Chronically Ill and Disabled Writers (and Hello Again)

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Chronically Ill and Disabled Writers (and Hello Again)

Bit of a blast from the past being back here.. Apologies for the long post. TL:DR. Hi, I worked at ABCTales 20 years ago, wrote loads of books/founded mags after I left and happy to share tips with any new writers/editors/aspiring publishers, and have now founded - a free magazine for chronically ill and disabled writers and the readers who love them. Looking for events/books/writers to promote in next (Jan/Feb issue)

Or the long version... [Mod: I checked it was OK to mention magazine as it should be relevant to other form users - hope it's OK to mention my other sites but can remove and repost if not]

Once upon a time, I worked for ABCtales and helped set this forum up in the first place (back when we won a Yell Award and a New Statesman Award - and seeing how long ago that was has just made me very aware of the passage of time...)

Hello to anyone who was on the forums back in the mists of time - and everyone who's joined since. It's amazing seeing how much it's grown and how many stories and poems there are now - so much great writing! Since I was last here, I've had non-fiction and fiction books published and translated into 11 languages, created and edited various magazines, co-created some charity anthologies, created and, run writing workshops and various STAMEN (STEM + art + nature) events at festivals including Latitude and Brighton Science Festival, and now, after becoming increasingly disabled and largely house/bedbound through Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, and most relevant to other writers, created CIADISH magazine.

CIADISH is a digital magazine for Chronically Ill and Disabled (CIAD) writers. I created it after reading disability themed issue of The Bookseller and realising that we needed to have support and representation year round, not just in themed issues. See for a link to the (free) magazine, and another link to a Twitter thread I posted for chronically ill and disabled writers to promote their books (whether traditionally or self published). Please do add your books to it, whether poetry or prose, if you're still using Twitter. 

I'm currently putting together issue two of CIADISH and will be looking for lots of content. There's no budget yet as it's a labour of love (and disability activism) so I'll be looking for book extracts and events to list rather than commissioning fresh material, as I don't want to demand unpaid labour from disabled and chronically ill writers. I'm hoping to apply for funding and turn CIADISH into a (fair) paying market for writers, over time (and eventually, hopefully, a publishing cooperative) - with deliberately easy invoicing and prompt payment to make writing for it accessible: you need so long to do the admin to get paid for writing nowadays with so many places, which can make it a so inaccessible, particularly to people who are neurodiverse/admin averse/have energy limiting conditions.)

Anyway, this is getting very long. I'll post a separate thread about the kind of titles/book extracts I'm looking for in case people want to contribute to/promote their books in CIADISH, if that's OK?


I had no idea we won an award! (That link doesn't seem to work though - could you try again?)

Welcome back, anyway, I'm really enjoying your stuff and you're very welcome to post about Ciabish which sounds brilliant


I think the problem with the link is that it was to a page in the ABCtales forum which I dimly recall was a problem 20 years ago too. See if it works through a link shortener

ABCtales actually won two awards. We won Best Online Community in the New Statesman Awards 2001. We also won Best Arts site in the Yell Awards 2001 (I still have the perpex invitations they sent out - it was the nineties - as a coaster on my desk. Apparently, the ceremony was 3rd October 2001. It was at The Atlantis Gallery on Brick Lane and was a black tie champagne reception. Stephen Fry was the host and was just as charming as you'd expect.)

I may have the brochures they gave out at the award ceremony somewhere. If I can find them, I'll send you photos.

Given that the site is so much bigger now, maybe ABCtales shouls enter some awards again? I'd be happy to help write the entries if useful.


That did work - thank you - what an achievement! Thanks also for offering to help and I look forward to talking later


rock on pal, let's get cracking!!



Loving being back here. It's such a lovely community. Can anyone recommend chronically ill and disabled people (including mental health) who are writing great stories, poems, blogs or all of the above? Got any favourite pieces or work about health?


I am very interested in your organisation having become disabled last year due to an ankle op that's gone very wrong. You can see my work on here some of which have been cherry picked. But I suffer from a chronic disability that's far more of an impediment than the physical one: a chronic lack of self-esteem. But I think a little bit of guidance might just see me through.