Introducing Sign Language Literature

Folklore and Creativity

by Rachel Sutton-Spence and Michiko Kaneko Also by Rachel Sutton-Spence: Analysing Sign Language Poetry

Both authors have years of experience teaching sign language to students, teachers and professionals around the world.


Rachel Sutton-Spence has worked in sign language research since 1989. She has long been fascinated by sign language poetry and folklore, and has published extensively on linguistic and educational aspects of sign language creativity, humour and metaphor. She is co-author, with Bencie Woll, of The Linguistics of British Sign Language: An Introduction (1999). She taught sign language linguistics and literature at the University of Bristol and to professionals working with sign language within the British Deaf community for many years. She is now a lecturer in Sign Language Studies at the Federal University of Santa Catarina in Brazil.

Michiko Kaneko obtained a PhD in Deaf Studies in the University of Bristol, where she also completed a three-year postdoctoral project titled "Metaphor in Creative Sign Language". She moved to South Africa in 2012, and is currently a Lecturer and Head of the Department of South African Sign Language in the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. Her research interests include sign language linguistics, sign language literature (poetry and stories expressed visually, spatially and manually) and metaphor studies.