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Join us for the virtual book launch celebrating Golem Girl by Riva Lehrer! For this Zoom event, Riva will be in conversation with Audrey Niffenegger.
This event will include ASL interpretation and closed captioning.
What do we sacrifice in the pursuit of normalcy? And what becomes possible when we embrace monstrosity? Can we envision a world that sees impossible creatures?
In 1958, amongst the children born with spina bifida is Riva Lehrer. At the time, most such children are not expected to survive. Her parents and doctors are determined to "fix" her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken. That she will never have a job, a romantic relationship, or an independent life. Enduring countless medical interventions, Riva tries her best to be a good girl and a good patient in the quest to be cured.
Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark--it rejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic, frightening, or worthless. They insist that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks if she can paint their portraits--inventing an intimate and collaborative process that will transform the way she sees herself, others, and the world. Each portrait story begins to transform the myths she's been told her whole life about her body, her sexuality, and other measures of normal.
Written with the vivid, cinematic prose of a visual artist, and the love and playfulness that defines all of Riva's work, Golem Girl is an extraordinary story of tenacity and creativity. With the author's magnificent portraits featured throughout, this memoir invites us to stretch ourselves toward a world where bodies flow between all possible forms of what it is to be human.
"Golem Girl is luminous; a profound portrait of the artist as a young--and mature--woman; an unflinching social history of disability over the last six decades; and a hymn to life, love, family, and spirit."--David Mitchell, author of Cloud Atlas
Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer, and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality or gender identity have long been stigmatized. A longtime faculty member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Riva Lehrer is currently an instructor in medical humanities at Northwestern University. More at rivalehrerart.com.
Audrey Niffenegger is a visual artist and author. In addition to the bestselling novels The Time Traveler’s Wife and Her Fearful Symmetry, she is the author of four illustrated novels, The Three Incestuous Sisters, The Adventuress, Raven Girl, and The Night Bookmobile, and the editor of Ghostly. She also collaborated with Eddie Campbell on the graphic story collection Bizarre Romance. She lives in Chicago.