Date Published: October 1st, 2018
Take a step back in time with some of the best writers with disabilities as they recount their first adventure, their first heartbreak, and the first time the unexpected treaded into their life. From body transformations to social setbacks, to love affairs and family trauma, Firsts collects the most thought-provoking and exciting stories of our time by people with disabilities. Contributors include Nigel David Kelly, Kimberly Gerry-Tucker, Caitlin Hernandez, Andrew Gurza, and David-Elijah Nahmod
Interview With Belo Cipriani
What is the hardest part of writing
I use software for the blind to do my writing and sometimes I run into tech
problems. While most issues are solved rather quickly, it takes time from reading
and writing. Also, when it comes to book design, I rely heavily on the designer
an a group of friends who vote on the book covers.
What songs are most played on your
I like nature sounds and find that I
spend a lot of time listening to the Bhudist Munk Radio on Pandora. Also, I
listen to jazz and classical. At the gym, though, I always listen to hip
Do you have critique partners or beta
I use both. I have a group of writer
friends who give me feedback. Once I am confident that the draft is done, I let
beta readers take a look.
What book are you reading now?
I am reading A Night at the Fiestas by
Kirstin Valdez Quade. It’s a wonderful collection of short stories. I first
read it a few years ago, but now revisiting it, as I am looking at content for
a creative writing class I’ll be teaching next spring.
How did you start your writing career?
A therapist asked me to journal, and
so began my relationship with writing. I realized how much I liked words and
then began to take classes. Eventually, I went to grad school for creative
Tell us about your next release.
I have two projects, a book of esays,
and a novel. I am hoping to release the novel in early 2020.
About the Author
Belo Miguel Cipriani is a columnist with the Bay Area Reporter. In 2017, his column on disability issues was recognized by the National Center on Disability and Journalism at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism at Arizona State University.
He is the author of Blind: A Memoir (2011), which received an Honorable Mention for Best Nonfiction Book by the 2011 Rainbow Awards, and an Honorable Mention for Best Culture Book by the 2012 Eric Hoffer Awards.
He has received fellowships from Lambda Literary and Yaddo, and was the first blind writer to attend the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference. Cipriani has guest lectured at Yale University, University of San Francisco, and University of Wisconsin at Whitewater, and was the Writer-in-Residence at Holy Names University from 2012 to 2016.
His writing has appeared in several publications, including the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, San Francisco Chronicle, Houston Chronicle, San Antonio Express-News, Business Insider, and HuffPost. He was a contributor to the Ed Baxter Morning Show on iHeart Radio, and was also a frequent commentator on San Francisco’s KGO Radio, as well as on several NPR shows.
Cipriani has received numerous awards for his disability advocacy work, including being named “Best Disability Advocate” by SF Weekly (2015), an “Agent of Change” by HuffPost (2015), and an “ABC7 Star” by KGO-TV (2016). He was also honored as the first blind Grand Marshal at San Francisco’s 45th Annual Gay Pride Parade.
He currently works at the Center for Academic Excellence at Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, MN, where he helps students improve their writing skills.