Our Bookseller says…
In one story, an eight-months pregnant mother of seven daughters fasts as she prepares dinner for her entire extended family and, as she goes into premature labor, prays for her own sake that her eighth child will finally be male. In another story, a man stationed at a petitioners desk witnesses the impossibility of relying on a system to change a broken system. One horrifying story is about a child facing their father’s wrath after they are caught in their mother’s makeup and dress. This is a shocking, sobering, and fleetingly hopeful collection that, though fictional, is nothing short of day-to-day life for millions of people.
A landmark collection: the first anthology of short fiction by Afghan women that are “powerful, profound, and deeply moving” (Elif Shafak, author of The Island of Missing Trees, a Reese’s Book Club pick)
“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.”
Eighteen Afghan women living in, speaking about, and writing from the country itself tell stories that are powerful and illuminating, unique and universal – stories of family, work, childhood, friendship, war, gender identity, and cultural traditions.
A woman’s fortitude saves her village from disaster. A teenager explores their identity in a moment of quiet. 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.
These and more original, vital, and unexpected stories hail from extraordinary voices rooted in Afghanistan’s two main linguistic groups (Pashto and Dari), and were developed over two years through the writer development program Untold’s Write Aghanistan 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 Lyse Doucet, BBC chief international correspondant, and afterword by Lucy Hannah, Founder and Director of Untold