Avijit-Ananta Mentorship Programme for writers (September-December 2022)

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Since its inception, Shuddhashar has remained committed to giving marginalised voices a platform. Over three decades, we have had the privilege of publishing works of writers, poets, and artists who represent communities that live on the margins, who are denied rights by the dominant majority, and whose voices are silenced by governments and mainstream media organisations. Even in exile and under very different circumstances, we are committed to offering our platform as a virtual sanctuary for dissident voices.

Yet, during this time, many of our contributors, especially those from the non-Western world, have shared with us the obstacles they face in improving their writing skills and accessing important literature necessary to produce an informed piece on subjects they are interested in. Other writers in exile find they have insufficient practice writing compelling arguments in English for global audiences. Shuddhashar aims to remove these obstacles.

Towards that goal, we have launched a mentorship programme aimed at fostering young or developing intellectuals. The programme is named after Avijit Roy and Ananta Bijoy Dash — two former Shuddhashar writers who perished under machete attacks — who mentored and inspired countless young freethinkers of Bangladesh. Mentors will provide extra sets of eyes to the programme participants, encourage, and challenge them to reach new goals, offer honest criticisms on the works they produce, and assist them in identifying and accessing the most important studies, trends, and debates in the particular areas they have chosen. The overarching aim of this mentorship programme is to bring forth a bunch of intellectuals who can produce works that contain original ideas that could shape not only the future of the communities they represent but also of the wider world. Participants of the inaugural batch have appreciated the programme and found that it helped them to advance their burgeoning academic careers. Shreeti Shubham, whose essay Cast and the Digital Sphere won the best essay prize, shares her thoughts on the programme here.


Who we are looking for

We are looking for university students and recent graduates from the global south with a background in the humanities or social sciences, writers living in exile who want to develop their intellectual capacity, improve their skills in critical thinking, pursue a career in academia, and/or launch a writing career. Students from other areas are also encouraged to apply. We will prioritise students in the final year of their undergraduate studies, pursuing their master’s degree, and recent graduates. The programme will be conducted in English. Please note that this is not a programme for teaching English grammar.


The ‘Avijit-Ananta Mentorship programme’ at a glance

Project Leader: Lisa I. Knight, Ph.D., Editor of Shuddhashar, Professor, Departments of Asian Studies, Anthropology, and Religion at Furman University, South Carolina, USA.

Project Co-ordinator: Siddhartha Dhar, Assistant editor of Shuddhashar, Writer, Translator, MSc, Political Science, Uppsala University, Sweden.

Duration: 3 months

Target groups: Young upcoming writers based in the global south and writers in exile.

Awards:  Project work that makes original contributions to its respective fields will be published in Shuddhashar and receive an honorarium.


Programme Outline

The mentorship programme runs for three months. It is designed to develop the participant’s knowledge of academic research. Participants will learn how to identify and evaluate reliable sources of information and make and write good arguments. By the end of the programme, the participant is expected to produce a scholarly essay (in English) that critically examines and analyses a research problem in their field of interest. The participant will be provided with access to the relevant literature and receive extensive written feedback from the mentors throughout the programme period. The best essay will win a prize from Shuddhashar.


Application Due: 10 September 2021.

Applicants will be notified about the status of their application by 18 September 2022.


Required Documents

  1. CV
  2. A one-page letter of motivation that includes a tentative research proposal (in English). (Please note that the proposed research project should be congruent with the programme structure. Participants should be able to finish their research work, including their essay, within two months, and it should not require extensive fieldwork.)

***Please send the required documents to info.team@shuddhashar.com

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