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Disability Visibility Book Circle

Graphic with a border with various circles of refracted light in pastel yellow, green, blue, and pink. In the center, black text that reads: Disability Visibility Book Circle Kay Ulanday Barrett • Ellen Chang • torrin greathouse Porochista Khakpour • Robert Kingett Raymond Luczak • J. Albert Mann • Amber McDowell Lateef McLeod • John Poehler • H. M. PSYCHOSOCIAL Sejal Shah • Maxfield Sparrow
Graphic with a border with various circles of refracted light in pastel yellow, green, blue, and pink. In the center, black text that reads: Disability Visibility Book Circle Kay Ulanday Barrett • Ellen Chang • torrin greathouse Porochista Khakpour • Robert Kingett
Raymond Luczak • J. Albert Mann • Amber McDowell Lateef McLeod • John Poehler • H. M. PSYCHOSOCIAL Sejal Shah • Maxfield Sparrow

Disability Visibility Book Circle 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has changed everyone’s lives. It is a privilege to have a book published and yet the pressure to promote can be incredibly difficult and inaccessible for many disabled writers at the best of times but especially now.

With book tours and launches delayed or postponed, the Disability Visibility Book Circle gave one-time grants of $1000 for 13 disabled writers in the US who already have books published this year or plan to have books published in 2020 through June 30, 2021: 

  • Kay Ulanday Barrett
  • Ellen Chang
  • torrin greathouse
  • Porochista Khakpour
  • Robert Kingett
  • Raymond Luczak
  • J. Albert Mann
  • Amber McDowell
  • Lateef McLeod
  • John Poehler
  • H. M. PSYCHOSOCIAL
  • Sejal Shah
  • Maxfield Sparrow

The express purpose of this money is for writers to organize their own book event via video conference with captioning and ASL interpreters. Congratulations to these writers and see below for more about their books! 

 

Kay Ulanday Barrett

More Than Organs (Sibling Rivalry Press, 3/12/20)

A dark purple and gold book with bold gold capital letters reads MORE THAN ORGANS. The text is over a big red anatomical heart surrounded in starlit purple sky and just below, a small beam from a flashlight held by the silhouette of a person trying to light by the sky. Bold good letters at the bottom read KAY ULANDAY BARRETT.
A dark purple and gold book with bold gold capital letters reads MORE THAN ORGANS. The text is over a big red anatomical heart surrounded in starlit purple sky and just below, a small beam from a flashlight held by the silhouette of a person trying to light by the sky. Bold good letters at the bottom read KAY ULANDAY BARRETT.

A love letter to Brown, Queer, and Trans futures, Kay Ulanday Barrett’s More Than Organs questions “whatever wholeness means” for bodies always in transit, for the safeties and dangers they silo. These poems remix people of color as earthbenders, replay “the choreography of loss” after the 2015 Pulse shooting, and till joy from the cosmic sweetness… More Than Organs tattoos grief across the knuckles of its left hand and love across the knuckles of its right, leaving the reader physically changed by the intensity of experience, longing, strength, desire, and the need, above all else, to survive.

A brown round queer with glasses and short spiky hair performs at a microphone in front of the rainbow and transgender flags. They smile holding a microphone with their hand outstretched.
A brown round queer with glasses and short spiky hair performs at a microphone in front of the rainbow and transgender flags. They smile holding a microphone with their hand outstretched.

KAY ULANDAY BARRETT aka @Brownroundboi is a poet, performer, and cultural strategist. K. has featured at The Lincoln Center, The U.N., Symphony Space, Princeton University, The Dodge Poetry Foundation, The Hemispheric Institute, & Brooklyn Museum. Their contributions are found in Academy of American Poets, The New York Times, Buzzfeed, Asian American Literary Review, PBS News Hour, NYLON, The Huffington Post, Bitch Magazine, The Advocate, & more. More Than Organs, published by Sibling Rivalry Press (2020) is their second collection. Currently, Kay lives outside of NYC area with his jowly dog and remixes their mama’s recipes whenever possible.

