New fiction by Afghan Women | My Pen is the Wing of a Bird – Online

Fri 27 May - Mon 6 Jun 2022

Parwana Fayyaz Afghan
Parwana Fayaz
Mary Hockaday
English Pen

This event was recorded at our Spring Festival in April

My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird is a collection of extraordinary voices: the first anthology of short fiction by Afghan women. To celebrate this landmark collection, join us for a series of readings from the book as well as a discussion on the importance of hearing marginalised Afghan voices.

We’re delighted to be collaborating with English PEN to welcome one of the book’s translators, Parwana Fayyaz, who will be joined by Will Forrester, Translation and International Manager, and author, feminist academic and activist, Kübra Gümüşay.
My Pen is the Wing of a Bird: New Fiction by Afghan Women is published by MacLehose Press. Untold Narratives CIC works with writers marginalised in society by community or conflict. To find out more and support their work visit:


Venue: Online

Duration: 1hr

In partnership with

Tickets available soon.

My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird

My Pen is the Wing of a Bird | New Fiction by Afghan Women

Buy the book from our online bookseller LRB Bookshop

Author biography

Parwana Fayyaz is an Afghan writer and a scholar of medieval Persian poetry. Born in Kabul, she was raised in Pakistan. After finishing high school in Kabul, she enrolled in an English language immersion program and subsequently began her undergraduate studies in Chittagong, Bangladesh. She transferred to Stanford University and earned both her B.A. in 2015, with a major in Comparative Literature (with Honors) and a minor in Creative Writing (Poetry), and an M.A. in Religious Studies in 2016. She then moved to Cambridge University to pursue a PhD in Persian Studies at Trinity College and took up a Research Fellowship as the Carmen Blacker Fellow at Peterhouse, Cambridge University in October 2020. Her debut collection, Forty Names, was published in 2021 by Carcanet Press, and it was named A New Statesman Book of the Year and A White Review Book of the Year. 

Kübra Gümüsay is one of the most influential intellectuals and activists in Germany and Speaking and Being spent several months on the bestseller lists there. Her work focuses on social justice and public discourse, and she is the founder of several award-winning campaigns against racism and sexualised violence. She is a writer, and regularly appears on TV and radio. Originally from Hamburg, she’s studied at Oxford and SOAS and is currently living in Cambridge where she’s a fellow at CRASSH.


Mary Hockaday is a British journalist. She is the former controller of BBC World Service English and was previously head of the BBC Newsroom. She’s a non-executive director and trustee and speaker.