One of the many highlights of BookExpo America was the opportunity to meet and chat with so many amazing people – bloggers, authors, publicists, random strangers on the subway … (no, I’m kidding about that last one. Mostly).
One of the authors I spoke with was Masha Hamilton; I loved her most recent novel, 31 Hours, and am getting ready to dive into her backlist, which includes The Camel Bookmobile, Staircase of a Thousand Steps, and The Distance Between Us.
Masha told me more about her work with the Afghan Women’s Writing Project, which she founded in June 2009. The AWWP is a non-profit group which mentors Afghan women in writing their short stories, poetry, and personal essays. These women’s voices are published in the AWWP online magazine in a blog-like format which invites commentary from readers. As an intro banner on the site explains:
Please take the time to leave a comment for the writers. They work in such isolation and in such difficult conditions that any feedback or commentary helps them know they are being heard and is greatly appreciated.
These stories are brave, daring, courageous … none of these synonyms seems enough … valiant, bold, spirited … Many of these women are writing in secrecy, shielded only by the promise of anonymity.
I’m going to highlight a few here, and encourage you to visit the site, read the full pieces, and leave a comment. Peruse the site, find an essay that speaks to you, and let the writer know she has your attention. It can make a world of difference to a woman struggling to be heard. This is a great opportunity for any of you who are participating in the Women Unbound reading challenge, too!
- Remembering Fifteen, by Roya
- Under Burqa, by Seeta
- A Letter to Poppy, by Freshta
- My First Namaz, by Meena Y
- Kill Silence, by Shogofa