I’ve known this for a good while, but I am so massively excited to tell you all! Derek Newman-Stille will be presenting their paper, Desiring Disability: Frankensteinian Bodily Potential in Cait Gordon’s The Hilltop Gathering, at this international symposium:
October 31- November 2, 2019, Carleton Dominion-Chalmers Centre, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada
You might know Derek from the eight Prix Aurora Awards they’ve won for Specualting Canada, or for their classes at Trent university, or for their many panels and papers that examine disability representation. Oh, and they are also completing their PhD at the Frost Centre for Canadian Studies. So, in short, Derek is kind of a big deal.
In late 2018, Derek’s anthology, We Shall Be Monsters, was published, and it might contain a little ol’ story from me called The Hilltop Gathering. When the call for submissions came out in 2017, I noticed the invitation for disabled authors to explore disability with their submissions. So, I was motivated to create a teenage monster who uses a rollator, like I do. Frank E. (Frances Elizabeth) was the first disabled protagonist I’d ever written. It felt so good to have her be the star that it vindicated me to go forward with Nothing Without Us, where 22 authors did the same—they wrote stories with main characters who are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, and/or who manage mental illness.
Now, if I ever won an award for writing, that would be cool. But I must tell you, having a piece of mine discussed at an academic level feels like an award times a billion. I love learning, and if people can learn from a paper that mentions my work…ah, that’s heaven to me.
It matters so much that my disabled voice is elevated by another disabled voice. We are so often talked over by abled folks. Let’s face it—almost every policy about us is not created by us. So, disabled people need our community. We encourage each other, promote each other, and remind each other that yes, we’re frustrated as heck, and it’s not all in our imagination.
I took the character of Frank E. in The Hilltop Gathering and wrote the story I wanted to write. No inspiration porn, no cure narrative. And Derek got it. They not only accepted it as part of the anthology, but they also felt it was worthy to discuss among their peers.
Thank you, Derek. What you’re doing really matters. FrankenCrips unite!
Would you like to get a copy of We Shall Be Monsters? Here’s where you can buy it!
And by the way, We Shall Be Monsters is also an Prix Aurora Award nominee for Best Related Work! How amazing is that?
I’m going to go squee for a bit now. And maybe eat some chocolate.
Cait Gordon is a disability advocate and the author of Life in the ’Cosm and The Stealth Lovers. When she’s not writing, Cait’s editing manuscripts and running The Spoonie Authors Network, a blog whose contributors manage disabilities and/or chronic conditions. She also teamed up with Kohent Talia C. Johnson to co-edit the Nothing Without Us anthology in an attempt to take over the world. Narf.