Call for Submissions: Essays by the Disabled on Rites of Passage

When I lost my sight in my late twenties, I thought the rest of my life would be dull and boring. Boy was I wrong. Still, my initial misconception stemmed from two thoughts: First, I had never seen a blind person be mischievous, sexy, or fun in any form of media. Secondly, the lack of representation of people with disabilities at large in popular culture gave me the false impression that the disabled community didn’t have much to share.

It’s been nine years since I lost my sight and now I know, firsthand, that people with disabilities come with all sorts of personalities and cool stories. Now, I’m hoping to share a collection of essays by people with disabilities that show the general public that the disabled are not as different as they may perceive — we just happen to negotiate life differently. I’m looking to put together a collection of essays by the disabled that focus on rites of passage: first kiss, first day of school, getting married, and parenting come to mind; however, the land of firsts is vast and I’m open to whatever first experience someone is willing to share. With this collection, I am hoping to show the masses that the disabled are neither dull nor boring.

I am in communication with an acquisition editor at a very reputable press that is quite interested in the project. So now, it is all about gathering the storytellers.


  1. Essays must be a minimum of 5k words, but should not exceed 7k words
  2. Essays need to be submitted as a doc, docx, PDF, or RTF
  3. Authors may only submit one essay for consideration
  4. Essays need to be written in a conversational style and focus on one event

What I’m not looking for

  1. Essays about a person overcoming a disease
  2. Essays that put down any group of people
  3. Essays with a lot of violence
  4. Photographic essays

The submission period begins May 1, 2016 and ends December 1, 2016.

You can submit your entry to the following email:

For more about me, please visit:

Belo Cipriani View more

Belo Cipriani is the award-winning author of Blind: A Memoir and Midday Dreams. He is a disability advocate, a spokesman for Guide Dogs for the Blind, and is currently the national spokesman for 100 Percent Wine -- a premium winery that donates 100 percent of proceeds to nonprofits that help people with disabilities find work.


  1. What an amazing opportunity! Can I just ask – is there a possibility of writers getting any kind of payment if they are published? Thank you so much.

  2. Just a clarification question, since this is listed under the mobility disability category — is this for all disabled people, or specifically for mobility disability?

  3. Does this include people with mental illness? You may have answered this question when you said you were not looking for stories about overcoming a disease.

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