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Afghan project gives voice to women writers

Afghan women poets and writers have been given an international voice through the Afghan Women's Writing Project (AWWP), reports the latest issue of Sampsonia Way magazine, sponsored by the non-profit City of Asylum/Pittsburgh. Through a series of online writing workshops run remotely by American writers, Afghan women are able to publish their experiences in poems, essays and comments on the AWWP website.

The website came out of journalist Masha Hamilton's travels to Afghanistan in 2004 and 2008, where she searched for women's stories that were not being told. Back in the U.S., she set up online writing workshops for some of the women she had met on her travels, from her kitchen table in Brooklyn. She later recruited other American women writers to work as mentors.

"Tabasom, whose last name is withheld to protect her identity, writes her poems in secret, then walks four hours through Taliban-controlled territory to access an Internet connection," writes Elizabeth Hoover. Only Tabasom's brother knows about her writing; she could be beaten or killed if others find out.

AWWP was eventually able to open up the Women's Writing Hut in Kabul, a small apartment building with computers and Internet, where women writers "who once only knew each other by their screen names can gather there in person to sip tea, read books, and share their work," writes Hoover.

Read more about the AWWP

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