Website: Kaybarrett.net

Twitter: @brownroundboi

Instagram: @brownroundboi


Ellen Chang

Survival Guide for Those who (weren’t) Healed (December 2020)

Why are disabilities considered “permanent”? What would happen if we as people with disabilities considered them “changeable” instead? It’s my story of exploring this mindset: what it means, what blockages one has to face (and how to overcome feelings of betrayal of our specialness and our community), how to love ourselves regardless of result. It’s the humanistic viewpoint: instead of expecting an instant miracle, taking it one day at a time.

Smiling picture of Ellen Chang, an Asian woman with black hair and brown highlights.
Smiling picture of Ellen Chang, an Asian woman with black hair and brown highlights.

Ellen Chang has been a career and life coach for the past five years. She first started out volunteering at NYU’s Wasserman Center for Career Development before beginning her own practice, which involved coaching young professionals as well as partnering with nonprofits such as Wheeling Forward, coaching people with disabilities recovering from spinal cord injuries. Shortly after, Ellen began her certification in ThetaHealing®, working with the subconscious to unblock limiting beliefs, helping her clients advance to a whole new level. Ellen published her first e-book, I’m Done Asking for Permission in November 2018. She teaches ThetaHealing classes and works as a Career Coach for Flatiron School.

Twitter: @lnchng

Instagram: @ejchng


torrin greathouse

Wound from the Mouth of a Wound (Milkweed Editions, 12/8/20)

A white marble statue of Medusa stands with her arms extended, she is holding a scimitar in one hand and the head of Perseus in the other. Her body is wrapped in blooming wisteria vines, holding her together as she fractures to reveal purple geodes within; her hair is a mass of golden snakes which rises up to form a saintly halo, around which the book's title sits.
A white marble statue of Medusa stands with her arms extended, she is holding a scimitar in one hand and the head of Perseus in the other. Her body is wrapped in blooming wisteria vines, holding her together as she fractures to reveal purple geodes within; her hair is a mass of golden snakes which rises up to form a saintly halo, around which the book’s title sits.

Wound from the Mouth of a Wound is a collection of poems centered in refusal. In rejecting hegemonic narratives surrounding transness, disability, sexual trauma, and mental illness. It refuses to make these identities monoliths, but instead explores and interrogates their entanglement. It seeks to subvert the culturally received, medicalized understandings of these identities, instead asserting its own systems of meaning. This book exists at the interstice of past and present, of violence and memory. As the stories of so many disabled trans people are, this one is a story about survival, and surviving too is a kind of refusal.

A white trans woman sitting in front of a wooden shed. She has shoulder-length red hair and a scar cutting through one eyebrow. There is a black cane propped against her shoulder. She is dressed in a gray t-shirt and a blue chambray button-up. She is wearing gold wire-frame glasses and has silver rings in her ear lobes and septum. There is a gold ring on a chain around her neck.
A white trans woman sitting in front of a wooden shed. She has shoulder-length red hair and a scar cutting through one eyebrow. There is a black cane propped against her shoulder. She is dressed in a gray t-shirt and a blue chambray button-up. She is wearing gold wire-frame glasses and has silver rings in her ear lobes and septum. There is a gold ring on a chain around her neck.

torrin a. greathouse is a transgender cripple-punk, MFA candidate at the University of Minnesota, & assistant editor of The Shallow Ends. She has received fellowships from Zoeglossia, The Effing Foundation, and the University of Arizona Poetry Center. Their work is published in POETRY, Ploughshares, & The Kenyon Review. Her debut collection Wound from the Mouth of a Wound is forthcoming from Milkweed Editions in December 2020.

Twitter: @tagreathouse

Instagram: @tagreathouse


Porochista Khakpour

Brown Album (Vintage Books, 6/14/20)

Book cover that features the title Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity, all in big bold white letters, against a backdrop of blue and red marbled color. Cover by Joan Wong.
Book cover that features the title Brown Album: Essays on Exile and Identity, all in big bold white letters, against a backdrop of blue and red marbled color. Cover by Joan Wong.

A collection of over a decade’s-worth of my essays on topics pertaining to Iranian-American identity: immigration, exile, assimilation, identity, racism and xenophobia.

 

A black and white photo by photographer John Midgeley, featuring Porochista Khakpour in all black with long curly hair and glasses.
A black and white photo by photographer John Midgeley, featuring Porochista Khakpour in all black with long curly hair and glasses.

