SOUTH ASIA SPEAKS
A mentorship program helping early career South Asian writers find their voice. To be eligible writers must be working on a long term project. This could be a book of fiction or non-fiction, a translated work or a series of reported pieces. We have 20 places available in our 2021 pilot cycle. To apply, scroll down for FAQ.
UPDATE: Applications have closed for 2021. To know about future programs please subscribe to our substack.
MENTORS & MENTEES 2021
Prayaag Akbar: Atharva Pandit
Fatima Bhutto: Nazuk Iftikhar Rao, Arslan Athar, Disha Mullick and Monika Mandal
Aruni Kashyap: Subi Taba, Chandrima Das
Nikita Lalwani: Amna Chaudhry
Karan Mahajan: Waseem Rashid
Aanchal Malhotra: Nusrat Jafri
Mahesh Rao: Tenzin Kunkey and Mohit Manohar
Altaf Tyrewala: CG Salamander
Madhuri Vijay: Ajay Patri and Rahee Punyashloka
Mirza Waheed: Samia Mehraj
Rahul Bhatia: Rabia Mushtaq
Isaac Chotiner: Zeyad Masroor Khan
Sonia Faleiro: Elizabeth Soumya Raj
McKenzie Funk: Tenzin Sangmo
Marc Herman: Aditi Mittal
Samar Halarnkar: Shazia Nigar
Mira Kamdar: Pallavi Narayan
Sanam Maher: Nikhil Eapen
Samanth Subramanian: Amruta Byatnal
Arunava Sinha: Sonakshi Srivastava, Subhajit Sikder and Dhrubo Jyoti, Sarbajaya Bhattachaya and Priyamvada Ramkumar
WHAT IS SOUTH ASIA SPEAKS?
South Asia Speaks is a mentorship program for early career writers living in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives. Mentors help polish a major project, which can be a book of fiction or non-fiction, a translated work, or a series of reported pieces. Mentors will review writing, listen to concerns, and help problem solve. They can assist in story framing, building narrative structure, working on character development and much more.
The pilot project will take place in January 2021 and last 12 months. The project has 20 mentors who will each mentor one writer over Zoom. There is no application fee.
WHO CAN APPLY?
Citizens of India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Nepal and the Maldives living in their home countries for the duration of the mentorship (January 2021 -December 2021).
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.
Writers who have already published a book, or graduated from a journalism school, creative writing program or literary internship outside South Asia are ineligible to apply.
WHERE DO I APPLY?
Please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. See email format below.
WHAT DOES THE APPLICATION INCLUDE?
Please introduce yourself briefly (two lines). Then tell us of your subject interest: fiction, non-fiction, reportage or translation.
Add two links to published works OR attach two samples of writing.
Finally, give us a synopsis of the project for which you're seeking a mentor. The synopsis should be no longer than two paragraphs.
IS THERE AN AGE RESTRICTION? IS THERE AN APPLICATION FEE?
No and no.
WHAT IS THE APPLICATION DEADLINE?
The application deadline is December 10, 2020. Successful applicants will be informed in the first two weeks of January 2021.
CAN I CHOOSE MY MENTOR?
Mentors will make their own choice based on shared goals and interests.
I'M SOUTH ASIAN BUT I DON'T CURRENTLY LIVE IN SOUTH ASIA/I CURRENTLY LIVE IN SOUTH ASIA BUT WILL BE GOING ABROAD TO STUDY SOMETIME NEXT YEAR. AM I ELIGIBLE?
I'm afraid not. The program is only for writers who will be based in South Asia for the duration of 2021.
I HAVE PUBLISHED ONE BOOK, MAY I APPLY?
I'm sorry, no. The mentorship is for early career writers who are yet to publish a book. However, self-published writers and those who have so far only contributed chapters/essays to books are eligible.
WILL MENTORS READ MY WORK?
Yes, mentors will review and give you feedback on your project. New materials should be submitted at least a week prior to your mentorship call.
I HAVE A QUESTION THAT HASN'T BEEN ANSWERED ON THIS PAGE.
HOW LONG SHOULD EACH WRITING SAMPLE BE?
We aren't picky, but no more than 2,500 words please.
CAN THE WRITING SAMPLE BE THE SAME AS THE PROJECT PROPOSAL?
Afraid not. We need to get a sense of your style, ability, and interests. We request two separate writing samples and one project proposal.
I WOULD LOVE TO WRITE A BOOK/SERIES BUT I'M NOT CURRENTLY WORKING ON ANYTHING NOR DO I PLAN TO START ONE IMMEDIATELY
Our conversations will focus on your long-term project. So please only apply if you are working on a long-term project or hope to start one in 2021 for which you can share a proposal.
DO YOU ACCEPT POETRY/SCREENPLAYS?
We are currently accepting only fiction (all sub-genres), non-fiction and journalism.
CAN I SUBMIT TWO APPLICATIONS?
Just one, please.
I'M SELF-PUBLISHED, AM I ELIGIBLE?
Yes, you are.