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Six writers were awarded a new fellowship for disabled artists.

Aaron Robertson

October 14, 2020, 3:03pm

A number of writers were named Disability Futures Fellows as part of a new initiative that supports disabled artists working in various media. Each of the 20 fellows begins the 18-month fellowship with a $50,000 grant.

A coalition of philanthropic organizations created the fellowship after a year of conversations about how best to serve disabled artists.

Writers in the 2020 class include:

John Lee Clark, a poet, essayist, and translator who has written and edited books including Where I Stand, Deaf American Poetry, and Deaf Lit Extravaganza. Clark plays an active role in the Protactile movement, which explores methods of communication that rely on touch.

Another recipient, activist Alice Wong, founded the Disability Visibility Project and has edited a number of books, including the recent Disability Visibility: First-Person Stories from the Twenty-First Century. (Lit Hub featured a selection from this anthology earlier this year).

Jen Deerinwater also contributed to Disability Visibility. Much of Jen’s writing focuses on Indigenous communities and issues like reproductive and land justice, as well as accessibility in organizing.

Riva Lehrer is a writer and curator whose memoir, Golem Girl, was published this month.

Earlier this year, recipient Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha won the Lambda Literary Foundation’s Jean Cordova Prize for Lesbian/Queer Nonfiction. She has written and edited nine books.

And Eli Clare, a poet and essayist, centers disability, queerness, and social justice in his fiction and nonfiction.

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