Chris Bonnello speaking at Sydney Opera House, April 2018.

Chris Bonnello is a British writer, novelist and special needs tutor with Asperger’s Syndrome, formerly a primary school teacher. Since 2015, he has become a national and international speaker on autism issues, and the multi-award-winning writer behind Autistic Not Weird. He is also the author of the Underdogs novels, a near-future war series featuring autistic and otherwise neurodiverse heroes.

Bonnello was first assessed for autism in 1989, at the age of four. Despite a damning report into his deficiencies concerning speech, expressive language and social competence, he did not receive a diagnosis since he was not deemed severe enough by 1989 standards.

At the age of ten, an educational psychologist reported him as having a “slightly odd personality”. He grew up believing himself to be the weird kid, until his Asperger Syndrome diagnosis finally came at the age of 25. Since then, he has been able to turn his attitude around and define himself by his strengths rather than his weaknesses, and encourages other autistic people to see their own strengths.

Having qualified as a teacher and worked in both primary and special education, he left the profession and launched Autistic Not Weird in April 2015, to share his insights from both a personal and professional perspective. At time of writing (August 2019) autisticnotweird.com has had over two million page hits, and his Facebook community stands at over 108,000 followers.

He also has followings on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. In July 2017, follower support on Patreon allowed him to quit his day job to write for Autistic Not Weird for a living.

Bonnello delivers talks (nationally and internationally), has been nominated for five awards to date (winning four), has played chess internationally (winning nothing), captains his local Boys’ Brigade company, published his first autism-related non-fiction book in 2016, and his first novel, Underdogs, came out in May 2019 with several sequels to follow.

His personality remains slightly odd.

Accolades

NomineeNational Diversity Awards 2017Positive Role Model (Disability)
WinnerAutism Hero Awards 2017Top Journalism Award
WinnerLearning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018Advocacy, Policy and Media
WinnerAutism Hero Awards 2018Online Social Network Award
WinnerNational Autistic Society Professionals Awards 2019Outstanding Achievement by an Individual on the Autism Spectrum

Publications

What We Love Most About Life: insights from 150 young people across the autism spectrum (non-fiction), 2016. Art/design by Nancy J. Price.

‘Hide and Seek’ (short story), in Monster Anthology, 2016.

‘The Book of the Bystander’ (short story), in Bystander, 2017.

Underdogs (novel), 2019. Published by Unbound.

Underdogs: Tooth and Nail (novel), TBC. To be published by Unbound.

Academia

BSc (hons) Mathematics with Education (University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, 2007)

PGCE Primary Teaching (Nottingham Trent University, 2010)

MA Creative Writing (Nottingham Trent University, 2017)

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