About Donna W. Hill

Donna W. Hill is an author, singer-songwriter, recording artist, speaker and avid knitter. She and her husband Rich live among the frogs and birds in Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains with Donna’s guide dog Mo (their 3-year-old yellow Lab) and Goofus, their rescued strawberry blonde tabby.


Her educator-recommended novel The Heart of Applebutter Hill is a high school mystery with excursions into fantasy for middle school and older readers. It was reviewed in Future Reflections and Word Gathering magazines and in local papers and TV, including by students of Lackawanna Trail High School (WNEP, TV-16 Scranton, PA)


Born legally blind from Retinitis Pigmentosa, Donna was the first blind student to complete twelve years in the Easton (Pennsylvania) Area School District. She was bullied throughout school, and teachers either believed she shouldn’t be in public school or that she was faking her vision loss. She is keenly aware of the need for greater understanding of blindness by the public.


Hill’s purpose in writing this book is two-fold: to open the eyes of the sighted world about blindness and to give blind teens a role-model like themselves. Sighted readers can meet an authentic blind person in the safe setting of an exciting mystery adventure. Blind teens and adults get a rare opportunity to see themselves in fiction.


A long-time street performer in Philadelphia, online journalist and contributor to local newspapers, Hill’s short stories and memoirs appear in magazines including Magnets & Ladders, the Daisy Planet, Slate & Style and the Braille Monitor. Books featuring her writing include Behind Our Eyes: a Second Look (anthology, 2013); On the Wings of Pink Angels (Dawn Colclasure, 2012); and Now: Embracing the Present Moment (Rick Singer, 2011).

A talk show host and producer for RICB, a radio reading service for blind people in Philadelphia, her coverage of the Carter Inauguration marked the first time a blind representative of such a service was awarded national press credentials. Hill also interviewed local and national celebrities, including the late blind guitarist Doc Watson. Dr. Kent Gustavson interviewed Hill for his biography of Watson, Blind, But Now I See (2010).


An experienced talk-show guest, she has been interviewed by psychologist Dr. James Sutton (The Changing Behavior Network), Janie Degenshein   (“On the Bright Side” WTOE radio), Nancy Reed and Lisa Smith (Big Blend Magazine‘s “Champaign Sundays”) and has appeared on Eyes on Success, Disability Matters and Blind & Beyond among others. She was recognized by Stanford University’s Stanford Social Innovations Review, “Third Sector Grit” (July 2010).

Donna self-produced three recordings of her music.  Rainbow Colors and Harvest, as Donna Weiss, and The Last Straw as Donna Hill.  When her first album debuted, she appeared on “Fresh Air with Terry Gross (WHYY-fm. She appeared multiple times on  WHYY‘s Sunday evening folk music show with the “Dean of Folk DJs” Gene Shay.


Her book Unopened Gifts: Tales Out of School, (1994, published with a grant from Lutheran Brotherhood) was used to help congregations integrate people with disabilities.

Contact Donna for classes, workshops, etc.:



Donna W. Hill’s Books

The Heart of Applebutter Hill

Alone in a strange country and a bit cynical, 14-year-old refugees Baggy and Abigail are rounded up with other refugee kids. Taken to Transition House at the Plumkettle Learning Center, they await guardians. Photographer Baggy moves to the mountains with the secretive Captain Sodpeg. Abigail, who is losing her sight, gets a guide dog and… [Read More]

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