As a deaf writer, I love reading the many works by deaf and hard-of-hearing authors. Here is a curated list of some of my favorite deaf authors, both past and present.
Born in Melbourne, Australia, Asphyxia likes to keep much of her personal life personal. That includes going by the nickname Asphyxia. She is a Deaf artist, writer, activist, and public speaker who was creative from a young age. Originally wanting to be a ballerina, she was instead met with discrimination and rejected by the Australian Ballet School, according to her blog. So, she joined the Circus Oz and specialized in trapeze and hoop. She later learned about puppeteering and created her own touring show called The Grimstones. This show turned into a series of books, which won the APA Book Design Awards Best Designed Children’s Series in 2013.
Books: Hatched, Mortimer Revealed, Whirlwind, Music School, Future Girl
Cecelia Carolina Bell, also known as Cece Bell, was born December 26, 1970, in Richmond, Virginia. Bell is a children’s book author and illustrator. One of her books, El Deafo, won the Eisner Award. It was the first graphic novel to win the Newbery Honor. It is about her life growing up as a oral deaf person.
Books: El Deafo, the Geisel Honor-winning Rabbit & Robot: The Sleepover, Rabbit & Robot and Ribbit, I Yam a Donkey, Bee-Wigged, Itty Bitty, and the Sock Monkey series
Cheyenna Clearbrook was born on February 10, 1999, to a deaf family. She is a YouTuber who creates a variety of content from clothing videos to travel blogs to Deaf identity. Clearbrook starred in the mini-series “Deaf U.” She self-published a book of poetry.
Book: She Carries the Sword – A book of poetry based on her experiences in life.
Read more: Check out these YouTubers with hearing loss
Michael Chorost was born December 26, 1964 in Elizabeth, New Jersey. Later in life, Chorost got a cochlear implant, which would be the catalyst for his first book Rebuild: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human. Chorost got his B.A. from Brown University and PhD from UT-Austin. He is a freelance science writer who believes that his body is the future, and often speaks on cochlear implants. He is currently working on a sci-fi novel.
Books: World Wide Mind: The Coming Integration of Humanity, Machines, and the Internet, Rebuilt: How Becoming Part Computer Made Me More Human
Matt Daigle, also known as That Deaf Guy, is a stay-at-home father and cartoonist. He was born in San Antonio, Texas, and graduated from Northern State with a B.A. in advertising and graphic design. His social media is full of comic strips that depict life experiences as a Deaf person.
Books: That Deaf Guy: A Wild Ride!, That Deaf Guy: A Family Portrait – Both are comic books.
Many met Haben Girma when she was labeled the White House Champion of Change by former President Barak Obama. Girma is the first deafblind person to graduate from Harvard Law School. She uses her degree to fight for the rights of those with disabilities.
Book: Haben: The Deafblind Woman Who Conquered Harvard Law
Dr. Ernest Hairson is a leader in the Black Deaf community. He lost hearing at five due to spinal meningitis. Later, he graduated from the segregated West Virginia School for the Deaf. He is one of the founding members of Black Deaf Advocates. Hairston earned his master’s in administration and supervision at CSUN and his PhD in special education administration at Gallaudet University.
Books: Black and Deaf in America, Are We That Different? (co-author with Linwood Smith) – An in-depth look at some of the problems of the Black Deaf community, including undereducation and underemployment.
Born November 26, 1998, Chella Man is an actor, activist, model, and artist. He describes himself as a Deaf, genderqueer, trans-masculine, Chinese, and Jewish person. He uses social media and public speaking to be a role model for others. Aside from playing Jericho in the DC Universe’s digital series “Titans,” he also was recently awarded the Attitude Hero Award. In this published essay, he addresses the question, “What constructs in your life must you unlearn to support inclusivity and respect for all?”
“In this published essay, he addresses the question, ‘What constructs in your life must you unlearn to support inclusivity and respect for all?'”
Read more: Who is the deaf activist, Chella Man?
Sarah Nović was born in 1987. She is a Deaf rights activist who graduated from Columbia University with a masters in fine arts. Nović’s book Girl at War won her the 2016 Baileys Women’s Prize for Fiction. She wrote a collection of essays featuring inspiring immigrants and a novel about the Yugoslavian civil war as told through a 10-year-old’s eyes. Her latest novel takes place at a boarding school for the deaf.
Books: America is Immigrants, Girl at War, True Biz
Josh Swiller grew up deaf and mainstreamed in New York City, and has been on a journey ever since. According to his website he “studied literature at Yale, fought fires and deforestation as a ranger in the California Redwoods and poverty and disease as a Peace Corps Volunteer in rural Zambia.” He was a Zen monk for 17 years, a professor at Gallaudet University and also studied with Peruvian shamans, osteopathic physicians and biodynamic craniosacral therapists. One thing that has remained consistent is his writing. He has written for the New York Times and Washington Post, among other publications.
His first book, The Unheard, is a memoir of deafness and Africa in which he details his Peace Corps experience through a deaf lens.This year he was given the 2021 Green Earth Book Award for his young adult novel, Bright Shining World. Penguin Random House describes it as “a darkly funny thriller about one boy’s attempt to unravel the mysterious phenomenon affecting students in his new town.”
Books: Bright Shining World, The Unheard
Jessica White was born in New South Wales and lost her hearing at four years old. She didn’t have her first deaf friend till she was in her 30s. Now she embraces her Deaf identity and Deaf Culture. She is also an environmental activist and hopes to bring change to the world while she is here. She’s written two novels and a work of creative non-fiction about her experiences with deafness.
Books: A Curious Intimacy, Entitlement, Hearing Maud: A Journey for a Voice
Mary Herring Wright was born in 1924 in Iron Mine, North Carolina. She started losing her hearing at the age of eight for unknown reasons. During World War II, she became a clerk for the Department of the Navy in Washington DC. She later received an honorary bachelor of arts degree from Gallaudet University.
Books: Sounds Like Home: Growing Up Black and Deaf in the South, Far From Home: Memories of World War II and Afterward
Do you have a book by a deaf or hard of hearing author that you’d like to suggest for the HLM Book Club? Let us know!
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