The Database

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Expertise Disability Rights, Feminism, LGBQT, Disability
Bio I’m the author of five books, including three books of creative nonfiction: Opa Nobody, Cover Me: A Health Insurance Memoir, and Pain Woman Takes Your Keys: Essays from a Nervous System. My other books include a textbook, The Backwards Research Guide for Writers: Using Your Life for Reflection, Connection, and Inspiration and The Evolution of Hillary Rodham Clinton. I’m a disabled writer with rheumatoid disease and a longtime activist who teaches at Fairfield University. My work has been published in literary journals and magazines including The New York Times, Creative Nonfiction, Brevity, Fourth Genre, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and the Washington Post Magazine. My work won the 2012 Terrain.org Award in Nonfiction and is included in True Stories, Well Told: From the First Twenty Years of Creative Nonfiction; other essays have been named Notable in the Best American Essays 2014 and 2015. I also published an e-book on direct care work with SheBooks, Two Eyes are Never Enough: A Minimum-Wage Memoir.
Expertise Media, Pop Culture, Books, Television, Theatre, Fiction, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Criticism, Americans with Disabilities Act, Feminism, Religion, LGBQT, Disability, Service Animals, Travel
Bio Four time Hugo Finalist Elsa Sjunneson-Henry is a deafblind author and editor of speculative fiction. She has had work in Fireside, Uncanny, CNN, The Boston Globe, and Tor.com, among many other venues. She also teaches frequently at the university level. She and her guide dog zoom through life on deadlines and adventures.
Expertise Sciences, Accessibility, Education, LGBQT
Bio Gabriela Serrato Marks is a PhD candidate in Marine Geology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where she studies past climate change and explores caves. She is also interested in science communication and climate science. She grew up in Boston and earned her BA in Earth and Oceanographic Science at Bowdoin College in Maine. Gabriela has chronic pain and Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. She writes and talks about how to make science, especially natural science fields that require fieldwork, more accessible for people with disabilities. She is proudly Mexican-American and queer.
Expertise Pop Culture, Law, Politics, Sports, Disability Rights, Americans with Disabilities Act, Disability
Bio Kathy Flaherty ATTORNEY, BIPOLAR, ADULT ADOPTEE, MENTAL HEALTH CONDITION, SOURCE, WRITER, EXPERT SOURCE Image: A head and shoulders picture of a woman with short brown/gray hair, glasses, and a big smile standing in front of a column in a government building. The picture is off center and there are blurred lights in the background. She is wearing a gray patterned sweater over a gray, blue and black patterned dress. Contact Kathy: kflaherty at clrp.org Since 2015, Kathy has served as Executive Director of Connecticut Legal Rights Project, Inc. (CLRP), a statewide non-profit agency which provides legal services to low income individuals with mental health conditions, who reside in hospitals or the community, on matters related to their treatment, recovery, and civil rights.Kathy spent 12 years as a Staff Attorney at Statewide Legal Services of CT, Inc., the centralized intake hotline for all the Connecticut legal services programs. A graduate of Wellesley College (Class of ’88) and Harvard Law School (’94), Kathy has dedicated her professional life to advocating for the rights of the underserved. In January 2013, Kathy was appointed to Governor Malloy’s Sandy Hook Advisory Commission, a 16-member panel of experts created by the Governor to review current policy and make specific recommendations in the areas of public safety, with particular attention paid to school safety, mental health, and gun violence prevention. Combining her personal experience as a recipient of mental health services and her legal background, Kathy is able to speak to issues affecting those living with mental illness from a multi-faceted perspective. Kathy is a member of the Board of Directors of Lawyers Concerned for Lawyers-CT (the state’s lawyer assistance program), and the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement (CABLE). Kathy is currently the co-chair of the Keep the Promise Coalition, a coalition of advocates (people living with mental health conditions, family members, mental health professionals and interested community members) with a vision of a state in which people with mental health conditions are able to live successfully in the community because they have access to housing and other community-based supports and services that are recovery oriented, person-driven and holistic in their approach to wellness. She is also a member of the steering committee of the Connecticut Cross Disability Lifespan Alliance, an alliance of people of all ages with all disabilities who pursue a unified agenda. You can find Kathy on Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and Twitter @ConnConnection Clips: Hartford Courant, September 2018: Connecticut — Newington included — needs more affordable housing Hartford Courant, May 2018: Hartford's Minor League, Let's Embrace It Hartford Courant, March 2018: My birth certificate is ‘fake news’ Kathy is available as a source and for personal essays and opinion editorial Additional communication availability: Phone, text, chat, videoconference Languages: English (Fluent) Law, Housing, Employment, Medicaid/SSDI, SNAP, State Benefits, State Budgets, Legal Aid, Disability Rights
Expertise Media, Accessibility, Travel
Bio Deaf since age five, Lisa is a freelance writer and photographer based in the Ozarks. She has had articles published in equitrekking.com, matadornetwork.com, Fresh Cup, INSIDE Bella Vista and Ozarks Farm & Neighbor. Lisa also has experience as a proofreader and copy editor. Her background includes web sites, magazine and book publishing, private label food packaging and loyalty marketing materials. Lisa has also worked as a pro bono social media contributor for Watts of Love, a global solar light distribution nonprofit. Additional communication availability: Text, videoconference (sign language)
Expertise Media, Pop Culture, Books, Film, Television, Theatre, Poetry, Fiction, Music, Politics, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, History, Criticism, Americans with Disabilities Act, Feminism, Religion, Disability
Bio Grace Lapointe is a writer from Massachusetts who has cerebral palsy. Her fiction has appeared in Kaleidoscope, Deaf Poets Society, and Mobius: The Journal of Social Change. Her essays have appeared in Thought Catalog, Wordgathering, as part of Grub Street's Why I Write series, and in The Body is not an Apology. Her interests include disability studies, literary criticism, fiction writing, personal essays, politics, film, and music. As an intern at Beacon Press in 2013, she wrote publicity materials for A Disability History of the US by Kim Nielsen. Grace is also a contributor at Book Riot.
