The book firmly dispels the myth that autistic people lack imagination or the ability to work creatively

Creativity in Autism (Emerald publishing) is a new book by Dr Clare Lawrence and Olivia Macnab, published this month.

Clare is Associate Professor of Participatory Autism Research at Bishop Grosseteste University (BGU), and has been a writer, researcher and autism advocate for nearly 20 years. Olivia Macnab graduated from BGU in 2023 with a first-class degree in Applied Drama and is now working as a freelance creative practitioner.

The book firmly dispels the myth that autistic people lack imagination or the ability to work creatively, especially regarding language. The book reports on two recent projects undertaken at BGU: a Shared Reading project, where excerpts from literature were used as a scaffold for autistic people to discuss their lived experience of autism, and a Creative Writing group that brought together voices to explore and articulate neurodiversity through the written word.

Olivia said: “I'm so excited to put this work out into the world. I think it's incredibly important for everyone to gain an understanding of the autistic experience, and a book like this - featuring the creative expression of autistic people - is one of the most valuable ways of doing it.”

According to Clare, the book foregrounds autistic people in so many aspects as contributors – all of the people who have worked together to create this book identify as members of the wider autistic community, from writers, group members, designers, cover illustrators and the foreword writer. She said: “We were privileged, too, that Helen Kara wrote our introduction. She is a renowned expert in this field and her endorsement means a great deal”.

There will be a formal launch celebration of the book as part of BGU’s annual Teaching and Learning Conference in July, with a public talk by the writers, the showcasing of artefacts and anthologies that have emerged from the projects and, of course, copies of the book to be signed.

Keep a look out for further details nearer the time!

14th February 2024

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