in the morning and that poetry does not come to me as easy as prose. Continue reading “Why a Blind Man Started a Publishing House”