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Within this section you will find short stories and poetry. DAO considers all contributions from disabled writers, but is especially interested in publishing creative writing that is informed by the experience of disability, impairment or marginalisation. 

Short story: Nick Lewis: 'Travels With My Self'

7 March 2016


Nick Lewis: 'Travels With My Self'

Nick Lewis is an author, poet and artist. He is currently working on a serialised novel based on his experience of living with MS. We are delighted to share three chapters from the author's work-in-progress: ‘Travels With My Self’.

Poetry: Angus McKenzie-Davie

25 January 2016


Angus McKenzie-Davie

Angus M. D. writes about the experience of disability in both the real and virtual worlds. In the words of Dave Vanian: 'Feel the pain...'

Poetry: Alan Morrison: Shadows Waltz Haltingly and the Shadow of Huntington’s

3 September 2015


Alan Morrison: Shadows Waltz Haltingly and the Shadow of Huntington’s

For Alan Morrison the task of tackling poetically his mother’s fifteen year-plus fight with Huntington’s Disease, and its ultimate claiming of her, was an emotionally and psychologically thorny one. But so deeply had he been affected by witnessing the many harrowing stages of his mother’s illness that he inevitably attempted to assimilate it all through the expressive medium which comes most naturally to him: poetry.

Poetry: Kuli Kohli: Rag Doll

22 June 2015


Kuli Kohli: Rag Doll

Kuli Kohli was born with mild cerebral palsy in northern India and moved to England at an early age. She is a writer, mother, wife and full-time council worker.  Here she presents a selection from her book ‘Rag Doll’, published in 2014

Poetry: Jonathan Andrews

1 June 2015


Jonathan Andrews

Jonathan Andrews’ poetry recounts a lived experience of autism – a perspective, which is too often ignored in favour of second-person narratives of what an autistic person seems to be thinking or feeling. He feels short, evocative snippets of this experience are the most powerful – and that the poetic form is the perfect medium to convey these.

Poetry: Debjani Chatterjee: A Miscellany

13 January 2015


Debjani Chatterjee: A Miscellany

Award-winning poet-translator, Debjani Chatterjee MBE, shares a few poems from her collections, including her latest book 'Do You Hear the Storm Sing?' (Core Publications, winter 2014). She has been called 'a rainbow spirit' (Paul Beasley) and 'a voice of rare originality' (David Morley).

Poetry: Claire McLaughlin: Remembering Blue

28 September 2014


Claire McLaughlin: Remembering Blue

Claire McLaughlin shares a selection of poems from her forthcoming poetry collection Remembering Blue, to be published by Survivors Press in autumn 2014. Her work is infused with a sense of the losses and the gains that come with the  experience of impairment.

Poetry: Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces

19 May 2014


Penny Pepper: Lost in Spaces

Penny Pepper is a writer, poet and performer with an extraordinary versatility to her work. Genre-defying and quirky, her work is infused with her passion as a veteran disability arts activist.

Poetry: Julie McNamara: Chaos Calls

17 May 2014


Julie McNamara: Chaos Calls

Julie McNamara has been a tour de force within the field of Disability Arts for more than twenty years. Her current theatre work: Let Me Stay is a recipient of an Unlimited 2014 award, and is currently touring. Julie has also had her poetry published in several anthologies. Below Dao previews a selection from her first collection Chaos Calls, published by Vital Xposure.

Poetry: Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged

12 May 2014


Owen Lowery: Otherwise Unchanged

Writing and studying poetry was initially part of Owen Lowery's recovery following a spinal injury incurred while competing in a charity judo tournament as a young professional sportsman. Having recently won an Unlimited Award, Lowery's first major poetry collection, 'Otherwise Unchanged', was published by Carcanet in 2012. The work speaks in a range of voices, drawing from poetic traditions far and wide. 

Poetry: Carol Robson: Just Saying How It Is

22 April 2014


Carol Robson: Just Saying How It Is

Carol Robson loves the performance genre. She self-published her first collection Words of Darkness and Light in 2012, which will shortly be published as a second edition by Thynks Publications. She writes poetry on various themes but is passionate on issues of gender, sexuality, ageing and disability. 

