Somebody Somewhere by Donna Williams

What is 'autistic culture' and where did the concept of autistic culture, autistic communities begin?  What would happen if, for a change, autistic people began showing the way for their own communities?  This book takes you on that journey.

Published in 1995, Somebody Somewhere is Donna's Williams' second number one international bestseller in the mainstream publishing world.  It is the second book in the autobiographical series and like each book can be read as a stand alone book. 

Diagnosed in the 1960s as psychotic at the age of two when autism was known as Childhood Psychosis, Donna has lived 26 years believing she was born mad.  Now, Donna meets psychologist and autism expert Dr Marek who reconfirms her diagnosis with the more modern day term of autism and offers to work with her.  But when he suggests he can give her training in social skills and handshakes, she is not interested in learning to further bury herself in 'acting normal'.  Instead she determines to get from him the non-autistic translations for the array of experiences and concepts she has only ever made sense of in her own special language, kept secret within her own world.  

Dr Marek is soon not the only teacher.  Navigating the combinations of xenophobia, charity, curiosity and kindness, Donna graduates as a teacher and travels overseas to work with autistic children and other adults like herself.  In the process, she finds a way of belonging and 'simply being' among others without selling out who she really is and lays foundations for changing forever the way autism is understood by the wider world.


* Anyone wanting to understand the social world of people with autism
* Teens and adults living with disabilities and dealing with estrangement from the mainstream world,
* Those living with or in relationships with people with autism and mental health challenges,
* Those working with people with autism who dare to challenge the assumptions and stereotypes,

What readers said:

  • By illuminating her own unique perceptions, she allows us to understand our own perceptions as never before...And oh, can she write - The New York Times
  • Every few years I read a book that completely captivates me, taking over my imagination and changing forever my perception of the world. Somebody Somewhere is such a book - The Washington Post
  • To be able to do what Donna Williams has done, by age 27, and to write about it so poignantly and so articulately is to function on a higher level than most 'normal' folk achieve in a lifetime - Boston Globe
  • Provides a shining light into the dark mystery of autism - Detroit Free Press



You can order this book from the publishers

The current publishers for Somebody Somewhere are listed here

If in Australia you can order this book from the distributor, Footprint Books here

If you're a publisher looking to acquire other foreign language rights, please contact JKP to discuss acquisition.

Why I wrote the book

I wrote my second autobiography, Somebody Somewhere because I was changing so fast I feared I'd move on from this important new phase without ever documenting my perception, thinking, values and communication style at that time.  Somebody Somewhere was so completely different to Nobody Nowhere and exposed a world of such different, forgotten citizens of the world, that the story had to be told, to give a voice to the voiceless, to be a starting point for solidarity and building bridges. It too became a number one international bestseller.


Together inside of a Hula Hoop, Michael and I went for "a walk“ with Michael leading. We stopped at the playground, climbed out, and played follow-the-leader until neither of us could tell who was the follower and who was the leader. We made musical patterns out of the sounds made by tapping various wooden beams and metal pipes, and filled in each other's tunes, composing.
   Two girls came by chattering with each other. They shot a strange expression in our direction before detouring to play several feet away. Michael stood stock still like a shop mannequin. His smiling face grew solemn, his eyes stopped smiling. His fist came tensely up to his chest and he glared at me. In a loud, deep monotone, he hit himself with each syllable as he announced, ˜NOR-MAL'. I looked at the girls and looked back at him. ˜Yes...' I said, Michael and Donna are NOR-MAL.'

....'I lost my legs today,' said Olivier excitedly. ˜I had no sense of my body from my waist down. I felt like I was flying. It was wonderful.'  ˜I got lost in my reflection today too,' said Olivier, ˜I was lost in my eyes and by the time I woke up it was several hours later. What was so crazy, though, was that I was so far asleep that at first I couldn't tell which side of the mirror I was on until I moved.'
   One cannot fly with a physical body they say. Nor can one walk into a mirror. Olivier was sane. They were illusions, not delusions. If you had asked him if people can fly, he would have told you straight, no.