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Reading Your Mind: Neurodiversity and Writing

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Photo of Clem Bastow, Graeme Simsion and Yenn Purkis

Clem Bastow, Graeme Simsion and Yenn Purkis

In 2013, Graeme Simsion published his first novel, The Rosie Project, and the world fell in love with its big-hearted, socially inept protagonist, Don Tillman.

Though some readers and reviewers read Don as a character who was ‘on the spectrum’, Simsion himself has resisted labels in public discussions of his wildly successful series of romantic comedy novels. The Rosie Project and its sequel, The Rosie Effect, have sold millions of copies in 40 different countries.

Simsion's third and final book in the series, The Rosie Result, centres on Don's son, Hudson, and deals more directly with the issue of autism.

In conversation with Clem Bastow – who has written about her own recent autism diagnosis – Simsion and Yenn Purkis – an autistic and non-binary author, blogger, presenter and mentor – discuss neurodiversity and writing. How has the public conversation changed? And what are the responsibilities of writers who choose to portray neurodiverse characters or address their own diagnoses in their work?

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