I had a fantastic time last night at the So Lucky launch, and will be doing much the same thing tonight at Elliott Bay Book Company, Seattle, at 7 pm.
Join us! Bring your friends and family and neighbours. And their friends. And maybe dogs if they’re quiet. The more the merrier!
Meanwhile, here an interview and two reviews to keep you entertained.
Seattle Review of Books
On Twitter Griffith has helped start #criplit, a series of hashtag conversations for, and about, disabled writers. They’ve covered a number of topics, including advice and information about including disabled characters in your fiction.
This is one of those before-and-after issues, where you — if, in fact, you were like me and less aware of these issues before starting the book — start evaluating every other book based on these criteria. Because once your eyes are open, the lack of disabled characters seems downright strange, held up to the world we live in. Fiction should reflect us and who we are, and when we notice instead that it reflects our prejudices or default assumptions, it is up to us to challenge them.
The world of Nicola Griffith’s So Lucky is governed by ableist misconception and ignorance, but also marked by hope and human connection. Magic realism is freely employed and crisp, clear language evokes the natural surroundings of the Atlanta in which Mara Tagarelli moves. Miz Rip, the kitten chosen because she fights, is a compelling addition. It’s a narrative that at once informs, confronts, puzzles and engages.
Disability Visibility Project
The term ‘autobiographical novel’ is in the synopsis on your blog with the word ‘autobiographical’ crossed out. You have MS and so does the protagonist, Mara Tagarelli. What were the challenges of writing a main character who has MS that was grounded in lived experience without relying on your own story?
As I said earlier, this book felt urgent to me. I wanted readers to tackle it in one sitting, for it feel like a spear-thrust—hard, fast, and very pointed. But I also wanted Mara to learn some of the lessons I learnt about MS and being disabled. I wanted to show what it’s like to go from physically strong, lithe, and athletic to visibly physically impaired—moving through all the stages of denial, invisible illness, rage, despair, community, and so on—but without taking the 25 years it took me to learn those things. So one challenge was compressing all that into a single year.
Another challenge was that Mara is diagnosed 25 years after I was. The MS landscape has changed dramatically in that time.
But the biggest challenge is the ‘autobiographical’ label.