After a long time of labor in theater, she turned to fiction. Her novel “Good Kings Dangerous Kings,” which follows staff and residents in a Chicago care establishment for individuals with disabilities, earned approval for its candor and sensitivity and gained the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
The guide’s title got here from reporting in The New York Instances about Jonathan Carey, an autistic boy who was killed by an worker of the Oswald D. Heck Developmental Heart, close to Albany, the place Jonathan was residing. “I may very well be king or a foul king,” the person informed the boy as he asphyxiated him, in response to courtroom paperwork.
That line caught with Ms. Nussbaum, she stated in a 2013 interview with the web site Bitch Media. “It grew to become the title as a result of it jogged my memory how, in the case of youngsters, the adults have all the ability. And when the grownup in query has no emotional connection to the kid, and the kid’s welfare is turned over to that grownup — as is the case in establishments — horrible issues can occur.”
She continued: “The disabled characters we’re introduced with often match a number of of the next stereotypes: sufferer, villain, saint, monster. The destiny of the disabled character is often miraculous remedy, loss of life or institutionalization.”
In writing the novel, as in her different work, Ms. Nussbaum stated, “It was actually essential to me to present disabled characters — a couple of — their very own voices, and the company to symbolize themselves and their very own perspective on what occurs.”
Susan Ruth Nussbaum was born on Dec. 2, 1953, in Chicago to Mike and Annette (Brenner) Nussbaum. Her mom labored in public relations. She grew up in Highland Park, a suburb of Chicago, and attended Highland Park Excessive Faculty, graduating in 1972.
Fascinated by theater from a younger age after working traces together with her father, she started writing performs in highschool. After graduating, she took drama lessons on the Goodman Faculty of Drama (now The Theatre Faculty at DePaul College) in Chicago.