Meet the Four Winners of the Modest GOAT Prize

Meet the Four Winners of the Modest GOAT Prize

The editors at The Geopolitical Open Atlas of the Polity of Literature want to share with you the names and projects of the four writers who were awarded The Modest Goat Prize 2023. While continuing to publish at The GOAT PoL, each of these writers will receive added support (both monetary and editorial) while attempting to complete their book and publish it. The four writers are:

Mozhgan Mahjoob: Mozhgan is from Afghanistan and writes stories that are “inspired by her true life and the life of other people who face the same situation.” The characters in her stories “struggle to survive, to overcome the challenges in life, to be hopeful at the most difficult time, to dream and set goals in life when the hunger and poverty break them down and to find peace and serenity when the real world hurts them.” Her work is myth-like, metaphorical, and layered in meaning, and she has published half-a-dozen stories already on The GOAT PoL, all of which will be included in the book that she hopes will inspire others. She writes from her heart, because “that which has been written by one’s heart will sit in hearts.”

Faridah Naimana: Faridah lives in the Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, home to 122,000 displaced people. She writes about the lives of women and girls in the camp who are leaders, doing her own interviews and investigations as a way to learn more about the unique, resilient culture of refugee women and girls. She’s published three reports on The GOAT PoL so far and will use 2023 to focus on a book that derives from these same interests but might depart from the journalistic style she’s used thus far.

Stephen Pech: Stephen is a poet, story writer, and climate activist. His planned book, The Unbreakable Part of Me, depicts his three lived experiences of forced displacement: from his Juba city residence to UNIMISS Camp in Juba, South Sudan, to Kakuma Refugee Camp in Kenya, to Tongogara Refugee Camp in Zimbabwe, where he now lives. His is a journey of turmoil and life experience of hurdles. His writing explores childhood, the political and economic situation in his home country, his culture, and climate change. In the book he will “write about my hopes, fears, anger, sorrow, ideals, doubts, love, and ‘Truth,’ which is the unbreakable part of me.”

Drew Curran: Drew is an advocate for disability rights and aims with his book to “make disabled Americans’ everyday lives better.” Drew’s stories explore his own experiences living with cerebral palsy, and his work that is already published on The GOAT PoL takes us with him to L.A. to film a commercial, to Poland to try out a special therapy suit, and through the trials and triumphs of coming of age. Through a series of stories that will offer readers “information on the accessibility and the culture” of these various places — and a healthy dose of well-timed humor — the book will also include a list of resources that others with disabilities might turn to. He writes that “If this book could help one more person with a disability improve their quality of life, I would consider it a successful endeavor.”

On the website you can search authors by name, or read entries by location. When you’ve found one story by any one writer you can also see and read their other stories by clicking on their name (just below the story title) and choosing “read other stories…” The editors hope you will read widely on the site and be in touch with other writers whose work you enjoy.

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