Bonus Material: Essays from the Afghan Women’s Writing Project

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

By Edward Nawotka

Woman writingThe Afghan Women’s Writing Project offers young writers the opportunity to express themselves in a form that was forbidden under the Taliban. The situation for these writers remains precarious, yet they persist in pursuing their craft and having their stories told. Afghan Women’s Writing Project founder Masha Hamilton has offered these samples of the work of some of the Project’s participants.

“If you have a moment to read some of their pieces, please do, and please comment,” she says. “They appreciate the connection. It’s part of our joint effort to keep their voices free, no matter what befalls Afghanistan.”

Please note: The security situation can be difficult for many women in Afghanistan, especially those who are determined to further their education or those who frankly tell their stories. Out of concern for their safety, the entries do not offer family names or specific locations.

“The girl’s mother became very sad and angry. At that time Zainab was five months pregnant. The mother came home, took a big stone and put it on her daughter’s belly and killed her.”

Childhood Memory: Zainab’s Death by Marzia

“Throughout the night, we did not sleep. Our house was situated between two rival factions of mujahedeen. We were caught in the crossfire, so we were unable to leave the house even though it was too dangerous to remain. Finally, we had no choice.”

From Idyllic Life to War by Zaralasht

“Suddenly one of them jumped from the car with his gun and appeared in front of me. “Where you are going?” I was afraid and didn’t have the ability to speak, as though my mouth was suctioned closed.”

Narrow Escape by Freshta

“It requires a lot of guts to fall in love in Afghanistan.”

The Marriage Proposal by Meena

“Listen to me, my rude friend … No thanks, for what you gave me.”

Life! by Roya

READ: A profile of Roya published in the Los Angeles Times

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.