I am the author of four books: two novels (Sons & Other Flammable Objects and The Last Illusion), the memoir Sick, and the essay collection Brown Album. My writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Bookforum, Elle, Slate, Salon, VQR, Al Jazeera America, Conde Nast Traveler, and many other publications. I have taught at Columbia, Wesleyan, Johns Hopkins, Bard, Northwestern, and many other colleges around the country. I was the recipient of a 2012 NEA grant. My next book is a novel called Tehrangeles. I was born in Iran and live in Queens, New York.

Twitter: @Pkhakpour

Instagram: @Pchza


Robert Kingett

Artificial Divide (Renaissance Press, 6/1/21)

I’m a totally blind writer that’s developing an anthology featuring stories with visually impaired protagonists dealing with complex emotional conflicts with Artificial intelligence. For example, what happens when a smart cane for the visually impaired gets too demanding? How can a blind driver save his smart car from being destroyed? The two have developed a very strong bond over the years. They platonically love each other, and the driver doesn’t want his close friend destroyed.

Robert stands, smiling, in a dark purple shirt. Bold letters read, PROUD across the chest in a rainbow pattern.
Robert stands, smiling, in a dark purple shirt. Bold letters read, PROUD across the chest in a rainbow pattern.

Robert Kingett is a totally blind author that writes essays and fiction where disabled characters live normal lives. When he’s not writing, he loves to listen to fiction podcasts. Visit him online at www.blindjournalist.wordpress.com

Registration form for people interested in my upcoming anthology. Or send a blank message to anthology+subscribe@rk.groups.io and confirm the subscription.

Twitter: @wweirdwriter


Raymond Luczak

Once Upon a Twin (Gallaudet University Press, 2/2021)

When Raymond Luczak was growing up deaf in a hearing family of nine children, his mother shared conflicting stories about having had a miscarriage after—or possibly around—the time he was conceived. As an elegy to his lost twin, this book asks: if he had a twin, just how different would his life have been? In Once Upon a Twin, Luczak also reflects on his childhood best friend and his years being the only deaf student in an upper Midwest Catholic school system, and how all these experiences had shaped his identity as a Deaf gay person.

In this black-and-white photograph, Raymond Luczak, a bearded white middle-aged man wearing a white button shirt, stands in front of a wall of flat ceramic square tiles inside a staircase. He looks up to his right at a window that is just outside the shot.
In this black-and-white photograph, Raymond Luczak, a bearded white middle-aged man wearing a white button shirt, stands in front of a wall of flat ceramic square tiles inside a staircase. He looks up to his right at a window that is just outside the shot.

Raymond Luczak grew up deaf (and forbidden to use sign language) in a hearing family of nine children in a small mining town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. He is the author and editor of 23 books, including Flannelwood: A Novel (Red Hen Press) and QDA: A Queer Disability Anthology (Squares & Rebels). His work has appeared in Poetry, South Carolina Review, and elsewhere. A ten-time Pushcart Prize nominee, he lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Website: http://www.raymondluczak.com/

Twitter: @deafwoof

Instagram: @deafwoof

Facebook: facebook.com/raymondsbooks/


J. Albert Mann

The Degenerates (S&S Atheneum, 3/17/20)

Four young women standing next to each other in matching white work dresses. From left to right – a brown girl with long, loose hair stares defiantly out at the reader, a black girl in two braids with an enlarged right foot turned inward looks toward the ground while reaching out to the white girl to her left, this white girl wears a single braid and reaches back for the black girl with her right hand while her left arm drapes protectively over the last girl on the left, a white girl with Down Syndrome leaning toward the white girl to her right and wearing two braids. Book cover by: Sarah Maxwell.
Four young women standing next to each other in matching white work dresses. From left to right – a brown girl with long, loose hair stares defiantly out at the reader, a black girl in two braids with an enlarged right foot turned inward looks toward the ground while reaching out to the white girl to her left, this white girl wears a single braid and reaches back for the black girl with her right hand while her left arm drapes protectively over the last girl on the left, a white girl with Down Syndrome leaning toward the white girl to her right and wearing two braids. Book cover by: Sarah Maxwell.

