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: 22/02/2022
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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: 300 g
Dimensions: 198 x 129 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'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

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“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
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