My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird

New Fiction by Afghan Women


By 18 Afghan Women

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$31.00 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around October 18, 2022. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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


  • "Powerful, profound and deeply moving, new fiction by Afghan women writers will expand your mind and elevate your heart."
    ELIF SHAFAK, author of The Island of Missing Trees, a 2021 Reese’s Book Club Pick
  • "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 SÖNMEZ, President of International PEN
  • “Gut-wrenching… This intense collection does inspire hope.”--NPR
  • "The stories are reflective, surprising and candid, as the authors grapple with gender, tradition, relationships, violence, work and more."
    Ms. Magazine
  • "Heartbreaking and heartfelt....The sacrifices people make for one another and the unbreakable attachment people have to home, no matter what hell that home may host, are repeated notes that echo in the heart."
    Kirkus Reviews
  • “Revelatory… a remarkable portrait of lives largely invisible to readers outside Afghanistan. This brims with humanity.”—Publishers Weekly
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Offers vivid snapshots of a country beset by war and violence, where misogyny is rife but women continue to dream of a better future."
    Financial Times (UK)
  • "Moving, profound, and memorable short stories written by Afghan women inspired by their lives and explores topics of friendship, political policies, family, culture, and more."
  • “A rare window… 18 courageous writers… break the silence.”

On Sale
Oct 18, 2022
Page Count
256 pages

18 Afghan Women

About the Author

The authors are Maryam Mahjoba, Freshta Ghani, Masouma Kawsari, Fatema Haidari, Sharifa Pasun, Elahe Hosseini, Batool Haidari, Atifa Mozaffari, Anahita Gharib Nawaz, Parand, Marie Bamyani, Maliha Naji, Fatima Saadat, Fatangis Elyassi, Fatema Khavari, Naeema Ghani, Zainab Aklhaqi, and Rana Zurmaty.

Learn more about this author