The Bookseller – Features – Prizes for Writers with Disabilities: Four Awards Celebrating Disability


The Barbellion Prize is a book prize dedicated to promoting sick and disabled voices in writing. The award is given annually to an author whose work has best represented the experience of chronic illness and/or disability.

The winning work may be of any genre: fiction, memoir, biography, poetry or critical non-fiction from around the world, whether in English or in translation, traditionally published or self-published.

The award is named in honor of English columnist WNP Barbellion, who wrote eloquently about his life with multiple sclerosis (MS) before his death in 1919.

Writing is a great way for people who are ill and disabled to make sense of what they are going through. Yet the history of disability literature, or public awareness of illness, disability, and disease, is still relatively limited. As such, the Barbellion Prize was created to espouse the existence of ill and disabled writers and to reward authors for their good work and effort.

Previous winners include What Willow Says by Lynn Buckle and Golem Girl by Riva Lehrer. Applications for the 2022 Barbellion Prize are now open until October 31, 2022.

For more information and to submit work, readers can visit


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