let’s talk about disability rep

Hi, it’s me again!!! Not every post this year is Christmassy, I’ve got to confess to you (and this is largely my fault, because I have a couple non-Christmassy things I don’t want to wait till January to share). Onto the post!

Today is international day of persons with disabilities, and I realised the other day I’ve never actually written a blog post about that before. For the first years of my blog, I wouldn’t wouldn’t say I hid my disability, but it certainly wasn’t common knowledge. Then I started using a walking stick and sort of couldn’t hide it anymore, but still, it wasn’t a part of my identity I felt in any way confident claiming. I’m still an anxious wreck, but I think it’s important to acknowledge how far I’ve come. It’s in my social media bios. It’s not the focus, but it’s mentioned here and there in posts or on social media, and sometimes it does take centre stage.

This would never have happened without disability representation in books. No one has ever written a book about **my** condition as far as I know (it’s obscure, to say the least!) BUT reading about other disabled people made me realise that our stories do in fact deserve to be told. Do I still have a mile-long wishlist of disabled stories I want to see? YOU BET. But now I have a little more hope and faith that they’ll actually enter the world someday (partially because I plan on writing some of them myself, but that’s just between us, dear reader.)

Like I said before, I think, that then enabled me to seek out disabled and chronically ill people online (largely through summoning the courage to use the babe with a mobility aid hashtag, and then browsing through it regularly to search for people who might help me feel just a tiny bit more comfy in my own skin.) That, in turn, has led to me working with a disabled literary magazine and meeting some of my closest pals.

I’ve also just written an Instagram post (I’m Instagram.com/goldenbooksgirl, please follow me if you aren’t!) about being a judge for the Adrien Prize, with an author I fully believe is at the helm of revolutionising disability representation in the UK book industry, who has now set up her own prize to champion other books with disabled characters and also disabled authors. Before 2020, I can barely think of any books about disability (like seriously, I think I could count them on one hand) that didn’t paint us as tragic victims or inspiring little soldiers who exist only to teach able-bodied people life lessons. And then I heard about this book called A Kind of Spark, fell in love with my early copy, and am genuinely convinced we’ve had more authentic and meaningful disabled rep in books ever since It’s been a welcome change.

I’m rephrasing a joke from Instagram here, but whoever said you shouldn’t meet your heroes clearly didn’t understand what it’s like to have a role model like Elle McNicoll. I’m so grateful for her and everything she has done and no doubt will continue to do for the disabled community. Judging this prize with her has been the honour of a literal lifetime, and I can’t wait for everyone to see the shortlist on Monday. Please share it, please comment, please support it. This matters so much and I’d be so invested in it’s success even if I wasn’t personally involved.

Please never underestimate the importance of feeling seen. I wish I’d had that so many years before I did, and now that it’s more plentiful, I plan to savour every single book that lets me have it.


Author: goldenbooksgirl

Disabled book blogger who also writes TV, film, music and other posts from time to time | UKYABA Champion Teen 2018 | Email: goldenbooksgirl@gmail.com | she/her

16 thoughts on “let’s talk about disability rep”

  1. I’m a new reader of your blog and I’ve got a few other books with disabled characters/themes on my TBR pile as comp books for one of my own books. I haven’t read them yet, but I can send you the Amazon links to them in case you haven’t seen/read them yet?


  2. Disability is so varied in type, and how it is seen, perceived and treated, the sooner disabilities are accepted mainstream the better. Thank goodness for Elle. Truly she has been a catylist for good. If any writer could be singled out as making a huge difference to peoples lives, younger and older, over the last couple of years, it is Elle. It doesn’t matter what you are outwardly, bodily or mentally, it is what is inside that truly counts and what we do to help others, be they humans or other creatures.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Did I forget (thanks in part to my rare disability) to put the links up for the books? I certainly intended to and I’ll go and do it as soon as you let me know if you’re still interested in them πŸ™‚

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Okily dokily – I haven’t read any of them yet, but they are definitely on my list!

        I Have No Secrets by Penny Joelson
        Kindle: https://amzn.to/3h7ssSi
        Paperback: https://amzn.to/3VWY0Jd

        A Kind Of Spark by Elle McNicoll
        Kindle: https://amzn.to/3uzv9z7
        Audio: https://amzn.to/3UxRveQ
        Paperback: https://amzn.to/3Y4Tc6E

        Show Us Who You Are by Elle McNicoll
        Audio: https://amzn.to/3Fy0vME
        Paperback: https://amzn.to/3VZqguU

        Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen
        Kindle: https://amzn.to/3P4OAJD
        Hardback: https://amzn.to/3BgoBZO
        Paperback: https://amzn.to/3h548jX

        Out of My Mind by Sharon M. Draper
        Kindle: https://amzn.to/3XWmELQ
        Audio: https://amzn.to/3uwIGaw
        Hardback: https://amzn.to/3FxqpQD
        Paperback: https://amzn.to/3FzzTei

        The Amazing Edie Eckhart: Book 1 by Rosie Jones
        Kindle: https://amzn.to/3Y5cMzl
        Audio: https://amzn.to/3ut3qQC
        Paperback: https://amzn.to/3utOLVl

        The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson
        Kindle: https://amzn.to/3Hqx2FI
        Audio: https://amzn.to/3VBV3xW
        Hardback: https://amzn.to/3uzye29

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Hi, I sometimes take a few days to reply to comments! I think it did come through, I just hasn’t got round to answering yet. I’ve read both of Elle’s, and a few of the others are on my tbr πŸ™‚


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