Access by Various artists


Crip the Lit’s new publication 'Here we are, read us: women, disability and writing'

by Hilary Stace

Crip the Lit (#CripTheLit) was formed in 2016 in Wellington to provide a space for Deaf and disabled writers to tell their stories within mainstream New Zealand literature and writing generally. It seeks to give a platform to and publicise the work of disabled writers, and to provide authentic and diverse portrayals of disability.

The first CriptheLit event was held in 2016 as part of Wellington’s annual LitCrawl (whereby numerous literary events are held around the city in one weekend) at the disability-friendly CQ Hotel. That occasion featured memoir writing and subsequent events have included readings and a debate.

Here we are, read us is a recently launched booklet featuring eight women including writers of fiction, poetry, essays and blogs. 

In a few succinct words each touches on their work and motivations, accompanied by a hand-drawn and themed portrait.  The writers are Tusiata Avia, Steff Green, Helen Vivienne Fletcher, Charlotte Simmonds, Michele Leggott, Trish Harris and Te Awhina Arahanga. Last listed is Robin Hyde, reclaimed as a disabled writer by joint editor and CripTheLit founder Robyn Hunt.

Some mention the influence of their impairment on their lives and writing. For example, joint editor Trish Harris’s piece begins: "I am a part-time crane operator. Every time I unload my power chair from the car, the tilt of the ground affects the swing and balance of the hoisted chair."

This free publication leads the way in accessibility over multiple formats including in large print, Braille, as an e-book and audio file - all freely available within a Creative Commons licence. My only niggle is that I would have liked to have some sort of bibliography or reading list of author works to follow up with. But that’s why we have libraries. It has been funded by numerous organisations and supported by Arts Access Aotearoa.

This link tells you how you can get a copy.

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