My name is Donna Williams and I am a deaf poet working with British Sign Language and English based near Bristol. DeafFirefly is a name partly inspired by a friend who answers to DeafTigerBee, and Firefly is one of my all-time favourite shows. All hail Joss Whedon. And hence, DeafFirefly was born. It’s now also my official Equity name, since when I came to register, all the permutations of my name were already taken. So now I get letters addressed to ‘Ms DeafFirefly”… 🙂
I grew up in the ‘hearing’ world, attending mainstream schools, and came to the deaf world later, when I studied at the University of Central Lancashire. Joining the deaf student community, I quickly started learning BSL, and I had some of the best years of my life. By the time I graduated in 2006, I could sign fluently and considered myself bi-cultural, moving in both hearing and Deaf worlds. This is an outlook I still have, as I spend time in both worlds, but sometimes this is not easy, I reflect on this in some of my poems.
As well as poetry, I’ve written short plays with Deafinitely Theatre and workshopped others with Graeae. I’ve written several pieces and poems that have been published in anthologies and magazines, such as ‘Deaf Lit Extravaganza’, ‘Stairs and Whispers: Deaf and Disabled Poets Write Back’ and issue 69 of Magma. I also occasionally contribute pieces to the Limping Chicken, a successful deaf webzine.
I also turn up as an NDCS Deaf Role Model Presenter from time to time, and take on random projects; I was Eryr Euriad, the Queen of the Birds in ‘The Birds’ at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff in 2012, a book for the Human Library in 2014 and now most recently as the Narrator in ‘Splash!’ a touring outdoor show with Extraordinary Bodies and Diverse City in 2019. Lots of fun!