POUGHKEEPSIE, NY — Cold Spring resident and author Josh Swiller will read from his book The Unheard: A Memoir of Deafness and Africa on Tuesday, October 23, at 6:30 pm, in Vassar College's Taylor Hall, Room 203. This event is free and open to the public.
In The Unheard (2007), featured on National Public Radio's Weekend Morning Edition show, readers experience Africa through Swiller as he tries to reconcile his deafness in a foreign culture. Surrounded by universal poverty and disease, his disability becomes irrelevant as he works with sick children, and fights for irrigation projects and better AIDS facilities.
When Swiller encounters a school for deaf children in Zambia, he realizes the deaf world he experienced growing up was entirely unlike that of the students he sees pushed to a corner. When Swiller offers to teach the children, the school administrator rejects him, insisting that deaf children cannot be taught.
Swiller was born with a moderate hearing loss and was legally deaf by the age of four. After graduating from Yale University, the Cold Spring resident has lived a varied life, working as a forest ranger in the California Redwoods, sheepskin slipper craftsman and salesman, Zen monk, raw food chef, journalist, and teacher. Most recently, he worked as a hospice social worker in Brooklyn. Swiller's work has also appeared in several publications, including The New York Times, the Washington Post, and The Huffington Post.
This event is co-sponsored by the dean of the faculty, the office of disability and support services, the department of English, and the program in Africana Studies. It is funded in part through the Margaret Reese Langdon Fund for Students with Disabilities at Vassar College. Individuals with disabilities requiring accommodations at Vassar should contact the Office of Campus Activities at (845) 437-5370.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential, liberal arts college founded in 1861.