Recommendation Wednesday: Nothing Without Us

This anthology, published by Renaissance Press, is currently on Kickstarter! I’ve been following along with this project since they asked for author submissions in fall 2018, and the authors they accepted are incredible (and I’m sure it was incredibly difficult to narrow it down). I am really looking forward to this anthology.

Nothing Without Us cover art. Image from Renaissance Press.

The Kickstarter is off to a great start, already at over 25% after only two days live.

And there was a delay of a few hours in it going live, because the title of one of the stories is “CharityTM“, and Kickstarter bans any charity work on their platform. Once the issue was straightened out, however, they quickly got to 10% of their goal.

You may recognize the name of the publisher. That’s because they publish Blush! They also publish a diverse variety of books, including several by the author of the other half of this blog; Éric Desmarais.

Here is the summary of the new anthology Nothing Without Us, direct from the Kickstarter itself:

For the most part, people who are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness are faced with stories about us that are crafted by people who really don’t get us.

Nothing Without Us combines both realistic and speculative fiction and stars protagonists who are written by us and for us. These are bold tales, told in our voices, which are important for everyone to experience.

Why we’re doing this

According to Statistics Canada’s 2017 Canadian Survey on Disability, more than one in five people is currently living with a disability. If one were to go by how many disabled people we see in fiction or on the screen, however, it would be reasonable to assume disabled people are as rare and misunderstood as unicorns. Even worse, when we are represented, we are lonely, unhappy, searching for a cure, and we often die tragically to inspire the protagonist of the story (who is never disabled themself) or find a magical cure (and inspire the protagonist.) It’s very clear most of these stories are being written by people who do not have those lived experiences; an unsurprising fact, considering that people who are disabled, Deaf, neurodiverse, Spoonie, and/or who manage mental illness are chronically both underpaid and underemployed.

Spoonies to the rescue

After publishing her first novel, Cait Gordon was invited to speak on several panels, most of which were about disability visibility in fiction. She rapidly found that panel after panel, members of the public would ask her to recommend books where protagonists were disabled, as opposed to them only being side characters, and she found that she could barely name any title. So, with the help of her BFF, activist Talia Johnson, she decided to assemble this anthology to showcase not only what disabled characters, but also what disabled authors, are capable of. 

Renaissance Press is a small, independently owned Canadian publisher dedicated to uplifting the voices of marginalized people. When Cait approached us with this anthology project, we recognized it as exactly the kind of project we love to champion: own-voices fiction written by a majority of marginalized people whose stories also show the intersectionality of marginalized communities. We’re very proud and excited to be able to present Nothing Without Us to you.

If you’re enjoying the Blush blogs, consider learning more with Blush: The Card Game from Renaissance Press.