At the turn of the 20th century, eugenics–a false science–was used to cast people with disabilities (physical, mental, intellectual, “moral”) as having “undesirable traits” needing to be erased from the human condition through segregation. The U.S. government (for the “health and safety” of the non-disabled) institutionalized people with disabilities for life. The novel is told in the voices of four young women inside what was first called The Massachusetts School for Idiotic and Feebleminded Youth founded in Boston. Diagnosed idiots, morons, and imbeciles, they endure the harsh conditions of the institution while continuing to live deeply meaningful lives.

A photo of a light-skinned woman from her shoulders up. Her hair is in a high bun, she is wearing large, thick black glasses, and smiling with her lips closed while she looks into the camera.
A photo of a light-skinned woman from her shoulders up. Her hair is in a high bun, she is wearing large, thick black glasses, and smiling with her lips closed while she looks into the camera.

J. Albert Mann is an award-winning poet and the author of six published novels for children. She has an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts in Writing for Children and Young Adults, and is the Director of the WNDB Internship Grant Committee.

Website: http://jalbertmann.com/

Twitter: @JAlbertMann

Instagram: @J.AlbertMann


Amber McDowell

King Kairos (2/1/21)

This book is a love letter to my son, Kairos. It includes excerpts from his family members that express their hopes and dreams for him. It will provide him and other children encouragement as they travel through this journey called life.

I am a 29 year old, bubbling brown sugar colored black woman. I have short curly hair, square shaped glasses, and a huge smile where you can see most of my teeth. It is a full length shot and I am wearing a black cowl neck sweater, blue jeans cuffed at the ankle, and black wedge rain boots. I am leaning against a knee-high brick wall, with trees and Lake Washington as my backdrop.
I am a 29 year old, bubbling brown sugar colored black woman. I have short curly hair, square shaped glasses, and a huge smile where you can see most of my teeth. It is a full length shot and I am wearing a black cowl neck sweater, blue jeans cuffed at the ankle, and black wedge rain boots. I am leaning against a knee-high brick wall, with trees and Lake Washington as my backdrop.

Amber McDowell is a first time author from Seattle, Washington. She began writing from a young age as a means to express herself and escape her sometimes lonely reality of being an only child. Amber has always described words as being her friends and hopes to share them with the world.

Email:  mcdowellamber8@gmail.com


Lateef McLeod

Whispers Of Krip Love Shouts Of Krip Revolution (Poetic Matrix Press, 2/3/20)

This book captures my in-depth views about my identity as a black disabled man, about the current status of politics, and my intimate experiences with love and sexuality. I hope my poems will delight, inform, and enlighten my readers.

I am in a red polo shirt and jeans and a orange lanyard is around my neck. I am sitting in my black and red Permobile wheelchair. My iPad and a black scarf is on my tray. I am in the top of the Salesforce Tower and behind me is a view of the San Francisco skyline.
I am in a red polo shirt and jeans and a orange lanyard is around my neck. I am sitting in my black and red Permobil wheelchair. My iPad and a black scarf is on my tray. I am in the top of the Salesforce Tower and behind me is a view of the San Francisco skyline.

Lateef McLeod is building his career as a writer and a scholar. He has earned a BA in English from UC Berkeley and a MFA in Creative Writing from Mills College. He is three years into the Anthropology and Social Change Doctoral program at California Institute for Integral Studies in San Francisco. He published his first poetry book entitled A Declaration Of A Body Of Love in 2010 chronicling his life as a black man with a disability and tackling various topics on family, dating, religion, spirituality, his national heritage, and sexuality. He currently is writing a novel tentatively entitled The Third Eye Is Crying.

Website: http://www.lateefhmcleod.com/

Twitter: @Kut2Smooth


John Poehler

This War Within My Mind: Based on the blog The Bipolar Battle (3/27/20)

Photo of the book cover for This War Within My Mind. A pair of weathered red boxing gloves dangle to the left of a blue punching bag, with the lower half wrapped in worn wrapping tape. The title is to the left of the punching bag and the author, John Poehler, is at the top of the page. There is a white background. Book cover by Aaron Smith.
Photo of the book cover for This War Within My Mind. A pair of weathered red boxing gloves dangle to the left of a blue punching bag, with the lower half wrapped in worn wrapping tape. The title is to the left of the punching bag and the author, John Poehler, is at the top of the page. There is a white background. Book cover by Aaron Smith.

