Dorothy is a mom, disabled senior writer, accessibility advocate, adoptee, retired high school Drama teacher, improv coach and union activist. Her recent memoir, Falling for Myself, (Wolsak and Wynn 2019) examines how disability and adoption combined to help her become an activist and find her birthparents. Reviewed in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and Quill and Quire, it has been heralded as both funny and whip smart. Her first novel, When Fenelon Falls, (Coach House, 2010), features a disabled teen protagonist in the Woodstock-Moonwalk summer of 1969. Her fiction and nonfiction has appeared in both literary and disability journals: REFUSE, Readers Digest, Broadview Magazine, Wordgathering, Canthius, Alt-Minds, All Lit Up, Little Fiction Big Truths, 49th Shelf, and Open Book. She serves on the Accessibility Advisory Committee for FOLD and the Disability Justice Network of Ontario (DJNO). She is a graduate of Western University and did her teacher training at Simon Fraser University.
Dorothy’s newest novel, Son of Sherlock, was published in March 2021.
From the publisher:
On New Year’s Day 1891, Sherlock Holmes summons the limping street urchin, Wiggins, to Baker Street and decrees he must die at dawn. Wiggins, however, has other plans. To fulfil the dying wish of his mother, Irene Adler, he schemes with his two formidable American aunties to keep two important facts from the great detective: Mrs. Hudson is actually his Aunt Grizelda, and he is both Holmes’ child and a girl pretending to be a boy.
Through a series of mysterious letters Adler bequeathed to Wiggins, the dark backstory of her parents and all their long-kept family secrets unravel. To flee the mad King of Bohemia trying to claim Wiggins as his heir, Holmes and Wiggins begin their Great Hiatus. From Mycroft to Moriarty, from Dr. John H. Watson to the Baker Street Irregulars, from P.T. Barnum to Jumbo the Elephant, Wiggins learns little is what it seems.
Slowly learning to trust each other, Holmes and Wiggins travel from London to Reichenbach Falls to New York City to a small farm in Canada which holds the secrets of their family history. Together, they correct the errors in Watson’s tales, bond over Wiggins’ disability, drop their masquerades, and deduce a father and daughter future.
“Wiggins is full of surprises, pulling us back into the world of 221B from an entirely original angle – as if Palmer had found a secret hiding space even the Great Detective had never accessed!”Angela Misri, author
“Dorothy Ellen Palmer’s Falling For Myself is a powerful call for a mass social justice movement that doesn’t ignore Disability Justice. Through painfully honest and laugh-out-loud storytelling, Palmer delves deep into personal, genetic and societal memory, showing us that it’s possible to uncinch ourselves from the lies we’ve been told about ableism and disability. A moving, informative and magical read.”
– Farzana Doctor, author
“By telling us her stories, Palmer invites us to examine ours. Also, you will laugh and laugh.”
– Carrianne Leung, author