2023 speaker

Elsa Sjunneson

Author and advocate

Elsa Sjunneson is an internationally published author on the subject of disability and ableism. As a deafblind activist, she has worked to dismantle structural ableism. As an author, she’s written her memoir, Being Seen: One Deafblind Woman’s Fight to End Ableism, reported for Radiolab on “The Helen Keller Exorcism,” and been the subject of a PBS American Masters Short Documentary. Being Seen was nominated for a 2022 Hugo Award and won for best biography/memoir in the 2022 Washington State Book Awards.

Sjunneson lives at the crossroads of blindness and sight. Sjunneson has partial vision in one eye and bilateral hearing aids. She cannot see well enough without a guide dog or cane, but she can see people react to her disability and often hears what they say.

Sjunneson will address ending ableism against people with disabilities in the healthcare system.