Without proper treatment, bipolar disorder is a debilitating mental illness that wreaks havoc on everything it touches. This War Within My Mind is a game plan that will change the way you view bipolar disorder. It starts with simply changing the way you see yourself. You are a warrior. As a warrior, it is imperative that you train both your mind and body. If you want to manage your bipolar disorder, you need to fight it on a daily basis with the right tools and support.

Photo of John Poehler, a fair-skinned man with a big glowing smile, wearing dark-rimmed glasses, and with light brown hair. He is wearing a yellow long sleeve shirt with a dark grey front.
Photo of John Poehler, a fair-skinned man with a big glowing smile, wearing dark-rimmed glasses, and with light brown hair. He is wearing a yellow long sleeve shirt with a dark grey front.

John is the creator of the award-winning blog – The Bipolar Battle, published author, award-winning mental health advocate, husband, and father. Winner of WEGOHealthAward Best in Show: Twitter, he also makes appearances on podcasts, radio shows, and blogs. As someone living with bipolar disorder, John has firsthand experience managing it on a daily basis.

Website: https://www.thebipolarbattle.com/

Twitter: @BipolarBattle

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/JohnPoehlerAuthor/

Pinterest: @thebipolarbattle

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/mwlite/in/john-poehler


H. M. PSYCHOSOCIAL

A Tale of Two Planets, Volume I: The Sowing (2/12/21)

Dren is a young man from the planet the Earthlings call Mars. For eons, Earth has refused to recognize the other planets of its solar system. He is on a mission. On Earth, Keisha is in her first year of college when suddenly a vision plunges her into a stark unknown realm. An exploration of adolescent angst, identity, and power; coming of age as a late-blooming outsider in the midst of a brewing interplanetary war.

A hand-drawn lotus flower-esque mandala with an eye at its center and eyes dangling at its outermost petals. The drawing is black and white but has blue and green accents.
A hand-drawn lotus flower-esque mandala with an eye at its center and eyes dangling at its outermost petals. The drawing is black and white but has blue and green accents.

H. M. PSYCHOSOCIAL is a queer disabled American-Born Chinese artist, musician, and storyteller. Creator of interconnected universes and multidimensional beings, survivor of generational and individual trauma. Dares to be boldly ambitious and unabashedly effervescent in a world that tokenizes, exploits, and excludes beings who experience the universe in divergent ways. They are based in Seattle and have allegiances to cafes, marching bands, and rats.

Instagram: @yokai.fiction

Email: h.m.psychosocial@gmail.com


Sejal Shah

This Is One Way to Dance: Essays (University of Georgia Press, 6/1/20)

A still shot taken from a video of the author spinning in a vibrant red-orange colored dress. Only the flare of the dress is visible; the text on the cover: THIS IS ONE WAY TO DANCE (the title) and the author's name, Sejal Shah, are in the middle of the cover on top of the dress image. The subtitle, "Essays," is in the lower right-hand corner in black lettering on a pink background. The top right-hand corner, which is a black background, hosts the cover blurb: "Each of these pieces captures what it means to be a citizen of a country that may never claim you as its own, to imagine your own brilliant fullness beyond its peripheral gaze." --Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations.
A still shot taken from a video of the author spinning in a vibrant red-orange colored dress. Only the flare of the dress is visible; the text on the cover: THIS IS ONE WAY TO DANCE (the title) and the author’s name, Sejal Shah, are in the middle of the cover on top of the dress image. The subtitle, “Essays,” is in the lower right-hand corner in black lettering on a pink background. The top right-hand corner, which is a black background, hosts the cover blurb: “Each of these pieces captures what it means to be a citizen of a country that may never claim you as its own, to imagine your own brilliant fullness beyond its peripheral gaze.” –Mira Jacob, author of Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations.

