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The Literary Mentorship

South Asia Speaks is a non-profit foundation that offers literary mentorship to outstanding emerging writers living in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives.

Our goal is to cultivate excellence, dismantle the biases that exist in the publishing industry, and build a critical mass of literary voices that represent South Asia.


We are grateful to the Hawthornden Foundation for supporting our work

We match South Asia-based writers who have applied for support to produce a major work with published authors from around the world. We support fiction, nonfiction, reportage, translation and poetry. In 2023, we introduced "Beyond Ability" for writers who identify as a person with a disability.


Since 2020, South Asia Speaks fellows have published six books with major publishing houses. They have gone on to The Iowa Writers' Workshop, Logan Nonfiction Program, The New India FoundationInternational Women's Media Foundation and The American Literary Translators Association's Emerging Translator Mentorship Program.

The application is very competitive. Every year we received more than 500 applications for twenty fellowships. Our ideal fellow is talented and driven with a track record of finishing a project. Since we are assembling a class, we are looking for fellows who will contribute to a collegial atmosphere and support one another. 

The geographical diversity of our fellows is reflected in the books they are working on, many of which are only published because of the support and visibility of our program. Topics include Muslim life in India, an investigation into the persecution of the Ahmadi community in Pakistan, and a novel set during a Dalit protest. 

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Applications for the 5th edition of South Asia Speaks open in September 2024









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