My Pen is the Wing of a Bird



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Quercus Publishing
17 February 2022
ISBN: 9781529422214
256 pages

From the publisher

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 in English translation. Eighteen writers tell stories that are both unique and universal – of family, work, childhood, friendship, war, gender identity and cultural traditions.

The result of more than two years' collaboration between writers, translators and editors, this collection introduces extraordinary writers with original, vital and unexpected stories to tell. My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird comes at a pivotal moment in Afghanistan's history, when these voices must be heard.

'A precious collection of work, the first and maybe last of its kind. My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird is a huge accomplishment.'

Monique Roffey, author of THE MERMAID OF BLACK CONCH

'Powerful, profound and deeply moving, new fiction by Afghan women writers will expand your mind and elevate your heart.'

Elif Shafak

'No-one aware of the harrowing events currently playing out in Afghanistan and, in particular, the catastrophic effect this has had on the lives of women, can be unmoved by their plight. The risk of womens' voices being lost and their freedoms eradicated is very high. This book is like a little light shining into the lives of women in Afghanistan. It's a beautiful read.'

Jo Brand

'Sometimes, life is having beautiful dreams in a nightmare. The authors of this book express their longing to escape a nightmare and build a liveable world. A liveable world for everyone, but especially for women at a time when their body and soul are being destroyed.'

Burhan Sonmez, President of PEN International

'Here we have stories of the everyday and extraordinary lives of Afghan women, all of them written before the Taliban took power in August 2021. Today, these women writers live under the harshest of conditions, their everyday human rights, as women, revoked. This book is a precious collection of work, the first and maybe last of its kind. My Pen is the Wing of a Bird is a huge accomplishment.'

Monique Roffey