Deep in rural Mexico there is a Maya village in which so many of the inhabitants are deaf that everyone, hearing and deaf alike, communicates through sign language. Ismael and his two sisters, Rosie and Cristina, were born into this tight–knit community. But when Ismael gets into a fight at the local fiesta, he has to flee the village for the city, leaving vivacious Cristina and inward-looking Rosie to fend for themselves. This disruption to their lives forces changes for them all and their lives will never be the same again.
Ismael and His Sisters conjures up a world in which sign language gives a physical shape to experience. Above all it is a very human story of how we express ourselves, understand each other and experience the world around us.
Louise Stern is the fourth generation deaf in her family and grew up in an exclusively deaf community in California. She has lived in London for more than a decade, and worked for much of that time for Sam Taylor-Johnson née Sam Taylor-Wood. She is an artist, playwright and writer, and develops ideas about language and communication in her work. Her first collection of short stories, Chattering, was published by Granta in 2011. She has written scripts for theatre, including The Ugly Birds and The Interpreter (both performed at the Bush Theatre), as well as stories for BBC Radio 4 in 2012, 2013 and 2014. Her artwork has been exhibited in galleries in Geneva, Barcelona, Madrid, London and Port Eliot among other places, and she is the founder and publisher of Maurice, a contemporary art magazine for children. She is also a keen amateur surfer.