Thursday, June 16, 2011

Top ten disability stories

Katharine Quarmby is a writer, journalist and film-maker specializing in social affairs, education, foreign affairs and politics, with an investigative and campaigning edge. She has spent most of her working life as a journalist and has made many films for the BBC, as well as working as a correspondent for The Economist, contributing to British broadsheets, including the Guardian, Sunday Times and the Telegraph. She is now an associate editor at Prospect magazine.

Scapegoat, her first non-fiction book on disability hate crime for adults, is now available in the UK.

One of Quarmby's top ten disability stories, as told to the Guardian:
Lord of the Flies, by William Golding (1954)

In this very disturbing novel about "othering" and boundaries, it is worth noting that the three children who are picked off by the others have impairments or physical or mental vulnerabilities. "Little'un," the first one to disappear, has a facial disfigurement. The next is Simon, who has fainting spells and whose mental health deteriorates on the island. But perhaps the most tragic is Piggy, clearly the most intellectually and morally clear-sighted of the boys, he is murdered. He has asthma, is teased by the others for his obesity and is also short-sighted.
Read about another story on the list.

Lord of the Flies is on AbeBooks' list of 20 books of shattered childhoods and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Stephen King. It appears on John Mullan's lists of ten of the best pigs in literature, ten of the best pairs of glasses in literature, and ten of the best horrid children in literature, and William Skidelsky's list of ten of the best accounts of being marooned in literature. It is a book that made a difference to Isla Fisher.

--Marshal Zeringue