Today, my friend, Maggie Hampton, launches her book – Living Where the Nights Jive, published by Parthian. It recounts the stories of nine disabled women, most of whom are from Wales and all of whom are involved in the arts in some way, either as writers, actors, visual artists or singers. Maggie interviewed and recorded all nine of the women, then crafted a narrative of the women’s stories, using their own words.
I got to know Maggie back in 2002 when I first started offering workshops for writers with disabilities through Disability Arts Cymru. Maggie is the inspirational director of this organisation that’s dedicated to making the arts more accessible for disabled people in Wales. Several of the women whose stories are included in Living Where the Nights Jive have been participants in my workshops at some stage or other and it’s particularly wonderful to see their stories featured in the book. As Maggie says in her Introduction to the volume:
‘Happily, the women in this book are made of pretty stern stuff. Without exception, all have waded through countless barriers imposed by educational establishments, health systems or workplaces which are shored up by ignorance and thoughtlessness…But these women are the winners; the urge to create art is a real driving force with them.’
I’ll be doing an interview/chat with Maggie about the book at the launch later today and feel very happy to be part of the celebrations!