Launch of the second Women’s Voices book

Ruth Hartley StorytellingLeave a Comment

Women's Voices book launch poster in blue and white
Poster for the Women’s Voices book launch

Transitions expressed in Women’s Voices

The launch of the second Women’s Voices book I’ve got something MORE to say will take place on Sunday 26th June in the Salle de Fete at Ponsan-Soubiran a small village in the South West of France.

I’ll be there to join all the women who have contributed their stories, poems and drawings to the book. There will be music and performances as well as some readings from the book. There will also be art on display, wine and cakes and books for sale.

We can picnic by the riverside before the event if we wish. It will be a very pleasant day with the opportunity to meet other writers, poets and artists and talk about what we do and why we do it. Among us will be published writers, self-published writers and aspiring writers and artists. I do believe that writers’ and artists’ workshops are important ways of encouraging self-expression through writing and art. All humans are creative thinkers and these activities are essential for our mental and physical well-being.

The theme of this second Women’s Voices book is Transitions

The ‘true’ history of my body Charcoal and wash drawings about the experience of inhabiting a woman’s body

This is a theme that lends itself to many interpretations and ideas. It made me realise that much of what I write is about change and changing. Perhaps this is the driver of almost all novels? Most heroes in stories have to learn and adapt and all their circumstances are in constant flux. I had no trouble finding stuff that I had written around these ideas. The problem for any writer however is knowing if it is good enough to offer to an anthology like this one or to enter into a literary competition and one day perhaps, offer to an agent and a publisher.

All writers have to start somewhere and all of us are constantly learning how to write better. How can we best do that? It all feels risky and self-exposing to put one’s writing into a public space where strangers can read it and judge it but we write to communicate and to tell the stories we have invented. Very few of us write in private entirely for ourselves. The first Women’s Voices book started back in 2018 as the initiative of a Women’s voices writing group. I’ve followed it with interest and decided to participate this year.

‘Exile’ oil stick and acrylic painting also titled ‘Migrant’ ‘Refugee’ ‘Uprooted’ Homeless’ -all stages of transition

Commitment and work

One certain thing is that a great deal of commitment and hard work goes into producing a book like this. It is done by volunteers and it takes time and is not easy. I’ve got something MORE to say has been organised, edited and published by the chief editor Sally Palmer, and a dedicated core team including Anne Dickens, and Mollie Brotherton. Both covers were designed by Kiki Wood.

My own contributions and thoughts

Writers’ and artists’ workshops and projects are useful but very demanding too. All creative efforts feel risky and threatening when we invest so much that is deeply felt and personal into our work. It can sometimes feel dangerous and hurtful but of course, that is true of everything worthwhile that any of us attempt. I am very happy to have some of my writing and art accepted into this book. I was happy back in 2016 to be part of a Gascony Writers Anthology with other friends and writers.

In 2014 I self-published The Shaping of Water. Since then I’ve self-published 6 novels and this year had the good fortune to have my middle-grade children’s book Dust and Rain: Chipo and Chibwe save the Green Valley published by Gadsden Publishers in Zambia. It is all part of an important process.

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