Gary Murning

Middlesbrough, United Kingdom

About Gary

Bio

Gary is a novelist living in the northeast of England. His work, largely mainstream fiction, focuses on themes that touch us all — love, death, loss and aspiration — but always with an eye to finding an unusual angle or viewpoint. Quirky and highly readable, his writing aims to entertain first and foremost. If he can also offer a previously unfamiliar perspective or insight, all the better.

Gary was born with a form of Spinal Muscular Atrophy, and whilst he has never thought of himself as a “disabled writer” it is nevertheless fair to say that his disability has in many ways contributed to his fairly unique perspective.

Comments & conversations

175865
Gary Murning
Posted over 1 year ago
Do the media, charities and disability rights activists—however unintentionally—present a damaging view of what it is to be "disabled"?
It seems we are very much of the same opinion on this, Barry. You may be interested in reading this piece I wrote last year http://garymurning.wordpress.com/2011/09/23/the-myth-of-disability/ It covers very similar points to those you mention. (I would draw your attention in particular to the passage on the Canadian writer Bickenbach.)
175865
Gary Murning
Posted over 1 year ago
Do the media, charities and disability rights activists—however unintentionally—present a damaging view of what it is to be "disabled"?
I think you raise some interesting points, Estrella. I've always been of the mind that my own disability is not all that relevant, however physically severe it may be. I don't consider that it makes me, as far as personal identity is concerned, all that different from anyone else—or, at least, certainly no more different than one able-bodied person is to another. That said, I think it is important to understand that marginalisation in the sense that I am talking about is not primarily concerned with how the individual himself/herself feels, but more about how society as a whole reacts to "disability" and the very real effects that this produces. Yes, on the surface it may seem that people with disabilities in European countries are comparatively lucky (this, of course can be applied across the board: "poverty" in the UK is, very clearly, quite different to poverty in, say, Africa—and this is indeed something that should be acknowledged and appreciated), but real problems do still exist, problems that have a very obvious and undeniable impact on lives. Ease of access is a right that has only been achieved in my lifetime, and it is indeed an accomplishment. Nonetheless, it would be wrong to think that this is some kind of social panacea for people with disabilities. For example, what good is ease of access to, say, public transport if you feel that you might be abused in ON the public transport? This still happens today in the UK, and it is one of the many reasons this particular question interests me. Caring about intentions is, to me, fundamental to development. If we are to shape decent, caring and fair societies, it isn't good enough, I'm afraid, to resort to the "they should feel lucky" response. Such phrases have been used too many times in an attempt to "keep people in their places".