In cooperation with Untold Narratives CIC, KfW Stiftung offers workshops and programmes for writers in marginalised communities.
Local writers, who are currently unable to tell their stories beyond their immediate communities, have the opportunity to develop their writing in the form of workshops and share their stories with wider communities in their own language and reach international audiences through professional translation.
KfW Stiftung supports Write Afghanistan since 2020 and Write Assamese since 2022, the current projects of Untold, which aim to offer these writers a platform. It develops the craft of writers and connects them with each other. By amplifying their less-heard voices and by promoting their stories internationally it further aims to improve the intercultural understanding of these areas.
Consisting of four components – writing, networking, publishing and translation – the programme also contributes to the development of a local literary infrastructure. Within the framework of digital workshops as a protected space for open exchange, experienced editors and translators will work with the writers in their local languages, to develop their ideas and writing techniques. Selected texts will be translated and published in the UK and Germany.
Through the project Write Afghanistan, a replicable model was launched in which Untold’s team of international editors and translators work with local women writers to develop their creative writing, connect them to one another, share their stories with readers in their own languages, and reach new global audiences in translation. The Untold Literatures program was initiated out of the conviction that upheavals in a region cannot be understood without local and, in particular, female perspectives. From 2020 to 2021, digital writing workshops took place with fifteen Afghan women writers to professionalise their literary skills. Selected texts were translated into English and German, and published.
My Pen Is the Wing of a Bird: New Fiction by Afghan Women is one of the outputs from this project and is the first collection of its kind, published by MacLehose Press, in February 2022.
Write Afghanistan in coopertion with Weiter Schreiben
In cooperation with Untold and Weiter Schreiben, KfW Stiftung initiated the opportunity for selected women writers to continue the literary dialogue across national borders through tandem partnerships with well-known German-speaking authors. Their literary correspondences are now being published by Weiter Schreiben next to selected stories of Afghan women writers. Over the duration of the project, the women in Afghanistan bear witness to the dramatic changes since the Taliban took power and reflect on them from their indiviual perspectives. Also, the programme opens doors to the German-language literary scene and facilitates literary exchange.
So far, the letter exchange took place between the following writers:
2021 - Freshta Ghani & Daniela Dröscher, Maryam Mahjube & Ilma Rakusa and Batool & Marica Bodrožić.
For security reasons the Afghan authors publish under pseudonyms. In 2022, new tandem partnerships will be implemented.
The texts and literary dialogues are presented on the online portal weiterschreiben.jetzt and published in German as well as in the mother tongue of the Afghan writers.
The literary region of northeast India has hardly any literary infrastructure. The nearest city, Kolkata, is considered India's vibrant cultural capital, but the region to the northeast is severely neglected. Up to 15 million people there speak the regional language Assamese, but the established literary scene in India relates almost exclusively to English-language literature. India's multifaceted linguistic richness is hardly taken into account. At the same time, aspiring fiction writers are often marginalized due to circumstances, language and lack of opportunities to develop their work. In addition, the translation field in India suffers from a lack of training opportunities. Write Assamese was conceived in light of the enormous need.
KfW Stiftung supports the collaboration between Untold in the UK and BEE Books in Kolkata to promote Indian literature in translation. The project focuses on new, unpublished Assamese writers and building the capacity of new, local literary translators. Through a public call for applications, promising literary talents writing in Assamese were invited to apply for a ten-day workshop in the Assam region to develop their literary techniques. Following the programme, the development of the texts will be pursued digitally, with the aim of publishing them. In addition, the programme aims to build a literary network for and with the authors.
This project carves out a space for consistent, quality translations emerging from Assam to generate new fiction for international audiences.
Untold is a London based writer development programme for writers in areas of conflict and post-conflict. Local writers, who are currently unable to tell their stories beyond their immediate communities, have the opportunity to develop their writing; share their stories with wider communities in their own language; and reach new global audiences in translation.
Untold is further supported by the Bagri Foundation and the British Arts Council.
Weiter Schreiben is a Berlin based platform for literature from areas of conflict and war zones. Weiterschreiben.jetzt is an online platform for authors in exile and those who cannot publish or continue to write in their home countries due to political conflicts. The project enables refugee writers, or those who live in these regions and who can no longer publish, to continue writing. Weiter Schreiben connects these writers with established authors in Germany. Together, they work in tandems on a long-term basis. Participating writers gain attention by publishing their texts on the platform weiterschreiben.jetzt, as well as through public readings and highly committed press work. In this way, they enrich the German literary and cultural discourse with their perspectives.
Weiter Schreiben is a project of WIR MACHEN DAS (wearedoingit e.V.) and is funded by the Deutscher Literaturfonds and the Fondation Jan Michalski in cooperation with the Allianz Kulturstiftung.
01. Image: Source / Author / Photographer: Untold
02. Image: Source / Author / Photographer: Weiterschreiben Berlin / Piero Chiussi
03. Image: Source / Author / Photographer: Untold
04. Image: Source / Author / Photographer: Jeanno Gaussi
05. Image: Source / Author / Photographer: Untold