Book Event


Afghan Women Writers

My Pen is the Wing of a Bird

with Lucy Hannah & translator Zarghuna Kargar

Chair: Sanam Shantyaei

Sunday 12 June, 2-3pm

Robert Graves Tent


'It is time for Afghan women to speak for themselves. Without fear, we want to share our stories with the world.'

A chance to hear from a panel of remarkable women behind Untold: Write Afghanistan

My Pen is the Wing of a Bird introduces writers with original, vital and unexpected stories, developed over two years as part of the 'Untold' writers project. Lucy Hannah, who initiated the collection and is the founder and director of Untold Narratives CIC joins us to give the background to the project, along with one of the books translators, Zari Kargar.

The collection, featuring eighteen writers, offer a unique window into the state of contemporary Afghanistan with stories that are both unique and universal. Drawing from real-life events and experiences, their powerful and poignant short fiction explores themes of family, friendship, work, sexuality, love and betrayal. Their work was orginally written in the country’s two main linguistic groups (Pashto and Dari) and then translated.

The anthology, My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird, comes at a pivotal moment in Afghanistan’s history, when these marginalised voices need to be heard more than ever. The event will include video footage and a Zoom link up with writers in Germany and Herat.

'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.'

Untold Narratives CIC works with writers marginalised in society by community or conflict. To find out more and support their work visit:

Sanam Shantyaei is a former foreign correspondent and international news television producer whose work includes hosting Middle East Matters at France 24. Sanam has trained journalists worldwide including a mentorship programme for Afghan female reporters, Sahar Speaks. She currently works at the Vienna-based U.N. nuclear test ban body, the CTBTO.

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