Andrew Leland

Andrew Leland Shares Journalism Writing Tips in May LightHouse Writers Lane Classes

The Writers Lane online workshop series continues this month with blind journalist Andrew Leland.
Leland has covered the topic of blindness from many perspectives. Here’s a recap of just of few pieces of his journalistic work.
In “Is There a Right Way to Act Blind?”  from The New York Times Magazine, he addresses the many facets of what it means to portray a blind character on a television show, including the ongoing debate about using a blind actor to play a blind role versus the production team’s desire to find “the right actor” for a role, whether they are sighted or blind. Leland also touches on blind actors playing sighted characters and the reaction of blind activist groups in the casting debate.
His The New Yorker article, “DeafBlind Communities May Be Creating a New Language of Touch” discusses Protactile, “a new movement that [encourages] DeafBlind people to reject the stigma, in American culture, against touch.” This story won the 2023 Linguistic Journalism Award from the Linguistic Society of America.
Leland attended the launch of Mission AstroAccess, where ten people with disabilities participated in a zero-gravity parabolic flight, and performed a series of tasks to explore the question: what will it take to send people with disabilities into space? For the RadioLab podcast episode “The Right Stuff”, he interviewed the participants of the flight and explored the idea that people with disabilities may have an advantage over non-disabled people during space exploration.
Leland has taught nonfiction writing, radio, and digital storytelling at Smith College, UMass-Amherst, and the University of Missouri. His first book, The Country of the Blind: A Memoir at the End of Sight, about his experiences with progressive vision loss from retinitis pigmentosa, will be published in July. Watch a short YouTube video were he discusses his book.
Follow Leland on Twitter @quailty. You can visit his website at
What: Writers Lane at the LightHouse: Journalism with Andrew Leland
Where: Zoom or phone
When: Saturdays, May 20 & 27, from 10:00 am to 11:30 am
RSVP: RSVP online for Writers Lane at LightHouse: Journalism with Andrew Leland or contact Sabrina Bolus at or 415-694-6707.
Future workshops in this series:
June 17 & 24: Fiction with James Tate Hill
July 15 & 22: Personal/opinion essay with M. Leona Godin
August 19 & 26: Professionalism with all authors

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