Amanda Leduc’s Book Disfigured Marks a Milestone in Accessible Publishing in Canada
February 14, 2020
Hamilton, Ontario author Amanda Leduc’s book Disfigured is the first Canadian title to be published in all accessible and traditional formats simultaneously, thanks to a unique partnership between the author, Coach House Books and Canada’s two accessible library services, the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) and the National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS).
Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space was released on February 11 in traditional print and audio, but also in fully accessible EPUB, e-braille, physical braille, and DAISY audio, and will immediately be made available to people with print disabilities in Canada through both NNELS and CELA.
Disfigured explores fairy tale archetypes—the beautiful princess, the glass slipper, the maiden with long hair lost in the tower—and tries to make sense of them through a twenty-ﬁrst-century disablist lens. The author argues for increased awareness and acceptance, and celebration of the magic inherent in different bodies.
“We cannot think of a more appropriate title to become one of Canada’s first accessible titles in all formats on publication” says Rina Hadziev, Executive Director of the Centre for Equitable Library Access. “Amanda’s energy and passion for accessibility, and the commitment of her team at Coach House made this milestone possible. We hope this collaboration might become a template for other publishers moving forward to increase books for people with print disabilities in Canada.”
“We thank our partner organizations, authors and publishers for their enthusiastic participation in projects that get us closer to an equitable and accessible reading environment for all in Canada.” says Kevin Millsip, Executive Director, BC Libraries Cooperative, the service provider for NNELS.
Typically, books are published in traditional formats first and then converted to accessible formats resulting in a delay of weeks or months between the publishing date and when people with print disabilities can read these books in accessible formats. Collaborative projects, like the one that produced Disfigured, are a significant step towards producing books which are born-accessible.
“Coach House Books is very proud to be able to release Disfigured in all formats simultaneously – our staff worked hard with CELA and NNELS to make it happen, and we’re thrilled it did. It’s the right thing to do for this book, of course, but it also raises the bar for every book from now on: everyone should be able to read every book whenever and however they like,” says Alana Wilcox, Coach House Editorial Director.
More information about this project:
- It is estimated that as many as 1 in 10 Canadians have a print disability, and with an aging population that number is expected to grow. Currently only 5-10% of all books are produced in accessible formats.
- The electronic braille, accessible EPUB, and human-narrated DAISY versions are all available from both NNELS and CELA. NNELS’ readers can request the physical braille book for loan from its host library, the Wood Buffalo Regional Library in Fort McMurray, Alberta as a part of NNELS’ distributed braille collection. CELA patrons can request physical braille through the CELA website.
- NNELS and CELA collaborated to complete the accessible formats. A braille version of Disfigured was created as a part of the NNELS’ Braille for New Publications Project, and NNELS’ team of accessibility testers analysed the EPUB file for Disfigured and provided feedback to Coach House as a part of the Partnering with NNELS for Ebook Accessibility Project. CELA converted the commercial audiobook into an accessible DAISY audiobook.
- Work on this project has been made possible thanks in part to support from the Government of Canada.
The Centre for Equitable Library Access, CELA, provides books and other materials to Canadians with print disabilities in the formats of their choice. A national not-for-profit organization, CELA is fully funded to serve 97% of the estimated 3 million Canadians with print disabilities in partnership with member public libraries and offers a digital-only service to those in non-funded areas. CELA patrons can access more than 700,000 titles. Please visit celalibrary.ca for more information.
The National Network for Equitable Library Service (NNELS) is a digital public library of downloadable titles for people in Canada with print disabilities, supported and fuelled by a growing network of readers, community organizations, librarians, publishers, and accessible format producers in Canada and abroad. NNELS works to advance the agenda of born accessible publishing and is committed to offering quality employment opportunities to people with print disabilities. NNELS is funded and supported by provincial and territorial governments and is available to any public library user with a print disability in Canada. Please visit nnels.ca for more information.