Why we need your help
Untold is a development programme for writers who are marginalised in society by community or conflict. Untold amplifies the work of emerging writers by identifying, developing, translating and promoting their stories to a global audience. It is in the process of registering as a charity in the UK, and we are delighted to support its work by adopting it as a charity while it awaits its UK registration.
Untold is run by a team of experienced writers, editors and arts-for-social-change professionals. They have come together to work with participants in marginalised communities, particularly in areas of conflict and post-conflict, who have a story to tell but little opportunity to develop and share their writing.
The launch project of Untold – Write Afghanistan – is currently working with women writers from across the country.
Afghanistan has 60 million Pashto and Dari speakers, and a rich literary tradition. However, years of chronic instability has resulted in little opportunity for creative expression. There is minimal infrastructure for local writers and literary translators and editors, or for the sharing of writing between language communities and ethnic groups.
The situation is particularly difficult for Afghan women, whose stories often remain hidden. Writers who have reached international audiences are invariably men, and invariably do so from outside Afghanistan. Women writers have original and important stories to write, which they want to tell in their own voices and share within and beyond their communities.
So, what is Untold doing about it?
Untold’s development programme, selects local writers from a countrywide open call, who then have the opportunity to develop their writing with experienced translators and editors, connect and share their stories with other local writers, and reach new international audiences in translation.
Write Afghanistan is creating a replicable model that can be applied to other areas of conflict and post-conflict, where marginalised writers’ stories have little opportunity to be developed and reach a wider global readership.
The strongest stories developed through the project will be shared on international literary platforms, and Untold also aims to publish a long-overdue anthology of women’s writing from Afghanistan. A region’s upheaval cannot be explained without local, female perspectives, and Untold works to amplify these voices.
Currently, Untold is working with 10 women writers across Afghanistan, from Kabul to Juzjan and Kunar, who are benefitting from the project in numerous ways. They feel more connected – locally, across ethic, linguistic and regional borders, and internationally, to readers and supporters in the UK and across the globe. They also have an enhanced ability to tell their own stories, in their own voices; an increased understanding of the international cultural landscape; and a greater sense of personal identity through their ability to express themselves creatively.
As the project develops, emerging literary translators and editors – both locally and from the Afghan diaspora in the UK – will also benefit from the project.
More broadly, Untold is educating readers and audiences, in the UK and internationally, about underrepresented – and often misrepresented – cultures and different ways of living, facilitating writers to share their experiences in. their own words.
Please visit Untold's website for full details of their work.
What your support could help Untold to Achieve
This contribution would allow us to connect a writer from our community with an established, high-profile writer for a three-month period of mentorship. This would help them share experience and gain support, whilst also introducing them to international writing communities.
With your support, we would be able to translate a writer's work, and provide them with individual feedback from our editorial team - helping them to develop their craft, and the potential of their story.
This would allow us to facilitate a three-month editorial process with a writer - translating and editing their work, holding one-to-one remote editorial sessions with our team, and developing their story for potential publication.
With this contribution, we would be able to facilitate online workshops and support for our network of writers, connecting women from across Afghanistan to share in their writing process.
With your contribution, we would be able to issue another countrywide call for Afghan women's writing, allowing over 200 writers to share their work with our team, and for selected writers to access a full craft-development programme.
This contribution would allow us to facilitate a three-month editorial process with a cohort of 10 writers - translating and editing their work, holding one-to-one remote editorial sessions with our team, and developing their stories for potential publication.
With your contribution, we would be able to publish a long-overdue anthology of Afghan women's writing through a global publishing partner. This would allow us to develop, edit, produce and promote a collection of short stories, sharing the work of the writers with international audiences.
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