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WRITTEN ON THE BODY: A Conversation about Disability

Photography by Douglas Gorenstein


On April 18, 2006, a group of writers—and actors, directors, and filmmakers—gathered at HBO headquarters in New York City to discuss how to write about disability today. The conversation focused on how to create authentic portrayals of disability. The panel discussed what distinguished authentic portrayals from clichéd, symbolic, or token representations of disability. Panelists spoke of disability as a minority “whose stories had not been told,” and emphasized the natural connections between disability and other social issues (poverty, race, sexuality, family). In describing their experiences writing about disability, the panel stressed the importance of research and disabled-nondisabled dialogue and collaboration. Several panelists and speakers identified themselves as resources for writers seeking consultation and guidance in writing about disability.

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Taken on April 19, 2006