Applications are now open for the 2024 edition of Language is a Queer Thing!

Language is a Queer Thing returns for a third year with 6 LGBTQIA+ spoken word artists and poets from India and the UK. Supported by British Council and delivered by The Queer Muslim Project in partnership with Bradford 2025 UK City of Culture, Bradford Producing Hub , VERVE Poetry Festival and Kolkata Literary Meet, the programme will connect emerging and mid-career poets with seasoned UK and Indian experts to further their creative journey and help them take their work to global audiences.  A big focus of LIAQT 2024 will be on the use of poetry to create and transform communities

The cohort will meet online and in person in India to not just create a groundbreaking set of spoken word poetry and perform live for audiences, but they will also collaborate with local communities to host activities and performances that celebrate and amplify new and diverse perspectives for creative expression, cultural exchange and cross-border collaboration. 

Selected poets will each receive an honorarium of 500 GBP to create and showcase new artistic work exploring the link between language, queerness and identity as well as to engage local people of different ages and backgrounds in creative cultural activity. All expenses related to participation in the programme, including international travel, accommodation and daily per diems will be covered.

The 2024 programme will include the following components:

    • Online Programme (Sep – Dec 2024)
        • Creative writing and performance workshops by leading UK/India experts

        • Mentoring and feedback to write collaboratively and create new work that can reach wider audiences

    • On-site Residency in India (Jan 2025)
        • January 2025: On-site residency in India

        • 21-26 January 2025: Kolkata Literary Meet

        • Professional development and networking opportunities 

    • Expected Creative Outputs
        • A minimum of 3 original spoken word pieces

        • A public showcase at a major literature festival

        • Community engagement through workshops and other creative activities


Applications open: 10 July 2024 

Applications close: 21 August 2024 (11:55 PM IST)

Finalists announced: September 2024

Participants will be required to attend up to 4 core online workshops on select weekends from 10 am to 12 pm UK time, between September to December 2024. Special guest sessions will be shared as and when they are scheduled, depending on guest availability. 

Attendance is mandatory for the online as well in person components of the programme. Please apply only if you have the capacity to give the required time to the programme, including attending online sessions and completing writing and creative assignments between September 2024 to January 2025.

Who we are looking for

    • Emerging and mid-career LGBTQIA+ spoken word poets with a demonstrated track record of writing and performance experience
    • Applications from individuals who are citizens of India or the UK, or have resided in either country for a significant duration, with a valid passport for international travel
    • Applicants from backgrounds currently underrepresented within the cultural and publishing sector, including those from refugee or migrant backgrounds, ethnic or religious minorities or other intersectional identities
    • Artists with a strong community presence or those who are able to clearly demonstrate how their creative practice is rooted in communities
    • Applicants with a fluent hold of English, as the medium of instruction and the work that emerges from this programme will be in English


Created as part of British Council’s India/UK Together Season of Culture 2022 by The Queer Muslim Project in collaboration with VERVE Poetry Festival, Language is a Queer Thing is an international poetry development programme engaging LGBTQIA+ poets, poetry professionals and communities in India and the UK. The programme has emerged as the only exchange programme of its kind bringing together LGBTQIA+ talent from South Asia and the UK and creating sustainable pathways for cross-border collaborations and creative dialogue between artists and institutions.

Since its inception, Language is a Queer Thing has fostered connections across borders through a nurturing community space, generative writing and performance workshops, 1-1 mentor meetings, in person residences and festival collaborations in host cities. Over two years, the project has travelled to cities such as Birmingham, Leeds and Mumbai and supported 12 emerging and mid-career LGBTQIA+ poets from India and the UK with career development opportunities, published their work in 2 anthologies by VERVE Poetry Press, and helped them reach over 2 million listeners through BBC Radio programmes and in person audiences at leading festivals such as BBC Contains Strong Language, Tata Literature Live, Jaipur Literature Festival and Spoken Fest. LIAQT alumni have secured book deals with top publishers such as Bloomsbury, been featured in a UK national campaign by West End, and launched their own podcasts and community initiatives.

DEADLINE: 21 August 2024, 11:55 PM IST | 7:25 PM UK Time
For any queries, please contact us at with the subject line “LIAQT 2024 Query”.