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Beyond Ability

The mentorship for disabled writers


As a disabled person, writing can be a tough thing. From betrayals of the body to betrayals of the mind, putting things on paper is never easy. It's even harder when you are expected to be vulnerable and open while sharing a piece of life writing. The able bodied gaze, the judgements, the constant pressure to prove your 'worth'. The South Asia Speaks mentorship can make the process of navigating all that a little less lonely. You will have someone to talk to, receive feedback, and have open conversations about writing and life around it.

Abhishek Anicca,

Author, “The Grammar of my Body"

Beyond Ability is a mentorship for disabled writers. The disability can be locomotor, visual, hearing, psychosocial or neurological. Writers with learning disabilities are welcome as are writers with chronic illnesses and rare diseases that might not fall under the purview of 'disability' in their respective countries. Disabled writers who come from the intersections of marginalized caste, class and gender identities are encouraged to apply. The mentorship will be conducted online and applicants are requested to mention any specific accommodations that they might require. 

The mentorship is led by writer, poet and performer Abhishek Anicca who identifies as a person with locomotor disability and chronic illness. He has written on disability and illness for publications across the world. His performances and poetry are often an extension of his activism. Abhishek edits Dislang, a magazine that publishes personal narratives of disability and illness. His first book, The Grammar of my Body, is published by Penguin Random House India.

Beyond Ability is open to unpublished writers living in South Asia and working on a major project such as a book or a collection of stories in fiction, non-fiction, translation and poetry. There is no age limit, application fee, or requirement to produce letters of reference. 

Applications for the mentorship open in the first week of September every year. To apply for the next cohort, please click here.

Beyond Ability Class of 2024

Samiya Javed Akhtar.jpeg
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