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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Afghan Women's Writing Project

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Today, the Afghan Women’s Writing Project (AWWP) launches a new global theatrical initiative designed to amplify Afghan women’s voices and bring their stories to an ever-expanding audience. A new website, www.AWWPPresents.org, will serve as headquarters for the initiative, which will promote and support professional theater performances, small venue readings, private home events, and a school performance program geared for middle schools, high schools, and universities. Through the AWWP, professional American writers teach secure online writing workshops to women in Afghanistan, many of whom participate in secret, concealing laptops under burqas or walking hours through Taliban territory to upload their poetry. Their finished work is published at AWWProject.org. Last year, the AWWP produced two major theatrical events based on this work, in Los Angeles and Washington, DC, with participants’ readings read by prominent stage actors.
"We have always believed that the work of our women writers was a natural fit for live performances, whether intimate living-room readings or full theatrical productions. As we witnessed in our 2010 events, AWWP participants write hopeful, harrowing, stories that translate visually and powerfully to the stage. Hearing and seeing these words performed or read moves listeners to tears and stirs everyone's passion for the fight for human rights,” says AWWP creative director Jeff Lyons.

Run by volunteers in the U.S. and Kabul, the AWWP was founded in 2009 by award-winning writer Masha Hamilton. Its goal is to give Afghan women a direct voice, not filtered through male relatives or the media. In 2010, the AWWP was honored by the New York State Division of Human Rights. The AWWP believes that the right to tell one’s story aloud is a human right. For more information, please visit www.awwppresents.org or contact lynn@awwproject.org.A

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