We’re thrilled to partner with Independence Inc. and the Raven Book Store as part of the 2021 Paper Plains Literary Festival to present Rebekah Taussig in conversation with Hannah Soyer.
Growing up as a paralyzed girl during the 90s and early 2000s, Rebekah Taussig only saw disability depicted as something monstrous (The Hunchback of Notre Dame), inspirational (Helen Keller), or angelic (Forrest Gump). None of this felt right; and as she got older, she longed for more stories that allowed disability to be complex and ordinary, uncomfortable and fine, painful and fulfilling.
In Sitting Pretty she writes about the rhythms and textures of what it means to live in a body that doesn’t fit. Rebekah reflects on everything from the complications of kindness and charity, living both independently and dependently, experiencing intimacy, and how the pervasiveness of ableism in our everyday media directly translates to everyday life.
Disability affects all of us, directly or indirectly, at one point or another. By exploring this truth in poignant and lyrical essays, Taussig illustrates the need for more stories and more voices to understand the diversity of humanity. Sitting Pretty challenges us as a society to be patient and vigilant, practical and imaginative, kind and relentless, as we set to work to write an entirely different story.
Rebekah Taussig, Ph.D. is a Kansas City writer and teacher with her doctorate in Creative Nonfiction and Disability Studies. She has led workshops and presentations at the University of Michigan, University of Kansas, and Davidson College on disability representation, identity, and community. She is also the recipient of the Hefner Heitz Kansas Book Award in Literary Nonfiction for Sitting Pretty. The award is sponsored by the Center for Kansas Studies, the Thomas Fox Averill Kansas Studies Collection at Mabee Library and the Friends of Mabee Library. You can find Taussig on Instagram @sitting_pretty.
Hannah Soyer is a queer disabled writer and MFA candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Kansas. She is the founder of This Body is Worthy, a project aimed at celebrating bodies outside of mainstream societal ideals, and Words of Reclamation, a space for disabled writers.
Independence, Inc. is a non-profit Center for Independent Living serving as a resource for Lawrence, Kansas and surrounding counties through our mission to maximize the independence of people with disabilities through advocacy, peer support, training, transportation and community education.