New Delhi, December 2022: Penguin Random House India announces the acquisition of writer and poet Abhishek Anicca’s insightful book on living with disability and chronic illness, titled, The Body Comes First on World Disability Day. The book is scheduled to release in December 2023 and has been acquired from Jacaranda Literary Agency.
In the social media era and the largely ableist world that we live in, people with disability and their lived experiences including the challenges they face and how they overcome them are often described as ‘inspiring’. The Body Comes First transcends the burden of being ‘inspirational’ with its raw honesty.
Anicca’s first-person narration in the essays offer an unfiltered and authentic take on what it really means to be differently abled when talking about navigating everyday struggles of the body and mind. The book dives into themes of care and caregiving, dignity and shame, dating and love. The Body Comes First sheds light on topics that have largely remained unspoken in Indian society, such as queerness, masculinity, plus-size life experience, and growing up having developed a disability in small-town India. In a language that is conversational and unpasteurized, but also truthful and unflinching, Anicca’s wry and personal writing compels the reader to become at once distant from, and proximate to his experiences.
Elated at the news of his book signing, author Abhishek Anicca says, “writing about disability and illness has been a cathartic process with Jacaranda and we are elated that Penguin will be part of this journey. My editor Chirag understood that our stories need to be told and assured me that I could be my authentic, vulnerable self without worrying about anything else.”
Having championed the book at Penguin Random House India is Chirag Thakkar, the Commissioning Editor for the project, who said, “Abhishek’s writing is personal, moving, and compelling. He bares it all with the most unclad kind of vulnerability and writes from a place of love, rage, courage, and truthfulness. At Penguin, we are very excited to diversify the voices we platform and Abhishek’s is a very valuable addition to our publishing plans.”
Milee Ashwarya, Publisher, Penguin Random House India, says, “The Body Comes First by Abhishek Anicca is an important book that will talk about living with and navigating through the struggles of the body and the mind. Unique in approach and candid in style, I am delighted to publish it for 2023.”
About the Author
Abhishek Anicca is a bilingual (English and Hindi) writer, poet, and spoken word artist. He identifies as a person with locomotor disability and chronic illness which shapes his creative endeavours. His work has appeared in Times of India, DNA, Daily O, Agents of Ishq, The Quint, TV9news, Outlook, India Spend, RHiME, Huffington Post India, Kitaab, Scroll.in and other publications. Abhishek’s poetry has appeared in Nether Quarterly, Gulmohur Quarterly, The Alipore Post, Rhetorica Quarterly (Lucknow), The Sunflower collective, Indian Cultural Forum, RHiME, Posham Pa, Jankipul, Samalochan, Prabhat Khabar, Apni Maati, Antrang, among others.