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.

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