VIU student SB Smith unveils Disabled Voices Anthology in the Malaspina Theatre lobby on March 11. (Josef Jacobson/The News Bulletin)

VIU student unveils anthology of work by disabled writers and artists

‘Disabled Voices Anthology’ launch to be held in Malaspina Theatre lobby

A Vancouver Island University student has gathered together works by disabled writers and artists to give them a place to tell their own stories in their own words.

“There are definitely a lot of myths and underrepresentation of disabled people in media in general and, I think, in cultural texts in general and I’m pretty sick of that, personally, and I know a lot of us are,” said SB Smith, who is physically disabled and chronically ill.

On March 11 Smith unveils Disabled Voices Anthology in the Malaspina Theatre lobby. The book launch will feature readings from some of the book’s local contributors as well as a discussion segment.

“In this anthology there are disabled people telling their own stories, writing their own characters and their own fiction and poetry and whatnot and that to me, as a writer, is my ethical ideal,” Smith said. “I love the idea of people telling their own stories and not stepping outside of those bounds as much as possible.”

Disabled Voices Anthology is a project two years in the making. At that time Smith was being introduced to a lot of disabled literature, which she refers to as “Crip Lit,” but was having difficulty finding more of those writers.

“It just felt like there was a need for more anthologies of disabled writing and art and places where people can go and get introductions to it,” she said. “Because when I was first coming into my own disabled identity and sort of owning that and as a writer I was finding tidbits here and there, but Google searches [for] the word ‘disabled,’ the algorithm doesn’t work very well so [one] can’t really find much.”

Around that time Smith was taking a publishing course at VIU and attended a presentation by Lori Shwydky of Rebel Mountain Press, a Nanoose Bay-based book publisher that specializes in work by writers belonging to marginalized groups. At the end of class, Smith pitched her idea for Disabled Voices Anthology.

Shwydky said she was immediately intrigued by Smith’s proposal and knew it would fit Rebel Mountain’s mandate perfectly.

“At the time, I was totally unaware that there was such a thing as Crip Lit [or] culture, and I have become much more aware since then from working with [Smith], and the contributor pieces,” Shwydky said in an e-mail. “I am excited that this anthology will help create that awareness about disability culture for others.”

To collect material for the book, Smith put a call out on social media and reached out to her acquaintances in the disabled community to spread the word. Other writers and artists she contacted directly.

Smith ended up including in Disabled Voices Anthology poetry, non-fiction, essays, personal stories, short fiction, as well as visual art like sketches and photographs from contributors in Canada, the United States and the United Kingdom.

She said it was important to have some international representation, even if it’s limited to the Western Hemisphere.

“That’s what I wanted to go for because I think disability is something that crosses the boundaries of culture and place,” she said.

WHAT’S ON … Disabled Voices Anthology launch takes place in the Malaspina Theatre lobby, VIU Bldg. 310, on Wednesday, March 11 at 7 p.m.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter


Just Posted

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

UPDATED: Man dies from injuries at Custom House construction site in Victoria

Government Street remains closed as investigation continues

Oak Bay sailor stranded in U.S. hospital after suffering massive stroke at sea

Glenn Wakefield’s rescue involved five airplanes and took more than 48 hours

Nanaimo RCMP shut down illegal racing and stunt driving site at Duke Point

Police “swoop in” to seize vehicles and issue violation tickets

First storm of the season expected to hit Vancouver Island tonight

Environment Canada has issued a storm warning with wind, and rain that could last into the weekend

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

VIJHL season could start Oct. 1, says league president

League awaiting final approval from local health authorities and viaSport

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

Nanaimo-North Cowichan MLA Doug Routley seeks reelection

Routley has served as MLA for the area since 2005.

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

B.C. ELECTION: Island MLA Adam Olsen says NDP is sacrificing health for politics

Olsen acknowledges situation of a snap election is not ideal for BC Greens,

Babchuk nominated as NDP candidate

Seeks to replace outgoing MLA Claire Trevena

Most Read