The Telegraph has published a great interview with Deaf author Louise Stern, which is well worth a read.
Stern was previously interviewed by us (read it here) and has a new book out on February 12th.
Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts, a popular summer retreat for the likes of Bill Clinton, Harvey Weinstein, Spike Lee and, recently, the Obamas, was once home to one of the earliest known deaf communities in America. It was a ‘signing island’ and until the middle of the 20th century Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language was used among the hearing residents as well as the deaf. ‘Everyone used to sign there,’ Louise Stern says. ‘No one really left and there were high instances of deafness due to some kind of genetic quirk in the DNA that was circulating the island. Improved transport, leading to an influx of tourism, meant that this signing community gradually faded away.’
When Stern, 35, a writer who is deaf herself, was growing up in an exclusively deaf environment in California in the 1980s, Martha’s Vineyard seemed to her to be a mythical place. ‘I grew up with my dad talking about it,’ she says.
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