The Audio Version of Blindness for Beginners. Now Available.

Two years after the publication of Maribel Steel’s book Blindness for Beginners, the Audio Version has just been launched by audible.com. (8 April 2021)

It was recorded by Harry Williamson of Spring Studio and the skilled reader is Alice Hermans.

This 8-hour version  of Maribel’s self-help memoir will be particularly welcome for its more effective accessibility and potential for people like herself, with impaired vision.

To get a basic idea about the audio book, try this:

In the 2 minute, 55 seconds SAMPLE (offered below the cover page on THAT website), the reader presents Maribel’s original ‘Dear Reader’ Introduction (pp.2-3) to her life-changing experience of going blind with Retinitis Pigmentosa and the complex process of adjusting her life, from age 17 on, to allow her to lead a full life and bring up four children, before creating her own career as a writer and mentor.

The 3 balanced Parts of the work are clearly identified:

Part 1: her personal biography, from the diagnosis (of Retinitis Pigmentosa), to acceptance and the long struggle to independence

Part 2: the types of practical strategies and attitudes that a visually-impaired person can adopt

Part 3: how other people can learn appropriate ways to assist visually-impaired persons.

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To give potential purchasers a little more evidence of how the Audio book Blindness for Beginners may be of interest and use to them, I offer some relevant previous material and notes from the original book launch.

After the 2019 book launch there were four media appearances in Melbourne and Sydney (Australia). Three of these are still available to download, all showing how visual impairment does not make cooking impossible or too dangerous, providing very strict procedures are observed.

First came the two audio recordings by Australian ABC Radio National (RN), in its series Life Matters: April 10 and April 16, 2019.

‘Blind Inside a Tactile Kitchen’ 

Cooking demo with Michael McKenzie (in 2 parts)

Audio versions at:

https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/blind-inside-a-tactile-kitchen-pt1/10986042

and    https://www.abc.net.au/radionational/programs/lifematters/blind-inside-a-tactile-kitchen-part-2/11018618

The well-known presenter Michael McKenzie, wearing his blindfold, as instructed, was very brave, and completely empathetic. Guide dog, Dindi, was, as always, in attendance.

A week later in a follow-up TV interview with Studio 10 in Sydney, the studio audience and viewers  at home were treated to a 10 minute visual presentation of (briefly famous) Maribel’s blind cooking on the popular morning programme of Studio 10 TV. With assistance and a barrage of questions from her 2 amazed and nervous interviewers, she prepared the ingredients for Huevos a la flamenca (in memory of her mother).

This is now preserved on You Tube as: TV: Cooking ‘Blind’:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NyCwxaXdRX4&feature=youtu.be

What I remember most vividly of this video is the apprehension on the faces and in the questions of those two glamorous interviewers as they stood beside visually-impaired Maribel briskly cutting up onions, with a large knife and a high degree of nonchalance.

That dramatic episode is just one example of Maribel’s very detailed repertoire of procedures built up during 40 years of learning to cope with practical life (including, of course, bringing up – and cooking for – a family of 4 kids).

Her hope and ambition is that her work will help other people facing different degrees of visual impairment to experience an easier but rewarding journey to success and personal fulfilment. And that family members, friends, institutions, and the general public will be able to relate more helpfully to visually-impaired persons.

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