Written by William Dobson
“The Forgotten Writers” was founded during the Egyptian revolution by Mahmoud Mansi, a young author from Alexandria whose mission is to highlight how Egyptian authors and artists are different from their politicians. The aim of the organisation is to create some sort of global democracy between writers from each country and culture. This is done by releasing international short story competitions about topics that create both an interest and a debate from global audience; a challenge for writers to tackle, and a rich source of knowledge to readers. Furthermore, the idea was that the entries would focus on a different angle, going beyond the regular media and news stories which appear in the West.
The first competition was entitled “Resurrection of Ancient Egypt” and opened in December 2011. It sought to make use of this ancient mysterious culture in an artistic form and as a source of inspiration, with the Pharaohs as living muses that would affect Egypt’s contemporary art. Stories came from all over the world, including India, USA, South Africa, Lithuania, Germany, Brazil, and of course Egypt, where the winning stories are to be published in a book. As well as pure entertainment, this will serve as an analysis of how Egyptians view their own history, and how foreigners view one of the most ancient civilizations on Earth.
Now, they have launched their second competition called “Women’s Domination.” It’s open to both genders, to feminists and anti-feminists, and wants to give each writer the chance to explain their own views about this topic through a literary work. This competition is perhaps the first experiment of democracy in Egypt through literature, as women’s rights and women’s freedom has always been a debate and one of the main aims is to see how different cultures might perceive the idea of dominant women. Again, the winning entries will be published in a book.
While there is no monetary reward for winning entries, instead the foundation relies on entries by writers who are passionate about the topic and its social effect, and the opportunity of having a short story published. However, they are looking to expand in the near future and hope to turn some of the winning stories into short movies in conjunction with filmmakers and directors. Of course, another of the main aims is to promote the depth of Egyptian literature to a Western audience, and all entries must be written in English.
The deadline for the competition is 31st July 2012. For further information and guidelines on how to enter, click here.