American author and disability advocate Hugh Gregory Gallagher wrote eloquently of the “land of the ‘crippled”, adding, “a great wall surrounds this place, and most of what goes within this wall is unknown to those outside it. What follows is a message from over the wall.” In this address, Katharine Quarmby will explore the canon of literature to look at the characterization of disability, as a message within both mainstream literature and and emerging disability literature. For writing about disability – invisible and visible – is a message about humanity itself, and the stories we tell ourselves about what it means to be human, and to live with impairment.
Katharine Quarmby is a writer, journalist and Royal Literary Fund Fellow at the London School of Economics. Her non-fiction works include Scapegoat: Why We Are Failing Disabled People, which won the Ability Media International Award, and No Place to Call Home: Inside the Real Lives of Gypsies and Travellers.
She has worked with the BBC, the Economist, Newsweek Europe, and is currently a contributor for Mosaic Science. She has been shortlisted for the Paul Foot award for many years of campaigning journalism on disability affairs.