Meet the Judges for Able in This Diverse Universe


Friends, the Able in This Diverse Universe essay competition has an amazing panel. We have four judges all of whom have knowledge of/experience in disabilities and/or neurodivergence. All reflections on disabilities, visible or invisible are most welcome. Read on to see who will review your work.



Karrie Higgins is your Word Mage for this competition. She will act as head judge, selecting the winning essays. Taken from her blog, A True Testimony, “Karrie Higgins is a writer in Salt Lake City, Utah, currently at work on “Superman is my Temple Recommend,” a grimoire/memoir about the nexus between magic, forensics, and faith. Her own personal Book of Breathings, written to guide her dead brother into eternal life, it re-imagines Isis and Osiris through the lenses of environmental epigenetics, air pollution science, alchemy, forensic science, psychogeography, Mormon theology, and her entanglement with a psychopathic forger-murderer, from whom she learns the art of forgery to pen her brother’s confession and save his soul.” Karrie is also the author of “Strange Flowers,” listed as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2015. 

In addition to judging, Karrie is offering a private consultation valued at $350 to a randomly-selected participant who enters this competition.

Neuroscientist, Writer and Professor Dr. Kwame Brown

Neuroscientist, Writer and Professor Dr. Kwame Brown


Dr. Kwame Brown is your Neighborhood Neuroscientist “merging science, movement, art and activism to create more vibrant communities.” You can find him teaching workshops around the North America. Dr. Brown teaches physical fitness through integrative play and has experience developing programs for children with Autism. In addition, he is a poet and writer as well as a full-time Professor of Psychology at Hampton University in Hampton, VA.

Image by Lisa Reeve

Artist and Activist Charlotte Farhan, Image by Lisa Reeve.

Charlotte Farhan has dual nationality between France and Britain and is bilingual. Having grown up between Paris and within an hour of London Charlotte was taken to art galleries and exhibitions from an early age, by her French Grandmother and Mother. Art, philosophy, literature, politics, music and fashion were passions within the family and promoted with great importance. Now Charlotte lives on the South Coast in the vibrant city of Portsmouth with her husband and 3 cats, where she works from home in her office and studio.

Charlotte is an international visual artist, a published illustrator, feature writer, the Editor and chief of ASLI Magazine and Managing Director and co-founder of Art Saves Lives International.

Charlotte’s education in art started early at her Montessori nursery school. Pursuing art all the way to college but found the constraints of being “taught art” limiting and turned to more academic subjects such as philosophy and psychology whilst learning photography. Returning to education in 2006 Charlotte did a diploma in fine art (painting and drawing) and is now in her last year of her BA (Honours) Philosophy and Psychological Studies degree and has taken creative writing for extra credit. With this she hopes to create online courses for creative therapies as well as writing her own books.

For Charlotte receiving art therapy taught her more about art than any lesson or teacher. “Art is fluid and creates energy which can be felt, art is not only visual”. Elitism and ego are negativities Charlotte avoids in the art world.

Charlotte is an active campaigner and activist for many issues, such as mental health awareness, women’s rights, anti-capitalism, and anti-war and for breaking down rape stigma and fighting against rape culture. With her own mental illness Charlotte wants to prove that a person such as herself does not have to be deemed unemployable or incompetent as she works against the odds every day, speaking out about her struggles to break down stigma and show that mental illness is like any other physical illness.

Charlotte is also a rape survivor and is currently working on an exhibition about her rape and rape culture within society which she will be exhibiting around Europe and Asia in 2016/2017

Writer and Activist Jacqueline Cioffa

Writer and Activist Jacqueline Cioffa

Jacqueline Cioffa was an international model for 17 years and celebrity makeup artist. She is a dog lover, crystal collector and Stone Crab enthusiast. Her work has been featured in the anthology, Brainstorms, and numerous literary magazines. Living with manic depression, Jacqueline is an advocate for mental health awareness. She’s a storyteller, observer, essayist, potty mouth and film lover who’s traveled the world.

Her poignant, literary fiction debut, The Vast Landscape, gives new meaning to intense, raw and heartfelt.Fans of the emotional, soul stirring first novel will not be able to put the exciting sequel, Georgia Pine, down.

The essence continues because you do. Harrison leaves the door open a crack. I seize the opportunity to revisit my whole, healthy self a bit longer, live in the mystic beach home I adore, dream eyes open. Hope is our greatest asset. To choose hope against the worst possible odds is the true measure of life.
~ Georgia Pine by Jacqueline Cioffa


The judges are looking forward to reading your essays on ableism, disability, access and overcoming. Please visit the Four Paws for Noah Submittable page to enter this competition. Submission to this competition places you in the lottery for the #Write2TheEnd workshop grand prize valued at $495 which means you have three chances to win big for every single submission.


Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

6 Discussion to this post

  1. choff777 says:

    Honored to be a judge in the Able in This Diverse Universe essay competition on disabilities and overcoming. Thrilled to be included with the esteemed judges for an important cause. Spreading awareness, to benefit a boy and his dog.

    What could be a better cause or more uplifting? Thank you, Shawna for the honor.


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  2. […] Find out about the other judges of this very important competition by clicking the link: Meet the Judges for Able in This Diverse Universe […]

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  3. […] Find out about the other judges of this very important competition by clicking the link: Meet the Judges for Able in This Diverse Universe […]

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  4. […] Find out about the other judges of this very important competition by clicking the link: Meet the Judges for Able in This Diverse Universe […]

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