Reader program selects books for 10th anniversary
Free copies of the selected text are available to NMU students on a first-come, first-served basis, and faculty are encouraged to incorporate it into their winter 2023 courses.
Sjunneson is an author, editor and professor. Her fiction and nonfiction writing has been praised as “eloquence and activism in lockstep.” She works to dismantle structural ableism and rebuild community support for disabled people everywhere.
The DCRP website describes her book as “a wide-ranging and illuminating expose of ableism as it shapes and limits our shared world. By turns wry and searing, the book addresses everything from ableist stereotypes in literature and media to dating while disabled. Elsa draws from both lived experience and extensive study of ableism in our culture, creating a highly engaging book for all readers, including those for whom this topic is brand new.”
Lesley Larkin, English professor and DCRP committee chair, said in a statement, “This is a terrific book for our program because it is compulsively readable, smart, often funny, and highly illuminating about experiences that have not been represented in our program before.
“This is the first book in DCRP’s 10-year history to focus on the experience of physical disability and to address directly the problem of ableism in our culture. I hope everyone will read it.”
Sjunneson’s partial vision in one eye and bilateral hearing aids are often compared to Helen Keller, who was also a deaf-blind American author and disability rights advocate. She hated being compared to Keller because she believed there were differences between them, but a TikTok conspiracy accusing Keller of being a fraud caused Sjunneson to defend her.
“The Helen Keller Exorcism” is a podcast that investigates the real story of Helen Keller. Sjunneson is also the subject of an award-winning PBS American Masters documentary, “Becoming Helen Keller.”