CRIP LIT FOR SPOONIES II: Writing Disability and Chronic Illness – a 6 wk workshop w/ Ashna Ali

[a 6-week online program; Mondays at 7pm EST; begins 6/13]

The Crip Lit for Spoonies workshop series is a series of reading group-style writing workshops called “CripLit4Spoonies” that centers literatures of chronic illness and disability. The first CripLit looked at the relationship between trauma and disability. CripLit4Spoonies II focuses on the genre and poetics of writing about one’s own experience of illness and disability as a way of healing and asserting the truth of one’s own experience in the face of isolation, silencing, pathologization, and gas-lighting. Over the course of six weeks, we will read excerpts from works on cancer, chronic pain, gynecological disorders, nervous system disorders, and mental illness. Each week, we will share body scans, no less than 30 minutes of collaborative writing in response to prompts generated by the readings, and our responses and impressions of the readings. The workshop envisions itself as a space to share vulnerability, resources, and care through the shared experience of living as a “spoonie,” or a chronically ill individual. 

Each workshop will start at 7pm on Monday nights starting Monday, June 13, 2022. The workshop will take place on Zoom (workshops may be recorded for asynchronous access contingent on participants’ comfort), most if not all readings will be provided on Google Drive, recorded “lectures” and other asynchronous points of access will also be available on Google Drive. Collective writing from each week may be collected and assembled into a zine and/or online publication. 


We will meet once a week for two hours on Zoom, with time divided between discussion and reading and writing exercises designed to both critically engage with the texts and produce original writing in any genre using some of the more suggestive questions produced by our readings as prompts. Recordings of classes will be made available to all participants, along with any lectures, notes, and secondary readings when applicable. 




Schedule / Session Dates: (June 13, 20, 27, July 5, July 11, July 18) 




Possible Readings

Mon, June 13

Introductions, The Genre

Screening and Response: Jennifer Brea’s Unrest

Anna Altman’s “The Consolations of the Illness Memoir”

Eleanor Henderson’s “Women’s Memoirs at the Intersection of Chronic Illness, Mental Illness, Addiction, and Trauma” 

Mon, June 20


Susan Sontag’s Illness as Metaphor

Virginia Woolf’s “On Being Ill” 

Audre Lorde’s Cancer Journals

Paul Kalanithi’s When Breath Becomes Air 

Mon, June 28

Chronic Pain/ Nervous System Disorders/ Autoimmune Disorders 

Elaine Scarry’s The Body in Pain

Megan O’Rourke’s The Invisible Kingdom: Reimagining Chronic Pain

The Diary of Frida Kahlo

Amy Berkowitz’s Tender Points

Selections from Nat. Brut.’s Illness Folio

Leslie Jamison’s The Empathy Exams 

*Tuesday, July 5*
(skips 7/4)

Gynecological Disorders

Abby Norman’s Ask Me About My Uterus

Susanna Kaysen’s The Camera My Mother Gave Me

Selections from Nat. Brut.’s Illness Folio

Leslie Jamison’s “Grand Unified Theory of Female Pain”

Mon, July 11

Mental Illness 

Stephanie Foo’s What My Bones Know

Esmé Weijun Wang’s My Collected Schizophrenias

Shira Erlichman’s Odes to Lithium 

Kay Redfield Jamison’s An Unquiet Mind 

Mon, July 18

Final Class

Discussion, Review, Publication Conversation


Ashna Ali is a queer, agender, disabled, and diasporic Bangladeshi poet, writer, researcher, and educator raised in Italy and based in Brooklyn. They are the author of the  chapbook, The Relativity of Living Well (The Operating System, 2022), and their poetry has been published in several journals including Zoeglossia, Nat. Brut., Sun Dog Lit, Kajal Mag, Breadcrumbs Mag, among others. They hold a PhD in Comparative Literature from The Graduate Center, CUNY, teach workshops with Liminal Lab, and teach in Bard College’s Young Writers Workshop summer program. / IG & Twitter: @doctordushtu



Liminal Lab is committed to providing a source of income for our collaborators and facilitators in an increasingly precarious time for culture workers and educators. However, no one will ever be turned away for lack of fundsWe ask that those who can pay the suggested price, and/or help cover the cost of scholarship slots in each of our programs by sponsoring other participants. 

  • Compare the below to the cost for a similar accredited workshop in a university setting (where most of the $$$ goes to institutional bloat):  $1250  — we show you this so we can begin to think about wtf is happening in our institutions, where both students and faculty get the short end of the stick.

  • At a standard “Market Rate,” at arts orgs: $350*

  • Recommended Sliding Scale: $30-60/session  → $180-360 for the series

  • Precarity Pricing: $10-20/session

  • Barter / Volunteer / No Cost Option Available 

  • Membership / Sponsorship: You may now become a member of Liminal Lab! Which allows you to support as well as participate in this and other programs. By becoming a member, you can also sponsor low or no fee participants in this workshop with a donation of any size.



hey friend, did you know? you can also click here to support low or no cost participation for others!** (or to become a member, supporting all OS/LL projects and programs!)






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