Trinity College talks to explore portrayal of disability in literature

The Trinity series will address the representation of disability in the works of several well-known writers including Charles Dickens and Christy Brown, above

The Trinity series will address the representation of disability in the works of several well-known writers including Charles Dickens and Christy Brown, above

Thu, Jan 9, 2014, 10:54

How disability is represented in children’s literature will be explored at a public talk in Trinity College Dublin next Monday, January 13th, at 7pm in the Trinity Long Room Hub. The talk is the first of seven free public talks which will analyse how disability has been written about in literature.

Dr Paul Delaney, assistant professor in English, said: “In Irish and international literature disability is typically represented in terms of shame, punishment, evil, lack or pity and it is unusual for a main character to be a person with disabilities. However, more than one billion people currently live with disability around the world and their representation has critical impact on their stigma and marginalisation. This series will explore some of these traditional patterns of representation. It will also engage with positive images of disabled people in literature, by disabled and non-disabled writers. By exploring how disability is represented in literature and by analysing works by disabled and non-disabled writers the series seeks to place issues of disability and writing central stage.”

Organised by Trinity’s School of English in conjunction with Trinity’s MSc in Disability Studies, the Disability and Literature lecture series will feature contributions from Trinity academics from the School of English and the National Institute for Intellectual Disability (School of Social Work and Social Policy) as well as the Centre for Deaf Studies. The series will also include speakers from the Disability Federation of Ireland, Arts & Disability Ireland and from the field of the contemporary arts.

The series will begin with a talk on children’s literature and disability with contributions from children’s author and former Laureate na nÓg Siobhan Parkinson, Dr Amanda Piesse, associate professor in English, Trinity, and Audrey Baker, St Patrick’s College, Drumcondra.

Other lectures will address the representation of disability in war writing, deaf people and literature as well as the representation of disability in the works of several well-known writers including Charles Dickens and Christy Brown.

The closing talk on Monday, February 7th will feature readings by contemporary disabled Irish artists. All talks will be signed by an ISL interpreter.