When a famously bad-behaving person uses bipolar disorder, or any other mood disorder, as an excuse for their (unrelated) bad behavior, disabled people suffer.

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A.J. Finn is the author of the runaway bestselling thriller The Woman in the Window. His real name is Dan Mallory. He is also, according to a recent profile in The New Yorker magazine, a manipulative, scheming, liar.

The profile is partially an indictment of the publishing industry, which will overlook dissonance and red flags, and partially an exposé of a man who would do anything to get ahead, including lie about the death of his own family members—over and over again.

The piece is worth reading: I found it far more “unputdownable” than the Finn book. “A Suspense Novelist’s Trail of Deceptions,” by Ian Parker, appeared in the Feb. …

New columns and more coming in January 2019

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A green field with a blue sky horizon in the distance.

Kelly and Katie, editors of DISABILITY ACTS, have been hard at work the past few weeks. Although DA has been quiet, we’ve been ducks, paddling hard under the water’s surface while things look placid above. (That’s such a great metaphor.)

We started small, just a couple of disabled writers + editors who thought we’d volunteer our time to create a space for other disabled writers to share their stories without having to navigate the gatekeeping of ableist or even abled-centered publishing.

But then, it turned out, folks really loved what we were publishing. And we needed to get more organized. …

Disability Acts is looking for monthly columnists

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Two blue and gold birds sitting on a spiked branch. One bird’s beak is open wide, calling out.

**Submissions are currently closed while we review the ones we have received. When we open them again, we’ll note it here. Thank you to those who have submitted.**

DISABILITY ACTS, this magazine here, is looking for a few — 2, 3, maybe 4, columnists to write monthly columns for the magazine. Columns can be essays, rants, observations, or all of these — and they should be nonfiction.

Propose a theme. Write a column for us once a month. We’ll edit it and publish it. We still cannot pay (donations received updates are on our About page), but we can promise that we will support you, nurture you, and never judge you. …

We can’t get away from ableist memes and magazine covers. But we don’t have to accept them.

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Para-athlete sprinting on blade prosthetics at Rio Olympics in 2016. Are you inspired?

You’ve seen the images of inspiration porn, the posters or memes, a small child running with a leg prosthetic, with a inspo-phrase like, “The only thing stopping you is you,” or something equally gag-worthy.

The audience of these posters, these memes, is not disabled people. We know exactly how hard it is to get around as disabled people. No, the audience of disability porn are normates who might, apparently, be feeling sorry for themselves. Disability porn shows them a photo of a disabled sap and says, “Get off your butt. …

A Podcast by Wedaeli Chibelushi and Steph Wilderspin

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The Diss(ability) Track logo with a graphic of a cassette tape and an image of an audio track. Credit: The Diss(ability) track via Soundcloud.

This week, we’re featuring a podcast out of the UK that you should know about.

The Diss(ability) Track is created by two disabled podcasters; they cover disabled issues in the UK—issues that are relevant to anyone interested in disability rights.

First we interview Wedaeli and Steph, and then we provide all the links you might need to learn more about The Diss(ability) Track after the interview.

Just FYI: I listened to their podcast and can tell that it is excellent. They’re total professionals and a delight to listen to.

Why did you start the podcast? What is it for? …

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A media kit (also called a press kit), is a marketing tool for authors use when reaching out to the media — including book bloggers — retailers, and more. The important thing to remember about a media kit is that its audience is not your readership, but rather members of the larger book marketing industry.

Because I publish my novels with a small press, putting together a media kit is a task that would fall to me. (And it does for many large-press authors as well.)

Since I’ve never done this before, and I’m betting many of you have never done this before either, I thought I’d narrate this process in a column so we could all learn together from my mistakes. …

Here are the details, Friends

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History

Katie Rose Guest Pryal founded DISABILITY ACTS in August of 2018, with some help from Karrie Higgins. She very quickly brought on Kelly J. Baker as a third editor shortly thereafter.

Today, the magazine’s co-editors-in-chief are Katie and Kelly.

We founded DISABILITY ACTS because we were fed up with the challenges disability writers face placing our work in normate magazines. It’s not like we haven’t been successful hewing to normate requirements—we have been. And we appreciate the magazines that have given us space to write about disability.

But we, like other disabled writers, have been in situations where editors didn’t believe what we wrote was even real. Or we struggled to tell our stories within the parameters set by the magazine.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s “The Awakening: Women and Power in the Academy” notably lacked any intersections with disability. We’re correcting that problem here.

Co-author: Jillian Weise

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Banner image of original Chronicle of Higher Education media modified and used under U.S. Fair Use Law. Alt Text: Artistic rendering of a woman draped in ivy and clutching a book to her chest. The heading “The Awakening: Women and Power in the Academy” appears at the bottom, and the banner of The Chronicle of Higher Education appears at the top. Atop this image, the original image of the Chronicle “The Awakening” piece, is a blue and white handicap symbol covering nearly one-quarter of the image.

Recently, the Chronicle of Higher Education published a massive, gorgeous, multi-vocal, intersectional, multimedia piece on gender, power, and the academy. Titled “The Awakening: Women and Power in the Academy,” the piece featured thirty-one authors and artists who contributed pieces on sexual harassment, sexual violence, gender oppression, and more.

The pieces are, as a rule, well written. They draw attention to the problem of gender discrimination in higher education across a variety of intersections such as race, parental status, job title (e.g., tenured vs. contingent/adjunct), and more. We are glad that the Chronicle put this piece together. We are sad that they overlooked a significant intersection. That’s why we’re writing today. You will hear from each of us about our own thoughts about disability, gender, and power. …

When professional organizations balk at providing assistive technology for their disabled members, they block a connection between disabled people and the world—to everyone’s detriment.

By Katie Rose Guest Pryal and Karrie Higgins

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Alt Text: An old blue wooden door locked shut with a metal bolt and a metal padlock.

This month, physicist Stephen Hawking died. A brilliant scientist, he changed the face of science. And he was disabled: he was nearly fully paralyzed. He did a vast amount of his work with the help of assistive technology: a mobility chair, a computer that spoke for him using signals he sent with muscle movements in his face, and more. These assistive technologies created a bridge between one of the most brilliant minds of our lifetime and the Abled World.

And yet, even today, major professional organizations balk at integrating assistive technologies that would allow their disabled members to bring further knowledge into the world. …

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Playboy Entertainment recently filed a lawsuit that, had they won, would have opened the gates of First Amendment hell upon internet journalism. As a media organization, they were, of course, shooting themselves in their oversized feet. But more importantly, they would have paved the way for the destruction of all small, independent media orgs across the web.

What a drastic turnaround from a company that used to champion free speech as much as it did G-strings.

Pornographers — and those called such — have often pushed free speech boundaries. Works of literature labeled by readers, school boards, and courts as “obscene” include such precious works as Lady Chatterley’s Lover by D.H. Lawrence and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy. Alongside high-artists such as Mapplethorpe, however, stands Hef and Larry Flynt. We must give them their due, at least when it comes to fighting for free speech. For example, the 2000 Supreme Court case United States v. …

About

Katie Rose Guest Pryal

Novelist (Entanglement, Chasing Chaos, Fallout Girl), Essayist (Catapult, The Establishment, Motherwell, Women in Higher Education), & Attorney (the good kind)

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