Untold - Write Afghanistan
Afghanistan has a rich seam of literature, ranging from its own traditions of poetry, memoir and fiction. However, years of chronic instability have left too little space for artistic expression. Creative industries, such as publishing, are virtually non-existent, and women writers, in particular, feel the need to connect and share their stories. However, support for their writing is hampered by cultural norms, instability and internal displacement.
Write Afghanistan, the current project of Untold, aims to offer these writers a platform. It develops the craft of Afghan women writers and connects them with each other. By amplifying their less-heard voices and by promoting their stories internationally it further aims to improve the intercultural understanding of Afghanistan.
Consisting of four components – writing, networking, publishing and translation – the programme also contributes to the development of a local literary infrastructure. Within the framework of digital workshops as a protected space for open exchange, experienced editors and translators will work with the writers, in Pashto and Dari, their local languages, to develop their ideas and writing techniques. Selected texts will be translated into English and published in translation in the UK and Germany.
Through tandem partnerships in cooperation with the Berlin based initiative Weiter Schreiben (Writing on), selected writers are then offered the opportunity to continue the literary dialogue across national borders. In cooperation with well-known German-speaking authors, the writers contribute to the initiative's online portal: their texts and literary dialogues are presented here and published in their mother tongue as well as in German. The programme opens doors to the German-language literary scene and facilitates artistic exchange.
The writers can apply for the workshop with short stories via an open, countrywide call. A team of readers from the Afghan literary community in the UK will then select 15 writers with strong, original voices. A jury selects the most promising candidates to continue in the programme with Weiterschreiben.jetzt.