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I’ll be doing an event at the University of Washington, Seattle, with artist Riva Lehrer. It’s the headline event for the Pacific and Western Disability Studies Symposium 2016: Making Disability Public: Arts, Scholarship, and Activism. It’s free and open to the public.

This is a kind of coming-out for me: my first appearance where I not only talk about and read from my work but discuss how my MS and disability have had an impact on that work. It’s absolutely fitting that I’m appearing with Riva, whose portrait of me was one of the catalysts of coming out as a crip. Riva and I are friends, so expect the unexpected.

Anything I read will be based on the body and its delights with full-sensory physicality. Something from Hild, maybe. Or a brand-new bit of Menewood. Or The Blue Place. Not sure yet. I might also read from a not-yet-finished novella, “Small Dog Theory.” So, hey, it’s going to get…interesting.

Here’s the official description of my event:

Friday, May 13, 4:30-7:00pm

“Disability Arts & Culture: An Evening with Riva Lehrer & Nicola Griffith”

University of Washington, Seattle, Odegaard Library (ODE), Room 220

  • 4:30-5:00 Poster and Art Display
  • 5:00-7:00 Presentations by Nicola Griffith and Riva Lehrer

We’re honored to host a reading & discussion with Nicola Griffith, whose novels include AmmoniteSlow River, and Hild. Griffith will talk for the first time about disability in her work, and participate in Q & A with Riva Lehrer about the making of her portrait “Nicola Griffith / Snow Leopard” that’s featured on the advertising for this event.

We welcome Chicago-based artist Riva Lehrer, an award-winning painter, writer, and speaker whose work explores issues of identity and cultural depictions of disability. Her visual art and writing have been featured in several documentary films and publications. Among her best-known projects is “Circle Stories,” a series of portraits of disabled people with careers in the arts, academia, and activism. Lehrer writes about her latest project, “The Risk Pictures”: “For twenty years, I have been using the language of portraiture to explore what it means to live in a stigmatized body. My portrait collaborators have often been made to feel ashamed of their physical selves, as a result of being targeted by judgmental, aggressive gazes leveled in their direction. Reasons for stigma might be due to disability, sexuality, gender affiliation or racial identity; all can lead to difficulty in living in one’s actual body.”

Attendees on Friday will also be invited to the poster session of student disability studies research, art, and social justice engagement.

Sponsored by the Disability Studies Program, ASUW Student Disability Commission, and other UW units

Map: Odegaard Library. Time: 4:30 – 7:00 pm. Free! Facebook Event. (FYI, I’m assured that if you have difficulty with registration via FB not to worry: come on down anyway, there’ll be room.)