Born: 1958 in Cincinnati, Ohio
Pen Name: Connection to Illinois: Lehrer works in Chicago. Biography: Riva Lehrer is an artist, writer, and curator whose work focuses on issues of physical identity and the socially challenged body. She is best known for representations of people with impairments, and those whose sexuality or gender identity have long been stigmatized. A longtime faculty member of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Riva Lehrer is currently an instructor in medical humanities at Northwestern University.
- -- Amazon Best Book of October 2020, WINNER OF THE BARBELLION PRIZE, FINALIST FOR THE NATIONAL BOOK CRITICS CIRCLE AWARD FOR AUTOBIOGRAPHY, NAMED ONE OF THE BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR BY KIRKUS REVIEWS, BERNARD J. BROMMEL AWARD FOR BIOGRAPHY & MEMOIR WINNER
|Golem Girl: A Memoir
ISBN: 1984820303 OCLC: 1145310288 One World 2020 What do we sacrifice in the pursuit of normalcy? And what becomes possible when we embrace monstrosity? In 1958, Riva is one of the first children born with spina bifida to survive. Her parents and doctors are determined to 'fix' her, sending the message over and over again that she is broken. That she will never have a job, a romantic relationship, or an independent life. Enduring countless medical interventions, Riva tries her best to be a good girl and a good patient in the quest to be cured. Everything changes when, as an adult, Riva is invited to join a group of artists, writers, and performers who are building Disability Culture. Their work is daring, edgy, funny, and dark; it rejects tropes that define disabled people as pathetic, frightening, or worthless. They insist that disability is an opportunity for creativity and resistance. Emboldened, Riva asks if she can paint their portraits--an intimate and collaborative process that will transform the way she sees herself, others, and the world. With each portrait, and each person's story, the myths she's been told her whole life--about her body, her sexuality, and the value of normalcy--begin to crumble. Written with the vivid, cinematic prose of a visual artist, and the love and playfulness that defines all of Riva's work, Golem Girl is an extraordinary story of survival and creativity. With the author's magnificent portraits featured throughout, this memoir invites us to stretch ourselves toward a world where bodies flow between all possible forms of what it is to be human--