IPEd Conference 2021: Editing on the Edges

Lisa-ann Gershwin

Lisa-Ann Gershwin

Dr Lisa-ann Gershwin is best-known for her scientific research and popular science writing on jellyfish.

Her first book Stung! On Jellyfish Blooms and the Future of the Ocean held at number one on Amazon in two categories for over four months and made the cover feature of the New York Review of Books. Her second book Jellyfish: A Natural History also did well. Both were translated into multiple languages and are still in print. She is currently finishing her memoir about 18 months as a homeless person.

Lisa was diagnosed on the autism spectrum in 2010, and has been active in disability awareness. In her spare time, she can still be found along the coastlines of the world discovering new species: currently she has notched up 216 new species of jellyfish, plus one dolphin. 

Writers on the spectrum: A user’s guide

As the saying goes, to know one person with autism is to know one person with autism.

Autism is a superpower, a disability, a blessing, a curse, a breath of fresh air, and yet it can sometimes be a nightmare too, for the person with it and people working with them. No two autistic people think, act, write, or process information in the same way. So then, how can an editor work with an autistic person to bring out the best in their writing? And what about someone who doesn’t know they are on the spectrum?

I am an autistic woman who has written two best-selling books – not in spite of my autism, but because of my autism. Alas, not everything was smooth, but from the bumps came particular insights. Clarity. Timing. Precision. Fairness. Creativity. Exploration. Structure. Flexibility. Respect. Empathy. These might sound like ‘no brainers’, but in practice they can be difficult to achieve, particularly in the throes of misunderstanding. Let’s unpack that together. 

Online, 28 to 30 June 2021
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