Books about Blind People, by Blind People – Fiona Woods
Listen to the audio recording here.
BCA recently held a Happy Hour to talk about books written by authors who are blind or vision impaired. There is often a tension between the author over-explaining for their sighted readers and the pleasure of having the world described in ways that are familiar to us. Books about blind people or blind characters can be as diverse as the people and experiences of the people writing them. The following books were mentioned and can be a useful source of information, education and entertainment. The list is not exhaustive. As with all literature, books reflect the eras in which they were written. Attitudes and expectations may have changed, but these authors remain in our minds as having something meaningful to say about life for a person who is blind or vision impaired. The good news is that most of these titles are available as human voice Daisy Audio in the Vision Australia Library. You could contact the library directly to check the availability of a braille copy.
Matilda Anne Aston: Memoirs of Tilly Aston
David Blunkett: The Blunkett Tapes: My Life in the Bear Pit
Ken Brandt: Positive Vision: enjoying the adventures and advantages of poor eyesight
Lucy Ching: One of The Lucky Ones
Harold Dickinson: Over the Next Hill
Nick Gleeson and Peter Bishop: The Many Ways of Seeing: A True Story of Blindness, Friendship and Adventure
Haben Girma: Haben
Mike Hingston: Thunderdog: The True Story of a Blind Man, His Guide Dog and The Triumph of Trust at Ground Zero
James Holman: A voyage round the World
John Hull: Touching the Rock
Graeme Innes: Finding a Way
Helen Keller: The Story of my Life and many other writings
Ryan Knighton: Cockeyed: A Memoir
Robert Kurson: Crashing Through: A True Story of Risk, Adventure & a Man Who Dared to See
Ron McCallum: Born at the Right Time
Erik Weihenmayer: Touch the Top of The World: A Blind Man’s Journey to Climb Further than the Eye Can See
Marie Younan: A Different kind of Seeing: My Journey
Although there are many novels with blind characters, we were not able to find many authors who describe themselves as blind or vision impaired when writing fiction. One exception is Red Szell, who has written Blind Trust. John Milton, Sue Townsend and Coleen McCullough are authors who continued to write whilst losing their sight. All of us at the Happy Hour were curious about other people who have written books on other topics, but who happen to be blind or vision impaired. Perhaps it is something like being female in an earlier age, which it was thought wiser not to disclose. The blindness community is far more diverse than what is reflected by the above list. I look forward to exploring the minds and lives of many other writers who are blind or vision impaired in the future.