Poetry: Wendy Young

7 April 2014


Wendy Young

Wendy Young began a poetry blog as well contributing reviews for Dao in 2013, following involvement with Survivors’ Poetry. She says: "Writing about life experiences through truth and humour is a survival mechanism. Poetry is therapy and any chance to express hidden darkness is a reason to live."

Poetry: John William Brown

5 April 2014


John William Brown

John William Brown is a poet, painter and performer based in Norwich. He has published in various anthologies and has produced a chapbook of his drawings and poems, Private View (1997). He was joint editor of the now defunct magazine for marginalised persons, State of Mind (2004-6). John submitted a selection of illustrated poems from his published works.

Poetry: Anthony Hurford: The Staff of Asclepius

17 March 2014


Anthony Hurford: The Staff of Asclepius

Anthony Hurford came to DAO via the Survivor's Poetry blog. He submitted a selection from his forthcoming poetry pamphlet due to be published by Survivors' Press in summer 2014

Poetry: Richard Longstaff: 'A Curlew Calls'

6 December 2013


Richard Longstaff: 'A Curlew Calls'

Richard Longstaff submitted the following selection of his poetry. Taking inspiration from nature, 'A Curlew Calls' is part of a 40 poem collection on the author's relationship to the natural world. 

Gini: Con.Text: the major and minor scroll

15 July 2013


Gini: Con.Text: the major and minor scroll

Gini was awarded a Diverse Perspectives commission to make creative responses to conversations with artists and audiences at Salisbury Arts Centre. The scrolls she produced give a creative insight into peoples' reactions to work exhibited and their reasons for coming to the Arts Centre.

Creative writing: A selection of short stories by Lynne E Blackwood

11 June 2013


A selection of short stories by Lynne E Blackwood

Lynne Blackwood started writing in April 2012 after illness terminated her professional activity. She is of Anglo-Indian descent and her emotional heritage plays a strong part in her writing sensitivities, reflecting a mosaic of experiences and cultures. DAO is proud to present a series of her short stories.

Song: Alas Atos from Making Waves Community Choir

4 June 2013


Alas Atos from Making Waves Community Choir

Making Waves is a left/ green community choir, based in Cullercoats, which has a policy of freely sharing their produce. Oliver Swingler from the choir sent the following song to DAO. He says that if anyone else wants to record it and publish (with acknowledgement of Oliver and the choir), they are most welcome.

All The Lonely People: an anthology by Plum Tree Books

30 April 2013


All The Lonely People: an anthology by Plum Tree Books

Niamh Clune, Founder of Plum Tree Books sent out a call across Facebook, announcing that she wanted to do an anthology on All The Lonely People... poems, art, prose focussing on the subject of loneliness. DAO presents a sampler from the online anthology.

'Listening to the Dark' a selection of poetry by Peter Street

21 January 2013


'Listening to the Dark' a selection of poetry by Peter Street

Published by Penniless Press, 'Listening to the Dark' is Street's fifth volume, which includes a diverse range of topics from growing up in Bolton, living with disability, his experience as a war poet in Croatia and voicing the concerns of plants and trees.

Underwater Con.Text by Gini

3 October 2012


Underwater Con.Text by Gini

'Underwater Con.Text' is a poetic response to Sue Austin's underwater wheelchair live art piece 'Creating the Spectacle!' The text provides a glimpse into how a random selection of people have allowed Austin's underwater wheelchair ballet into their lives.

A selection of poetry by Saradha Soobrayen

29 June 2012


A selection of poetry by Saradha Soobrayen

Saradha Soobrayen is a London-born poet, and reviews editor for 'Modern Poetry in Translation'. Here she gives two examples of poems performed as part of the Festival of the World Poetry Parnassus at the Southbank Centre, London, June 2012.

Headlining Normality: The Consultation by John O'Donoghue

21 June 2012


Headlining Normality: The Consultation by John O'Donoghue

At Shape's Headlining Disability debate on media representation of disability, Will Self, in conversation with Mike Shamash, posed the question of what it would be like to live in a world where disability didn't attract prejudice or stigma? In response writer John O'Donoghue imagines such a parallel universe...

View the Con.Text by artist and writer Gini

30 January 2012


View the Con.Text by artist and writer Gini

View the Con.Text is a unique audience engagement project devised by artist and writer Gini. Visitors were invited to take a comfy seat and chat about their own journeys and their thoughts on the 'The View from Here' exhibition, which took place at Salisbury Arts Centre from 9th November to 23 December 2011.

