Discover a slave pianist & autistic savant       

In an award winning biography, author Deirdre O'Connell pieces together two worlds of Blind Tom Wiggins:
the exploitative world he lived in and the symphony inside his head.

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"Tom's is a story with bottomless complexity, touching on race and sanity and slavery and art. But ultimately his life makes us think about what it means to be human."  -- The Los Angeles Times      

"When I read the book The Ballad of Blind Tom, I thought to myself, "If this isn't a song, nothing is." It appealed to my method of writing" -- Bernie Taupin, Lyricist    

"An exciting narrative full of powerful visual imagery... An irresistible read" -- Living Blues Magazine

"A vivid, carefully researched narrative" -- Publishers Weekly

"A dizzying, mytho-magic aria, inflected by field hollers, the natural world, and poetry — and riveting political bluster" -- Georgia Music Magazine

"Wonderful...Goes a long was towards putting Wiggins career in proper perspective" -- John Davis, Pianist

"Both black history and music libraries will find compelling this true story of a black musical savant in slavery times" -- Midwest Book Review

"Full of wit and wild anecdote, The Ballad of Blind Tom has an astonishing cast of characters...It would be story of overpowering sadness had Blind Tom not been so full of life."  -- Jeff Calder, Georgia Public Radio's Cover to Cover

"Deirdre O'Connell's meticulously researched and footnoted The Ballad of Blind Tom is a remarkable tale set against the heated backdrop of the Civil War" -- Roy Traykin,

The Ballad of Blind Tom is one of the 2010 Books All Georgians Should Read compiled by the Georgia Center of the Book.

About the Author

Deirdre O'Connell is a writer and documentary-maker with an interest in biography and African American music history.  Having made numerous documentaries for the United Nations Environment Program, she is now a Research Associate in the Department of History at the University of Sydney.
She is also the Producer of Starting At Zero, a music documentary on the life of Jimi Hendrix, due for release in 2017.
She lives in the Blue Mountains, outside Sydney, Australia.