This Is One Way to Dance is a memoir in linked essays about race, place, South Asian American identity, and belonging. The essays span twenty years and cover growing up in western New York State, an area of racial and socioeconomic hypersegregation, coming of an age in a time and place when Asian Americans are nearly invisible in public spheres, politics, arts, and entertainment, and also how to keep moving (dancing, even) through depression, the death of loved ones, job loss, and the search for love and home, in the face of the challenges life brings to all of us.

This photo is of author Sejal Shah in a sleeveless purple dress in New York City on her old fire escape against the brick background of the building. She is smiling and looking at the camera. Photo credit: Preston Merchant.
This photo is of author Sejal Shah in a sleeveless purple dress in New York City on her old fire escape against the brick background of the building. She is smiling and looking at the camera. Photo credit: Preston Merchant.

Sejal Shah’s debut essay collection, This Is One Way to Dance, (University of Georgia Press, June 2020) explores identity, culture, race, and place and was named a “most anticipated” book of 2020 by The Rumpus and The Millions and one of eleven memoirs by “unbreakable women” at shereads.com. Her 2019 essay, “Even If You Can’t See It: Invisible Disability & Neurodiversity” was named a Longreads Editors’ Pick. Sejal is on the faculty at the Rainier Writing Workshop, a low-residency MFA program at Pacific Lutheran University and at Writers & Books, a community-based literary arts center in western New York. She lives in Rochester, New York.

Website: http://sejal-shah.com/

Twitter: @fictionalsejal

Instagram: @fictionalsejal

Facebook: @fictionalsejal


Maxfield Sparrow

Spectrums: Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 9/21/20)

A medium purple (periwinkle) book cover. White letters at the top and bottom, in a font that resembles handwriting, say "Edited by Maxfield Sparrow" (top) and "Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words" (bottom). The image in between is the word "SPECTRUMS" in all capital letters, repeated five times, vertically stacked. The top word is colored in a dark blue and purple gradient. The next is in a slightly lighter blue and purple gradient. The center word is a light pastel blue and purple gradient. The last two versions of "SPECTRUMS" get darker and darker, mirroring what the words above the center were doing. The effect is a light-dark gradient of words with gradient colors within them, meant to symbolize the intersection of the autism spectrum and the gender spectrum.
A medium purple (periwinkle) book cover. White letters at the top and bottom, in a font that resembles handwriting, say “Edited by Maxfield Sparrow” (top) and “Autistic Transgender People in Their Own Words” (bottom). The image in between is the word “SPECTRUMS” in all capital letters, repeated five times, vertically stacked. The top word is colored in a dark blue and purple gradient. The next is in a slightly lighter blue and purple gradient. The center word is a light pastel blue and purple gradient. The last two versions of “SPECTRUMS” get darker and darker, mirroring what the words above the center were doing. The effect is a light-dark gradient of words with gradient colors within them, meant to symbolize the intersection of the autism spectrum and the gender spectrum.

An anthology of personal stories, poetry, and essays by Transgender and Non-Binary Autistic people. This book is one of the first illuminating the intersection of gender divergence and neurodivergence and the first to collect a wide range of diverse voices.

 

A masculine-presenting non-binary person, viewed from mid-chest up. They have dark hair shot with grey and a receding hairline, wire-rimmed glasses, a small, dark goatee, white skin, and dark eyes. They are wearing a light brown tweed button-down collar shirt and a dark brown tweed suit jacket and standing in front of a wooden fence that is background-blurred. They are smiling.
A masculine-presenting non-binary person, viewed from mid-chest up. They have dark hair shot with grey and a receding hairline, wire-rimmed glasses, a small, dark goatee, white skin, and dark eyes. They are wearing a light brown tweed button-down collar shirt and a dark brown tweed suit jacket and standing in front of a wooden fence that is background-blurred. They are smiling.

Maxfield Sparrow is Unstrange Mind, an Autistic activist. They are an MFA candidate at the Jack Kerouac School of Disembodied Poetics and the author of The ABCs of Autism Acceptance (Autonomous Press, 2017). Spectrums is their first anthology.

Twitter: @UnstrangeMind

Instagram: @unstrange.mind

YouTube: AutisticNomad

Facebook: https://facebook.com/UnstrangeMind/

 

 

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