My Pen is the Wing of a Bird ~ Untold


 A woman’s fortitude saves her village from disaster. A teenager explores their identity in a moment of quiet. A petition writer reflects on his life as a dog lies nursing her puppies. A tormented girl tries to find love through a horrific act. A headmaster makes his way to work, treading the fine line between life and death.

My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird
 is a landmark collection: the first anthology of short fiction by Afghan women. Eighteen writers tell stories that are both unique and universal – stories of family, work, childhood, friendship, war, gender identity and cultural traditions.

This collection introduces extraordinary voices from the country’s two main linguistic groups (Pashto and Dari) with original, vital and unexpected stories to tell, developed over two years through UNTOLD’s Write Afghanistan project. My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird comes at a pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history, when these voices must be heard.

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

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.

Further reading

Read: The Most Beautiful Lips in the World by Elahe Hosseini, translated from the Dari by Dr Negeen Kargar, The Arts Desk

Feature: My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird: new short-story book celebrates the work of Afghan women, The Guardian

Prompt: Scour recent world news headlines and make a list of words that interest you – they can be from the same headline or an amalgamation of different ones. It doesn’t need to make sense at this stage. Now try and write a story weaving in all the words in your list.

Leave a Reply