‘The Downs Syndrome Novel’ and Representation of Disabilities in Fiction

There are many works in popular media that deal with physically and intellectually disabled characters. However, these often focus on the point of view of the parents or other family members, rather than the perspective of the person with the disability.

Representation of those with Downs Syndrome in popular media is even less common, often focusing on how they affect others, rather than the character themselves.

Sarah Kanake, Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Sunshine Coast, has coined the term ‘Downs Syndrome Novel’ for books that feature these depictions of Downs Syndrome. We spoke to her today for more about how this style of narrative affects Downs Syndrome representation.

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