In a world that can be defined in terms of science, economics, politics, and art, the brilliance and success of a nation is not in dealing with these areas separately, but rather in finding connections between them.
Before the Egyptian revolution, life was a bit static. Those who wanted to make a difference were few in number, and thus had few options other than to fiercely pursue their own individualism.
Then the revolution happened, gathering together individuals from all over Egypt who wanted to make a difference and giving hope to others who wanted to pursue their dreams and ideals.
Before the revolution, I, like many other people in our world, had two separate lives. In the morning, I was an employee and in the afternoon a writer. I had a BA in finance and a Master’s degree in marketing, but writing was my passion.
I was proud of my articles, books, awards, publications and success, but, after the revolution, part of me began to wonder “Is this really success? Does this make a difference?” I allowed my mind to questions more things, “Is it enough to inspire people’s hearts? Should I be inspiring their actual lives too?”
I started gathering other writers I knew, and, together, we created a writing workshop about the Egyptian revolution, to tell the story in our own voices instead of leaving it to the reporters and journalists to write our country’s history.
Our mission was to “Globalize Egyptian Literature,” and so we wrote in English. With the ups and downs brought by political instability, it took a year for the project to be completed. At the end, however, it was successful and two of the stories created through this effort won literary awards, one in Spain and the other in the UK. We have now moved on to create a new writing project called “The Forgotten Writers Foundation”.
Inspiration Comes from Weakness
Converting a point of weakness into a point of ultimate strength is the highest achievement. Many of the most successful and inspirational artists throughout history have known this fact, and used their defects and weaknesses as a source of inspiration for their art.
The Forgotten Writers Foundation grew out of the shortcomings of our earlier workshop. We focused the project more on blending literature with social causes, and made sure that our competition presented writers with challenging topics to tackle. We approached the workshop as a chance for anyone to join our activities, and an opportunity for us to learn from people with different perspectives.
Art in a Monetary World
When studying the global market for story competitions, I discovered many organizations that demanded a submission fee, and that awarded the winner a nice cash prize. We decided, however, to make our organization a non-profit to keep money (materialism) out of art (inspiration).
Our first competition was titled “Resurrection of Ancient Egypt” and its aim was to contemplate the ancient history of Egypt, to imagine ourselves as part of it and writing it. The ideas was to imagine the “unwritten” part of our history and to try tracing it through our intelligence and imagination.
At the beginning of the Forgotten Writers Foundation, we struggled to build a stable group of writers who trusted us. An enormous effort was made to find appropriate media outlets that would be willing to write about our project. To nurture interest in our work, we sent proposals about our competition to newspapers and magazines in various countries. In 2013, our goal is to secure partnerships with local and global foundations, writing clubs, publishing houses, and newspapers to create mutually beneficial global competitions.
Women’s Domination Story Competition
Our current writing competition is titled “Women’s Domination.” It is intended to foster debate about how different cultures, genders, and age groups accept women leaders. The word “domination” is taboo in many cultures, and, so, one of our goals is to discuss taboos, rethink them, and encourage people to join in this thought exercise.
We live in an undefined world, with many variables that can change in a second. This is the beauty of life. These rare seconds should be captured by our minds and documented in our books.
Mahmoud Masi’s Personal Blog: mahmoudmansicriticreviews.blogspot.com
Detailed Story Guidelines:
Quotes/Winners from the 1st Competition (Resurrection of Ancient Egypt): http://marwarakha.com/?p=6450