Introducing Reclamation Press

Listen to this post:

We have another disabled-led book publishing company!  Big cheers to Ibby Grace and Corbett OToole for launching Reclamation Press.

My friends, colleagues, and I spend an inordinate amount of time responding and reacting to non-disabled-created stories and media. It’s exasperating work.

  • You didn’t represent us well!

— Why are you so angry? (Conveniently avoids the “you didn’t represent us well” comment above.)

  • We have so much to say, but people keep asking non-disabled people to write about us.

— You need to check your attitude. You don’t know what you’re talking about. I work with differently-abled people. I know all about them! (Conveniently avoids addressing a whole lotta layers of bias.)

Actually, I’ve never seen a comment thread like this that’s nearly that tame. But that’s the drift, where people try to deflect critiques by telling disabled people we’re incapable of critiquing them. Even though we are doing it. Right there. And when you start to add in demands for fair and thoughtful representation around race, class, queerness, immigration status, or anything that challenges the supposed status quo? Forget it. It’s toxic.

When you have disabled-led space, so often we focus on what we choose to focus on instead of having to react. This is better than spending time hauling out the fire hose, pointing it what non-disabled people wrote about us, and trying to not collapse from the effort of having the water on full blast for forever. And I’m not saying that any given room full of disabled people is a happy unicorn convention. When we try to focus only on disability, there’s still transantagonism, white supremacy, anti-immigrant arguments, and plenty of defensiveness and even aggression and inaccessibility. The work simply must be addressing all of these parts and more. It must. Critiquing our, and others’, exclusion is not divisive. Exclusion is divisive.

And inclusion is not the opposite of exclusion. Because inclusion, how we do it here and now, is still primarily about non-disabled people (i.e. good, smart, correct, and with enough education) allowing certain disabled people into non-disabled space. Not all of us are interested in this show of approval from the very communities that have been excluding us. So to counter exclusion, we have these disabled-run presses that publish the work of disabled activists on their own lived experiences and from their own perspectives. It might not be inclusive because the roster is not a mix of disabled and non-disabled. But that’s the point. Disabled-led.

This has all been me going on. Let me turn to Reclamation Press.

Book covers for "Troubleshooting", "Fading Scars: My queer disability history", "The Kinda Fella I Am", and "Sustaining Spirit: Self care for social justice".

Here’s an image of their first four books and a description of Reclamation Press from their website: “We publish books by people within diverse disability communities. We seek authors living at intersections such as disability, race, and class. We strongly believe that people living at the junctions of multiple communities create books that expand our horizons and enrich the lives of individuals and communities.”

If you donate to the press right now, you can pre-order. Huzzah! The more support they get, the better they can expand their roster and provide more disabled writers of color publishing opportunities. This is something we all need more of.

Find Reclamation Press on Facebook and on Twitter too.