Adult fiction and non-fiction, poetry, YA, middle-grade and picture books – as disabled people working in publishing, these are our favourites. We looked for books with great representations of disability, by anyone. But the books we chose are all by disabled authors. Because unsurprisingly, they just do it better.
Making this list was an interesting process. we wanted great writing, disability or disabled characters at the forefront, and not bad performances that would make us cringe. all of which is easier said than done. disability has been exploited as a dramatic device in literature for centuries. getting away from that is going to take a while.
You are reading: Books by disabled authors
These books are all glorious exceptions. and all of these disabled authors deserve kudos, book sales, and plenty of cake/wine/insert chosen vice. Thank you very much to everyone who made recommendations on instagram. any list is highly subjective, but we look at all recommendations.
Whether you borrow them from libraries, buy them locally or online, or through our affiliate Blackwell’s links below, we hope you track down and enjoy some of these books.
note: we made this list as part of a presentation on disability representation for amazon. we got paid for our time, but we don’t do anything with the purchases there. We make a percentage of any order placed through the blackwell links on this page: our local bookstore, they deliver internationally, shipping included. you can also find our list on uk and us bookshop.
children and already – novels and memoirs
anthology for adults & nonfiction
Illustrated children’s books
for more disabled people who talk about books:
margaret kingsbury, the queen of disability book lists, has written about the current state of disability in children’s books for bookriot.
Nicola Griffith, author of So Lucky (one of the few fiction titles on our list) tracks fiction that passes the potato chip test here on her blog. (The potato chip test is intended to be an equivalent to the bechdel test for disability.)
jen campbell has some fascinating things to say about disfigurement and representation on her youtube channel. she has a particular interest in fairy tales.
Cindy Baldwin’s twitter thread on disability tropes in fiction is something everyone should read.
– lucy and james catchpole
image 1: a collage of all the adult books on our list, from being heumann to the visibility of disability
image 2: a collage of all the children’s books on our list, from can bears ski? one-sided for picasso.
images 3 to 24 are screenshots of the book covers.
image 25: a circular photo of lucy and james, sitting with a stack of books from the list.]