Author image: I’m standing to the side of and facing a six-foot canvas on which is painted a hyper-realistic close-up of my head (painting by Roy Nachum, photographed by Alabaster Rhumb)). photo if Elsa posing with head resting on a loose fist wearing a light blue sweater.

Browseabout Books with Lewes Public Library, 6/9 at 5pm ET: In Conversation with Elsa Sjunneson * Rehoboth Beach, DE (virtual)

In conversation with Elsa Sjunneson!

Join Browseabout Books and Lewes Public Library for a live, interactive conversation with M. Leona Godin, the author of There Plant Eyes: A Personal and Cultural History of Blindness, a probing, witty, and deeply insightful history of blindness—in Western culture and literature, and in the author’s own experience—that ranges from Homer and Milton to Louis Braille, Helen Keller, and Stevie Wonder.

Godin begins her fascinating, wide-ranging study with an exploration of how the idea of sight is inextricably linked with knowledge and understanding; how “blindness” has, for millennia, been used as a metaphor for ignorance; and how, in metaphorical terms, blindness can also be made to suggest a door to artistic or spiritual transcendence. And she makes clear how all of this has obscured the reality of blindness, as a consequence of which many blind people have to deal not just with their disability but also with expectations that they possess “superpowers.” Godin illuminates the often surprising history of both the physiological condition and the ideas that have attached to it. She incorporates an analysis of blindness in art and literature (from King Lear to Star Wars) and culture (assumptions of the blind as pure and magically wise) with a study of the science of blindness and key developments in accessibility (the white cane, embossed printing, digital technology) and a recounting of her own experience of gradually losing sight over the course of three decades. Altogether, Godin gives us a revelation of the centrality of blindness and vision to humanity’s understanding of itself and the world.

M. Leona Godin is a writer, performer, and educator who is blind. Her writing has appeared in The New York TimesPlayboyOThe Oprah Magazine; and Catapult, where she writes the column, “A Blind Writer’s Notebook.” She was a 2019 Logan Nonfiction Fellow and has written and produced two theatrical productions: The Star of Happiness, based on Helen Keller’s time performing on vaudeville, and The Spectator & the Blind Man, about the invention of Braille. She founded the online magazine Aromatica Poetica as a venue for exploring the arts and sciences of smell and taste; not specifically for, but welcoming to, blind readers and writers. She holds a PhD in English Literature from NYU and has lectured on art, accessibility, disability, and technology at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, Rice University, and the American Printing House for the Blind, among other venues.

Elsa Sjunneson is a Deafblind author and editor living in Seattle, Washington. Her fiction and nonfiction writing has been praised as “eloquence and activism in lockstep” and has been published in dozens of venues around the world. She has been a Hugo Award finalist seven times, and has won Hugo, Aurora, and BFA awards for her editorial work. When she isn’t writing, Sjunneson works to dismantle structural ableism and rebuild community support for disabled people everywhere.  Her debut memoir, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism releases in October of 2021 from Tiller Press.

We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book from Browseabout Books by clicking HERE. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed archival bookplate.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

If you have need assistance with registration or getting your Zoom invitation, please email us.

Basic written instructions for using Zoom may be found here and a brief video tutorial may be found here. Closed captioning is available for this session. Information on enabling closed captioning in Zoom may be found here.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.

We invite you to support the author by purchasing a copy of their book. Call-in orders are accepted at (302) 226-2665 or you can stop by the store to purchase a copy. For store hours, please visit their website. Each copy purchased comes with a signed archival bookplate.

NOTE: this meeting is being conducted through Zoom. You MUST REGISTER to receive instructions for joining the meeting.

This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.

 

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