Expertise Books, Theatre, Poetry, Fiction, Philosophy, Disability Culture, Accessibility, History, Criticism, Disability, Service Animals, Technology
Bio M. Leona Godin is a writer, actor, artist, and educator who is blind. She is currently working on Seeing & Not-Seeing: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness with Pantheon Books. Godin received her PhD in English Literature from NYU. Her writing has appeared in such diverse publications as PLAYBOY, O Magazine, and Catapult, where she writes a column called “A Blind Writer's Notebook.” She founded Aromatica Poetica as a venue for exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste, an online magazine not specifically for, but welcoming to, blind readers and writers. As an actor and director, Godin wrote and produced two theatrical productions in New York City: The Star of Happiness, which is based on Helen Keller’s time performing on vaudeville (1920-24), and The Spectator & the Blind Man, set in 18th century France, which tells the history of the invention of braille. Godin has given talks and lectures on art, accessibility, technology, and blindness in venues from the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville to NYU's Tandon School of Engineering. Having grown up in San Francisco and spent many years in New York, Godin and her partner Alabaster have temporarily ensconced themselves in Denver. M. Leona Godin is a writer, actor, artist, and educator who is blind. She is currently working on Seeing & Not-Seeing: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness with Pantheon Books. Godin received her PhD in English Literature from NYU. Her writing has appeared in such diverse publications as PLAYBOY, O Magazine, and Catapult, where she writes a column called “A Blind Writer's Notebook.” She founded Aromatica Poetica as a venue for exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste, an online magazine not specifically for, but welcoming to, blind readers and writers. As an actor and director, Godin wrote and produced two theatrical productions in New York City: The Star of Happiness, which is based on Helen Keller’s time performing on vaudeville (1920-24), and The Spectator & the Blind Man, set in 18th century France, which tells the history of the invention of braille. Godin has given talks and lectures on art, accessibility, technology, and blindness in venues from the American Printing House for the Blind in Louisville to NYU's Tandon School of Engineering. Having grown up in San Francisco and spent many years in New York, Godin and her partner Alabaster have temporarily ensconced themselves in Denver.
Expertise Media, Pop Culture, Film, Television, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Criticism, Feminism, LGBQT, Disability, Lifestyle
Bio Elyse Wanshel is a reporter for HuffPost, based in New York. She previously worked as a humor/nightlife columnist for the Miami New Times and misses Cuban coffee and croquetas dearly.
Expertise Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, LGBQT, Disability, Technology
Bio Emerson College graduate with extensive experience in digital media, esports, and geek culture, especially where it intersects with the disabled and/or queer communities. Expert in online community-building with a focus on inclusivity and accessibility.
Expertise Media, Pop Culture, Books, Music, Politics, Philosophy, Disability Culture, Accessibility, Disability Rights, Americans with Disabilities Act, Feminism, Religion, Disability, Relationships, Sexuality, Travel, Lifestyle, Beauty
Bio Gaelynn Lea won NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest in 2016, and she's been on the road ever since playing her unique mix of haunting original songs and traditional fiddle tunes. So far the singer-songwriter and violinist has appeared in 43 states and 7 countries - she's graced the stage of renowned venues like Nashville’s Music City Roots, The Kennedy Center, House of Blues and even BBC World News. “The way her voice resonates is so unusual and beautiful, like nothing I’ve ever heard before.” (Jess Wolfe, Lucius) In addition to performing and recording, Gaelynn also does speaking engagements about disability rights, finding inner freedom, and accessibility in the arts. In recent years, she has used her music as a platform to advocate for people with disabilities and to promote positive social change. Gaelynn is currently working on a memoir about her touring adventures and disability advocacy that she plans to release in 2022.