Applications open September 1, 2021 and close on September 30, 2021


  • Citizens of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and Maldives living in their home countries for the duration of the mentorship (January 2022 -December 2022). Afghan writers are exempt from the residence clause and may be based anywhere in the world. 

  • Applicants must be working on one of the following long-term projects: a book of fiction/a book of non-fiction/a work in translation/a series of linked reported pieces. The projects may include short stories, memoirs, travel narratives and more as long as they fit into the mentioned genres and are in English. We do not accept applicants without a project proposal. We don't currently accept poetry or writing for children. 

  • In 2022, we also have the following special categories, if you are eligible please say so in your email. 
    Fatima Bhutto will mentor a writer working on climate in South Asia. She will also mentor an Afghan writer working on either a fiction or non-fiction project.
    Aanchal Malhotra is interested in projects on the Partition of India. They may be fiction or non-fiction. 
    Aruni Kashyap would like to mentor a writer from North-East India.
    Arunava Sinha will mentor early career translators working in any language. 

  • Writers who have published a book are ineligible, unless the work is no more than a chapter/essay in an anthology. Self-published authors are welcome.

  • The mentorship is for people who haven't had the opportunity to workshop writing in a formal setting. If you have attended a creative writing class, writing residency or writing fellowship outside South Asia please do not apply. 

  • There is no application fee and no hidden costs. The program is completely free.

  • There is no age restriction.

  • Applicants who applied last year but weren't successful are welcome to try again with an updated proposal.  

  • Please send one proposal only.


  • To apply for the 2022 cycle, please submit your application by September 30, 2021.

  • Successful applicants will be informed in January 2022. We are unable to respond to the other applications or to offer feedback.


  • Mention your genre in your subject line. Introduce yourself briefly in no more that three or four lines. Please mention your age, location, and writing experience. And tell us why you are applying for the mentorship and what you hope to get out of it.

  • Give us a synopsis of the project for which you are seeking a mentor. The synopsis should be no longer than two paragraphs. Non-fiction and reportage applicants must describe their methodology particularly in light of covid-related restrictions.

  • Add two links to published works OR attach two samples of writing. All fiction applicants must include one sample from the project for which they are seeking a mentor. We are unable to accept fiction writers who are yet to begin their project. This requirement may be waived for non-fiction applicants who may attach any two recent writing samples. Each writing sample should be a maximum of 5,000 words. We do not accept academic papers as samples.

  • Please note: A South Asia Speaks mentorship is for committed writers. Fellows will be expected to communicate with their mentors in a timely manner, submit writing and be open to feedback. A fellow who doesn't live up to the spirit of the mentorship will be released from the program without notice.

  • ​Email your complete application to We are unable to process incomplete applications.


  • The mentorship will take place over Zoom. Successful candidates will receive six zoom calls from their mentor in 2022.


  • We have twenty four mentors in 2022. Mentors will make their own choice based on shared goals and interests. Please only apply if you are willing to work with any one of our mentors.