After many years of labor in theater, she turned to fiction. Her novel “Good Kings Unhealthy Kings,” which follows staff and residents in a Chicago care establishment for individuals with disabilities, earned popularity of its candor and sensitivity and received the 2012 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction.
The ebook’s title got here from reporting in The New York Occasions 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 dwelling. “I may very well be king or a nasty king,” the person advised the boy as he asphyxiated him, in keeping with court docket paperwork.
That line caught with Ms. Nussbaum, she stated in a 2013 interview with the web site Bitch Media. “It turned the title as a result of it jogged my memory how, relating to children, the adults have all the facility. 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 offered with normally match a number of of the next stereotypes: sufferer, villain, saint, monster. The destiny of the disabled character is normally miraculous treatment, dying or institutionalization.”
In writing the novel, as in her different work, Ms. Nussbaum stated, “It was actually vital to me to provide 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.
Focused on theater from a younger age after working traces along 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.