Creative Arts & Disability Justice: A Night with Susan Nussbaum (10/30/2014)


Please Join us to hear from an amazing disability rights/justice organizer, writer, and artist – Susan Nussbaum.

In addition to the evening event from 6-8pm, she will also be talking about her activism in relation to the novel in the afternoon from 1:00-2:30 pm, in SAC 254.

Susan Nussbaum is a playwright, novelist, and longtime disability rights activist.    Nussbaum started one of the earliest groups for girls with disabilities, the Empowered Fe Fes. For her work with disabled girls over the years, she was named as one of 50 Visionaries Who are Changing Your World by the Utne Reader in 2008.

She won the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction for her novel Good Kings, Bad Kings. Proclaimed by the Chicago Tribune as a “joy for readers” and “saucy, brutally funny, gritty, profane, poignant and real” by the Kansas City Star, Good Kings, Bad Kings is inspired by Nussbaum’s personal experiences.  Told in alternating perspectives by a varied and vocal cast of characters, this groundbreaking book pulls back the curtain to reveal the complicated life inside the walls of an institution for young adults with disabilities.  From Yessenía Lopez, who dreams of her next boyfriend and of one day living outside those walls; to Teddy Dobbs, a kid who dresses up daily in a full suit and tie; to Mia Oviedo, who guards a terrifying secret; to Joanne Madsen, the new data-entry clerk who suddenly finds herself worrying about her own complicity in an ugly system, Nussbaum has crafted a multifaceted portrait of a way of life hidden from most of us. In this isolated institution on Chicago’s South Side, friendships are forged, trust is built, love affairs are kindled, and resistance begins.

“After I became a wheelchair-user in the late ‘70s, I joined the disability rights movement,” says Nussbaum. “So I’m always interested in giving a true voice to disabled characters, who are multidimensional people, far more complex than the stereotypical characters that tend to dominate in fiction.”