Short story: A Dying Breed by Ann Young

26 April 2011


A Dying Breed by Ann Young

Ann Young relates a story about life in a Special School in the 60s and 70s. This story is dedicated to Brian, June and Gary who died whilst attending the Palace School, Ely in Cambridgeshire.

Poetry: Sarah Ismail

2 July 2010


Sarah Ismail

DAO presents a selection of poems from Listen To The Silence - a collection about life with a physical disability by Sarah Ismail.

Poetry: Maureen Oliver

4 June 2010


Maureen Oliver

Maureen Oliver has had several collections of her poetry and writing published by Chipmunka. Her poetry reflects her experience of the psychiatric system.

Poetry by 'Deaf Bitch'

19 May 2010


Poetry by 'Deaf Bitch'

Dao presents a selection of poems that tackle barriers in society from a deaf women's experience

New writing: Peter Street's Memoirs

26 December 2009


Peter Street's Memoirs

Peter Street was born in Wigan in 1948, the illegitimate son of an Anglo/Irish cotton mill worker and an Irish/Spanish glassworker. He was raised in Bolton by his mother and a stepfather: Thomas Edgar Street. Peter has six major collections to his name, and was a war poet in 1993 during the Bosnian/Croat conflict. He was recipient of a Royal Literary Fund grant in 2008.

Here he recalls memories from the first chapter of his life: "Disability has been a big part of my life. It is who I am. In many ways it has been the making of me..."

The Explorer - a cycle of poems by Allan Sutherland

23 August 2009


The Explorer - a cycle of poems by Allan Sutherland

DAO is proud to publish its first commission ‘The Explorer’ - a cycle of transcription poems reflecting the creative journey of visual artist Nancy Willis, written by Allan Sutherland.

Peter Street remembers Jimmy

21 August 2009


Peter Street: Day Centre May 1983

A new piece of prose from disabled writer Peter Street evokes a vivid picture of a day centre somewhere in the north of England in May 1983

Short stories by Colin Cameron

1 February 2007


Short stories by Colin Cameron

The following series of short stories and vignettes have been written from a social model perspective. With cutting humour, they exemplify the disabling attitudes that disabled people face on a daily basis.

Peter Street: Collection of poetry and short stories

16 December 2006


Peter Street: Collection of poetry and short stories

Peter Street's poetry conveys seminal moments. With an economy of words and a crafted elegance, he tells it like it is. Whether he's reminiscing on the power of childhood friendships, recounting life and death experiences, or writing about disability and impairment. His war poems are incredibly powerful and totally overwhelming descriptions of what he witnessed as a war poet attached to a relief unit at the height of the conflict in Bosnia.

Assessing Lord Nelson: Shag Sketch 006 by Ann Young

16 December 2006


Assessing Lord Nelson: Shag Sketch 006 by Ann Young

What would a dialogue between Lord Nelson and a social worker have sounded like? Ann Young, wizened disability art chick and groupie, brings the historical character into the present and makes some terrible jokes in passing.

Gabriel Pepper

16 December 2006


The Demise of our Relationship: Gabriel Pepper explores the issue of managing PAs

Rachel Gadsden: Beyond the Asylum narrative

1 October 2005


Rachel Gadsden: Beyond the Asylum narrative

Within her artistic practice Rachel Gadsden has been exploring derelict Asylums seeking to examine the traces of life within their fabric despite the neglect and decay. This narrative by Tim Hayton is based on her collection of paintings, 'Beyond the Asylum'.

Allan Sutherland: Paddy Masefield Poems

1 July 2005


Allan Sutherland: Paddy Masefield Poems

Paddy: A Life, is a series of 32 transcription poems by Allan Sutherland based on interviews with Paddy Masefield as part of the Edward Lear Oral History Project.

Penny Pepper: The Brown Pot

1 July 2005


Penny Pepper: The Brown Pot
Penny Pepper is the award-winning writer of Desires, a unique, groundbreaking and explicit collection of short stories focusing on disabled people's experience of sex in all its chaotic permutations.

Danny Start: Blogbitch

1 June 2005


Danny Start: Blogbitch
She's a rootin' tootin' blogbitchin' babe! A short story by Danny Start