AHEAD Handout 2012 Session: #10.6
Program Title: Characters with Disabilities in Contemporary Fiction: Positive Portrayals
- Edith F. Miller, Ed.D., Delta Alpha Pi International Honor Society
- Julianne Albiero-Walton, Ed.D., East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania
This presentation examines the positive, non-stereotyped portrayal of characters with disabilities in contemporary fiction by discussing several examples the presenters have discovered and enjoyed. Session participants are requested to bring their own examples to discuss so that we may begin to compile a bibliography of such fiction.
Criteria for consideration:
- Work and characters must be fictional; biographies, autobiographies, memoirs, and historical fiction are excluded.
- Fiction must be directed toward an adult audience; children’s and adolescent fiction are excluded.
- The work must be contemporary fiction, preferably published since 2000, but definitely post-ADA.
- The character with a disability must be an adult and a protagonist, or main character.
- The character with a disability must be three-dimensional and engage in the same type of experiences, problems, emotions and relationships as have countless fictional characters without disabilities.
Preliminary Annotated Bibliography of Contemporary Fiction: Protagonists with Disabilities
Boyle, T.C., (2006). Talk Talk. Dr. Dana Halter, protagonist, is deaf. Story deals with concepts of identity and identity theft.
Steel, Danielle. (2007). Sisters. Four sisters come together after a terrible car accident that kills their mother and results in the loss of sight of one of the sisters who is an artist.
Horror & Fantasy
Jemisin, N. K., (2010). The Broken Kingdoms. In this second of the “Inheritance Trilogy,” Oree Shoth, is the main character, a demon who is blind but has magical sight.
Mystery & Thriller
Crosby, Ellen. “Wine country series” with Lucie Montgomery who is the vineyard owner and has a physical disability that causes her to us a cane for ambulation.
- The Merlot Murders (2006)
- The Chardonnay Charade (2007)
- The Bordeaux Betrayal (2008)
- The Riesling Retribution (2009)
- The Vintage Vendetta (2010)
- The Sauvignon Secret (2011)
Deaver, Jeffrey. “Lincoln Rhyme” series with Lincoln Rhyme is a criminologist and quadriplegic. His partner, Amelia Sachs, experiences difficulties with arthritis.
- The Bone Collector (1997)
- The Coffin Dancer (1998)
- The Empty Chair (2000)
- The Stone Monkey (2002)
- The Vanished Man (2003)
- The Twelfth Card (2005)
- The Cold Moon (2006)
- The Broken Window (2008)
- The Burning Wire (2010)
Sansom, C. J. “Tudor series” with Matthew Shardlake, a lawyer and sergeant in the Courts of London and an individual with a hunchback.
- Dissolution (2003)
- Dark Fire (2004)
- Sovereign (2006)
- Revelation (2008)
- Heartstone (2010)
Todd, Charles. “Ian Rutledge series” in which Ian Rutledge is a Scotland Yard Inspector who has experienced “shell shock” as it was called after World War I, but we would identify as PTSD.
- A Test of Wills (1996)
- Wings of Fire (1999)
- Search the Dark (2000)
- Watchers of Time (2001)
- Legacy of the Dead (2001)
- A Fearsome Doubt (2003)
- A Cold Treachery (2005)
- A Long Shadow (2006)
- A False Mirror (2007)
- A Pale Horse (2008)
- A Matter of Justine (2009)
- The Red Door (2010)
- The Kidnapping (2010)
- A Lonely Death (2011)
- The Confession (2012)
Christina Dodd, (1991). Candle in the Window. Lady Saura of Roget, protagonist, is blind, as is her counterpart, Sir William of Miravel, but his blindness is temporary.
Feehan, Christine, (2010). Water Bound. Rikki Sitmore, main character, is autistic and a water element.
Kurland, Lynn, (1997). This Is All I Ask. Sir Christopher Blackmour is a knight known as the Dragon of Blackmour; he is blind.
Horror / Fantasy
Ward, J. R. The “Black Dagger Brotherhood” Series
Dark Lover (2005) Book One: Wrath’s Story – Wrath is king of the vampires and leader of the Brotherhood a group of protectors/ avengers of the slayers. He has a genetic condition resulting in blindness. Throughout the series, his loss of vision is mentioned and he acquires a dog named George as a service animal.
Lover Enshrined (2008) Book six: Phury’s Story. Phury a member of the brotherhood has a prostheses and recovering addict.
Lover Mine (2010) Book Nine: John Matthew’s Story . John Matthew is a member of the brotherhood who doesn’t have a voice and uses ASL.
Hecht, Daniel. Skull Session (1998) Paul Skoglund has Tourette’s syndrome, a attempts to solve a crime while finding demonic elements at work.
Taylor, Larime. Hell watch- Pilot (October 8, 2011) http://www.larimetaylor.com/hellwatchpilot.pdf Serial novel Publication Date: October 8, 2011. Ester Vasquez, born with arthrogryposis, hunts the monsters and demons and captures them with exorcisms.
Alexander, Bruce. Sir John Fielding Historical Mystery. Sir John Fielding or the Beak of Bow Street was in a naval accident and blinded. He investigated crime (murders) in London a hundred years before Sherlock Holmes with the help of a young apprentice, Jeremy Proctor. Sir John Fielding was a real-life 18th century magistrate and founder of the Bow Street Runners.
- Blind Justice (1994)
- Murder in Grub Street (1996)
- Watery Grave (1996)
- Jack, Knave and Fool (1998)
- Death of a Colonial (1999)
- The Color of Death (2000)
- Smuggler’s Moon (2001)
- An Experiment In Treason (2003)
- Rules of Engagement (2005)
Harris, Charlaine. Harper Connelly Mysteries . Harper was struck by lightning at 15 and left with a weakness in her right leg, constant headaches, shakes and an ability to find dead people.
- Grave sight.(2005)
- Grave Surprise.(2006)
- An Ice Cold Grave. (2007)
- Grave Secret. (2009)
Palmer, Michael. The Second Opinion (2009) Dr. Thea Sperelakis, was diagnosed as a teen with Asperger’s syndrome, has a brilliant medical mind, and a remarkable recall of details. She solves her father’s “accident” and discovers betrayals.
Fiction (“Chick Lit”)
Kaufman, J. and Mack, K. A Version of the Truth (2009) Cassie Shaw, a reinvents herself—with unexpected consequences—after being told she was “dumb” and “stupid” all her life because her dyslexia made traditional learning difficult.