About Chris Bonnello (Captain Quirk)

Chris Bonnello speaking at Sydney Opera House, April 2018.

Chris Bonnello is a 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 autisticnotweird.com. He is also the author of Underdogs, a near-future war novel featuring autistic 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.

Speaking at the Boys’ Brigade National Conference in Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 2016.

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 (April 2019) autisticnotweird.com has had over two million page hits, and his Facebook community stands at over 103,000 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, is due out in May 2019.

His personality remains slightly odd.

Accolades

Nominee National Diversity Awards 2017 Positive Role Model (Disability)
Winner Autism Hero Awards 2017 Top Journalism Award
Winner Learning Disability and Autism Leaders’ List 2018 Advocacy, Policy and Media
Winner Autism Hero Awards 2018 Online Social Network Award
Winner National Autistic Society Professionals Awards 2019 Outstanding 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.

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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Are you tired of characters with special needs being tokenised and based on stereotypes, or being the victims rather than the heroes? This novel may interest you!

Underdogs, a near-future dystopia novel where the heroes are teenagers with special needs, is soon to be released through Unbound Publishing. A character-driven war story which pitches twelve people against an army of millions, it balances intense action with a deeply developed neurodiverse cast.

Amazon.co.uk link for British readers
Book Depository link for overseas readers
Pre-order link for the already-commissioned sequel!


Chris Bonnello is a national and international autism speaker, available to lead talks and training sessions from the perspective of an autistic former teacher. For further information please click here (opens in new window).
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