“We do not take funding, we do not pay for marketing, our ideas make us alive and global,” says Mahmoud Mansi, a novelist, journalist and painter who created Egypt’s Forgotten Writers Foundation. Born at the sunset of the Egyptian revolution in 2011, the initiative was meant to inspire underground writers to tell the stories of the revolution with their own voice; but after the launch of its first competition, it took on a life of its own.
“I thought to myself: will we always remain a burden in the world of globalization? Why isn’t there any initiative in Egypt to create international writing competitions?” he says. Mansi’s foundation is a virtual one, based on the concept that original ideas need no marketing to win the interest of media. “When we launched the ‘Women’s Domination’ short story competition on International Women’s Day 2012, tens of newspapers from all over the world were interested in supporting us,” he tells Barakabits.
In the last two years, the foundation has partnered with blogs, book stores or companies which, after winning stories are selected, search for a publisher who is interested in the theme. Their last one, entitled, “Motherhood Short Story Competition,” has received 90 entries from 25 different countries.
“The forgotten writer has a fabulous mind yet finds difficulty to self-publish because his thoughts are too different. The forgotten writer resurrects the forgotten sorts of literature, knowledge and inspirations because he does not submit to the mainstream,” Mansi says.