My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird: New Fiction by Afghan Women (Paperback)
  • My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird: New Fiction by Afghan Women (Paperback)
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My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird: New Fiction by Afghan Women (Paperback)

(author of introduction), (afterword)
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£12.00
Paperback 256 Pages
Published: 17/02/2022
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Waterstones Says

Hugely important and exciting, this anthology of pieces from Afghan women is the first time these writers have had the opportunity to have their work published and the results are striking, evocative and poignant reflections on the perilous state of contemporary Afghanistan.

My pen is the wing of a bird; it will tell you those thoughts we are not allowed to think, those dreams we are not allowed to dream.

Afghanistan has a rich literary history, but chronic instability, compounded now by the current crisis, have meant that women's voices have remained hidden. This anthology is the result of more than two years working Afghan women writers. They have strong, original, and unexpected stories to tell, but until now have had no opportunity to publish these locally or beyond their borders. Now it seems certain that this opportunity will be taken from them again.

Men always want to speak on behalf of Afghan women, but now it is time for Afghan women to speak for themselves. Without fear, we want to share our stories with the world.

UNTOLD has been supporting them to develop their work, to write the stories they want to write, in their own words. These exciting contemporary voices from the country's two main linguistic groups (Pashto and Dari) explore a wide range of issues - family, work, tradition, sexuality, friendship, gender identity and real-life events - through original, vibrant, and tonally varied short fiction.

These stories come at a pivotal moment in Afghanistan's history, when international media interest in the country needs to be met by creative voices living in, speaking about, and writing from Afghanistan.

With an Introduction by BBC Chief International Correspondent Lyse Doucet and an Afterword by Lucy Hannah.

About UNTOLD:

UNTOLD is a writer development programme for marginalised writers in areas of conflict and post-conflict. Afghanistan has millions of Pashto and Dari speakers with little or no local support for creative writing, literary translation, or literary editing. Support for writers has been hampered by cultural norms, free expression issues, chronic instability, and internal displacement. UNTOLD has been working one-to-one with women on their short stories, with English-speaking literary editors and translators working with the writers to realise the potential of their stories for publication both locally and globally in translation.

Publisher: Quercus Publishing
ISBN: 9781529422214
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 192 g
Dimensions: 196 x 128 x 28 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

A precious collection of work, the first and maybe last of its kind. My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird is a huge accomplishment - Monique Roffey, author of THE MERMAID OF BLACK CONCH

Powerful, profound and deeply moving, new fiction by Afghan women writers will expand your mind and elevate your heart - Elif Shafak

No-one aware of the harrowing events currently playing out in Afghanistan and, in particular, the catastrophic effect this has had on the lives of women, can be unmoved by their plight. The risk of womens' voices being lost and their freedoms eradicated is very high. This book is like a little light shining into the lives of women in Afghanistan. It's a beautiful read - Jo Brand

Sometimes, life is having beautiful dreams in a nightmare. The authors of this book express their longing to escape a nightmare and build a liveable world. A liveable world for everyone, but especially for women at a time when their body and soul are being destroyed - Burhan Sonmez, President of PEN International

Here we have stories of the everyday and extraordinary lives of Afghan women, all of them written before the Taliban took power in August 2021. Today, these women writers live under the harshest of conditions, their everyday human rights, as women, revoked. This book is a precious collection of work, the first and maybe last of its kind. My Pen is the Wing of a Bird is a huge accomplishment - Monique Roffey

These are extraordinary and intense glimpses into a shuttered world, written by women who have to struggle daily to make their voices heard - Lissa Evans

If fiction offers a window into the world, this is a book of stories you need to open - Romesh Gunasekera

[An] arresting collection . . . Each of the works in this collection is written in simple, direct prose and offers vivid snapshots of a country beset by war and violence, where misogyny is rife but women continue to dream for a better future . . . The women's extraordinary resilience is celebrated . . . It seems more important than ever to read the work of these courageous writers. - Lucy Popescu, Financial Times

A gripping and important book told by the women whose voices need to be heard - Bella Magazine

These stories show why the militants are wrong. They take their readers into rooms at televisions cameras and journalists never reach. In the process they reiterate how much Afghan women could again say and do, if only they were allowed to. - Economist

The pandemic and the resumption of Taliban rule have made the publication of My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird little short of a miracle . . . [T]hese short tales draw insight and lyricism from lives lived in the shadow of war, violence and relentless misogyny - Cameron Woodhead, Sydney Morning Herald

Powerful in its impact and admirable in the quality of the prose - Ellah Wakatama, Guardian

Revelatory . . . taken together [these stories] form a remarkable portrait of lives largely invisible to readers outside Afghanistan. This brims with humanity. - Publishers Weekly

Beautifully written and translated, these stories are gripping, insightful, often shocking, intense and extraordinary - The Lady

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“Moving”

This collection of short stories by Afghan women are incredibly moving. Full of important stories that must be read and heard that will really open your eyes.
Some of the stories are so powerful they had me in tears... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 20

“Good Read”

Thank you to the publishers for this early review copy.
This is a short story collection by Afghan Women. The stories are heart breaking on occasion and potentially eye opening.
They look at family life, work,... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 15
TripFiction

“Short stories set in AFGHANISTAN”

The stories “...take us into the small but ever so significant minutiae of daily life”. Through tiny observations we, as readers, can identify with the plight of so many women in Afghanistan, whose daily lives are... More

Paperback edition
Helpful? Upvote 14

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