Judy Singer is several thousand miles from her Australian home, on a two-week trip around the UK, which includes an onstage interview at Cambridge University and her receipt of an honorary fellowship from Birkbeck, University of London. Soon after we meet, she will do a round of sightseeing, then travel to meet relatives in Hungary. Her itinerary sounds very taxing, but her tiredness is combined with the pleasure of being belatedly honoured for her trailblazing work.
We meet in a central London cafe where, for nearly three hours, she guides me through a life story that takes in the aftermath of the Holocaust, life in communist eastern Europe, her family’s migration to Australia, and a life that has mixed academia and activism with plenty of struggle and hardship. But what we talk about the most is neurodiversity, the concept she quietly introduced to the world in 1997.