Nancy Mairs is a feminist poet, memoirist, and essayist. Although Mairs has written about diverse subjects, she is best known for her writings about life as a disabled person. Diagnosed with progressive multiple sclerosis (MS) at age 28, she has lived most of her adult life dealing with the limitations her disease and society's response to the disabled impose. Beginning with her much anthologized essay “On Being a Cripple,” first published in Plaintext (1986), her first collection of essays, Mairs has written candidly about living with MS.

Born July 23, 1943, in Long Beach, California, Mairs grew up in Boston, the daughter of John and Anne Pedrick Smith, a naval officer and a tax collector. In 1963, she married George Mairs, a teacher; ...

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