Inside the pages of Project Pen‘s Twitter Stories you will find the work of a new generation of storytellers from the Kingdom of Jordan, and from all around the Middle East. It’s Project Pen’s second official book release. Not just interested in fiction, the collective have also been encouraging writers to take on new narratives in film, music and gaming as well. In that sense, this collection seems almost traditional. Though the tradition of “tiny stories” is much older than people on the Internet think it is — Enrique Anderson Imbert’s lightning-fast stories date from the 1960s, and Félix Fénéon’s “novels in three lines” from 1906 — as far as we know this is the first and largest collection of Arabic-English microfiction ever made.
This anthology is evidence of the creativity that exists in this part of the world — from a place where fiction publishing has long been dead, and imagination long under siege. But under siege is when art counts. When the entire world is falling apart in rather large pieces, yet artists continue to create, it’s a sober reminder that art isn’t some leisure-time bourgeois activity to be consumed by dilettantes, but as meaningful as life itself.