Untold – Write Afghanistan develops the craft of Afghan women writers, connects them with each other and, amplifies these less-heard voices by platforming their stories internationally.
The project also contributes to the development of a local literary infrastructure, principally in the form of local editors and translators, to give Afghan women writers opportunities to be published globally.
The writers featured here, submitted short stories in response to an open, countrywide call in 2019. A team of readers from the Afghan literary community in the UK selected ten writers with strong, original voices. Experienced editors and translators then worked with them, in Pashto and Dari, their local languages, to develop their ideas.
These excerpts are from stories developed during an online workshop, over the past three months, supported by the Bagri Foundation. These local writers continue to share their work with each other via a digital network.
Soon, Untold will be issuing a second countrywide call for women writers, to expand the group and illustrate how a region’s upheaval cannot be explained without local, and especially female, perspectives. Ultimately, the aim is to publish an anthology of contemporary women’s writing from the region.
Untold – Write Afghanistan – establishes a replicable model that can be applied to other areas of conflict and post-conflict. In Afghanistan, as in many countries affected by war, women’s stories are likely to remain hidden and support for their work is hampered by instability and internal displacement.
Literary and historical narratives from areas of conflict and post-conflict are often dominated by male or Western voices. Untold – Write Afghanistan aims to give women a space to speak for themselves, without projecting themes onto them, and to offer the reading public a more diverse literary landscape.
See the Full Press Release here.
Hear from the writers themselves and read extracts from their stories by clicking on their images below. These are works-in-progress, but we feel offer a glimpse into the worlds of these emerging new voices. We look forward to signposting you to Words Without Borders in December, where four of these writers will have short stories published, in full.
Untold is a writer development programme for writers in areas of conflict and post-conflict . Local writers, who are currently unable to tell their stories beyond their immediate communities, have the opportunity to develop their writing; share their stories with wider communities in their own languages; and reach new global audiences in translation. http://untold-stories.org/