Elsa Sjunneson: DeafBlind fencer, hiker, published author

Elsa is the first film that PBS has produced that portrays a contemporary Deafblind subject on her own terms. Elsa Sjunneson is a Sci-Fi Hugo and Aurora Award-Winner author who has previously written for Marvel and Assassin’s Creed.

This short film is an extended look at some of the themes explored in American Masters – Becoming Helen Keller, and hopes to provide an updated representation of modern DeafBlind role models today. Elsa Sjunneson is a DeafBlind professor and media critic, skilled fencer and hiker, and published author who has written for Marvel Comics. She is a Hugo Award and Aurora Award winner.

Hugo, Aurora, and British Fantasy Award Award winner Elsa Sjunneson writes and edits speculative fiction and non-fiction.  She has been a finalist for the Best Fan Writer and Best Semiprozine Hugo Awards, a winner of the D. Franklin Defying Doomsday Award, and a finalist for the Best Game Writing Nebula Award.

Her fiction work has appeared in magazines such as Uncanny and Fireside, and as part of the team behind Serial Box’s exclusive: Marvel’s Jessica Jones: Playing with Fire. She’s worked on game design products such as Changeling, Wraith, The Fate Accessibility Toolkit and Dead Scare.  She is most well known for her non-fiction which has appeared at CNN, tor.com,  The Boston Globe and other venues.

As an editor, she’s worked as an assistant and then managing editor of Fireside Quarterly, the non-fiction editor for Uncanny Magazine, and in 2018 she was the Co-Guest Editor in  Chief of Disabled People Destroy Science Fiction.

She founded and wrote the popular blog Feminist Sonar from 2011-2016, where she laid groundwork for many discussions on disability in popular discourse.  As an activist for disability rights, she has worked with New Jersey 11th for Change and the New York Disability Pride Parade.

As an educator and public speaker she has presented work at the University of Chicago and The Henry Art Gallery, and taught workshops with Clarion West, Writing the Other, and various Science Fiction conventions.

Her debut memoir Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism was published by Simon & Schuster in 2021, and her Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla novel Sword of the White Horse was released in 2022.

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