In 2018, Christine Stewart, who teaches English course at the South Dakota State University, won a whirling prize for writing “Bluewords Greening” book which was themed on disabilities.
Stewart describes in her book her experiences as a woman who dealt with miscarriages & as a mother who had to raise a disabled child.
She was awarded a $500 grant along with twenty-five copies of a broadside fashioned by student artists.
About Stewart’s book, Editor of Etching Literary & Fine Arts Magazine stated: “a wonderful collection that gives the reader an intimate account of disability and the emotions associated with it.”
Whirling Prize judge, Kara Wagner passed statement about Stewart’s voice as “deserves to be heard both in and out of the disability literature circle … As I turn the pages, I feel her helplessness, I mourn her losses.”
Steward described her own writing: “On one level, you don’t choose what to write about, it chooses you. These are poems that I had to write. The choice to revise them and send them out to the world in a book is a different decision.”
She further said: “Often women would thank me because they had gone through something similar or knew someone who had—it’s a very taboo subject. I feel sharing my narrative invites others to share theirs and sometimes that is beneficial to people.”
Stewart described the definition of disability. She said: “when people must move through a world not designed for them, both physically and narratively. When I was having miscarriages, it was a temporary disability. I saw everyone having babies who wanted to have babies, so I did not see my issues reflected. The more miscarriages I had, the odder I became—but that went away,” she said.
About her disable son, Holden, suffering from a rare of epilepsy, she stated: “Holden will always move in a world that is not designed for him,” she said. “If he has a temper tantrum, meltdown or seizure when we are out in public, not many people know how to interact with that. We are always strategizing … and the book speaks to that. There won’t be many people who raise a kid like Holden, but there are a lot of people who raise kids that have needs that are unlike those of other kids.”