Chances are, if you meet author Heather Sellers she won’t recognize you later – even five minutes later. This is not an act of snobbishness on behalf of the Hope College professor however, but rather the bizarre consequence of a disorder called “face blindness.”
Medically termed prosopagnosia, face blindness is a disorder that causes impairment in the recognition of faces. Prosopagnosia isn’t a vision problem, but one of memory that widely ranges in degree. Face blindness at its most severe can cause the lack of recognition of close friends, family, spouses or even one’s own children.
Until Sellers was in her 30’s, she had no idea what was wrong with her. While reading one day Sellers stumbled upon the term “face recognition.” The phrase immediately resonated with the author, and upon further research Sellers was finally able to tag a diagnosis to the blindness that had dogged her for so many years.
Sellers book, You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know: A True Story of Family, Face-Blindness, and Forgiveness, is a memoir of her experience with face blindness. While so many years of frustration might lead one to bitterness and anger, Sellers has found a certain peace and claims the disorder “has renewed my faith in humankind on a daily basis”.
If you live in or around Birmingham, Michigan, you’ll have a chance to hear Heather Sellers tell her story in person. The author and Hope College professor will be appearing at the Baldwin Public Library as part of their Writers Live! program.
According to the program site, Sellers will read excerpts from “You Don’t Look Like Anyone I Know” and “talk about the process of writing a memoir and how telling our own story can help us to see others more clearly.” The Writers Live! appearance will take place at the BPL on Wednesday, February 16, 2011 at 7:30 pm. As always, please call first to confirm date and time.
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-Post by Megan Shaffer