Episode 13: "I Am My Wildest Dream"
with Keah Brown and Ryan O'Connell

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On this episode, we're excited to bring you Keah Brown in conversation with Ryan O'Connell.

 

Keah Brown is the creator of #DisabledAndCute, journalist, screenwriter, author and whose writing has appeared in Teen Vogue, Elle, and The New York Times, among other publications. Her debut essay collection, The Pretty One is out now and her debut picture book, Sam’s Super Seats will be out in the Fall of 2022. 

 

Keah is joined by Ryan O'Connell, actor, director and writer whose work has appeared in ViceBuzzFeed, and other publications including The New York Times. He is the author of the memoir, I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves, which he adapted into the Emmy nominated TV series Special on Netflix. His new novel, Just by Looking at Him, is set to drop on June 7th and he plays Julian on Queer as Folk, which debuts June 9th on Peacock.

In their first ever conversation with each other, these multi-hyphenate authors get real about the benefits of their Virgo-driven ambition, the constant struggle to push back against the limitations placed on them as disabled artists and the importance of savoring their success.

Read Along!

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From the disability rights advocate and creator of the #DisabledAndCute viral campaign, a thoughtful, inspiring, and charming collection of essays exploring what it means to be black and disabled in a mostly able-bodied white America.

Keah Brown loves herself, but that hadn’t always been the case. Born with cerebral palsy, her greatest desire used to be normalcy and refuge from the steady stream of self-hate society strengthened inside her. But after years of introspection and reaching out to others in her community, she has reclaimed herself and changed her perspective.

In The Pretty One, Brown gives a contemporary and relatable voice to the disabled—so often portrayed as mute, weak, or isolated. With clear, fresh, and light-hearted prose, these essays explore everything from her relationship with her able-bodied identical twin (called “the pretty one” by friends) to navigating romance; her deep affinity for all things pop culture—and her disappointment with the media’s distorted view of disability; and her declaration of self-love with the viral hashtag #DisabledAndCute.

By “smashing stigmas, empowering her community, and celebrating herself” (Teen Vogue), Brown and The Pretty One aims to expand the conversation about disability and inspire self-love for people of all backgrounds.

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From the star of Peacock’s Queer as Folk and the Netflix series Special comes a darkly witty and touching novel following a gay TV writer with cerebral palsy as he fights addiction and searches for acceptance in an overwhelmingly ableist world.

Elliott appears to be living the dream as a successful TV writer with a doting boyfriend. But behind his Instagram filter of a life, he’s grappling with an intensifying alcohol addiction, he can’t seem to stop cheating on his boyfriend with various sex workers, and his cerebral palsy is making him feel like gay Shrek.

After falling down a rabbit hole of sex, drinking, and Hollywood backstabbing, Elliott decides to limp his way towards redemption. But facing your demons is easier said than done.

Candid, biting, and refreshingly real, Just by Looking at Him is an incisive commentary on gay life, a heart-centered, laugh-out-loud exploration of self, and a rare insight into life as a person with disabilities.

We are proudly supported by:

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Desert Island Bookshelf

This episode's Independent Bookseller shout-out goes to:

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The Book Club

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