“Deaf.” How do we learn what we know about being deaf and about deafness? What’s the difference between “being deaf” and “deafness” as a particular kind of (non) hearing? Which would you rather be, deaf or blind: children commonly ask this question as they make their early forays into imagining the lives of people different from them. Hearing people cannot know what it is like to be deaf, just as deaf people cannot know what it is like to hear ... or can they? Finally, how can we tell fresh and authentic stories of “being deaf” and the state of “deafness” that disrupt our familiar—perhaps even caricatured—patterns of understanding? In this special “deaf” edition of M/C Journal we wanted to create a body of work in which deaf writers and thinkers would have their say. Mindful that "Deaf history may be characterized as a struggle for Deaf individuals to 'speak' for themselves rather than to be spoken about in medical and educational discourses" (Bauman 47), we were particularly keen to place the contributions of deaf writers and thinkers alongside the mainstream hearing culture. This is why we have chosen not to identify each writer in this edition as deaf or hearing, preferring to leave that biographical auditory detail to the writers themselves.