Discussing 100 Voices with editor Miranda Roszkowski on publication day

It was a real delight to find a copy of 100 Voices edited by Miranda Roszkowski in my parcel box recently and with the book published today by Unbound I simply had to invite Miranda onto Linda’s Book Bag to tell me a bit about it.

Staying in with Miranda Roszkowski

Welcome to Linda’s Book Bag Miranda. Thank you for agreeing to stay in with me.

Tell me, which of your books have you brought along to share this evening and why have you chosen it?

I’ve brought 100 Voices because it’s out today!

Happy publication day. What can we expect from an evening in with 100 Voices?

A noisy, vibrant night with people who have lots to say! The book is over 100 women’s stories of achievement – in what ever guise that is. The variety is the thing that makes it unique, these are real women from across the country and every one is different. But you’ll find a few common factors too.

Common factors?

Like – finding it hard to talk about success! When I set up the project -which was originally a podcast that I ran over 100 days in 2018 to mark the centenary of women’s votes in the UK,  I didn’t realise how hard it would be to get people to talk about achievement. But I’m happy that over 100 women answered my call. The stories genuinely surprised me and I am looking forward to hearing what you think!

I haven’t read it all yet Miranda, but I have been dipping in and finding a wide range of really interesting voices, including some names I recognise…

What impact has 100 Voices had on you as editor?

The best thing about the project for me – as well as this beautiful book – is the connection I have with the writers, and they have with each other. Crowdfunding the book took a long time but any time I started to doubt my motivation, I would get an email from a writer buoying me up. The power of the collective is incredibly potent – I think maybe women seek this out more. But having your community is vital in order to be able to feel empowered to use your voice – and I have sought to build that with this project.

That sounds brilliant. Where have the authors come from?

We are based all across the UK and I have been lucky to meet some of the writers travelling around the country on my narrowboat. During 2018 and 19 I and my now husband went from London up to Manchester via north wales and every where we went there was an interesting story about women making change happen. I dropped in on my writers when I could. We launched the crowdfunding campaign when I was in Manchester with the boat, at the Pankhurst centre. The writers were reading their work in the Parlour where Emiline Pankhurst sat with her daughters plotting! And the pandemic was actually really good for getting writers together at events – we presented at several literary festivals and ran lots of fun events to raise the funds on Unbound.

Amazing. 100 Voices sounds like the perfect embodiment of strength through unity.

What else have you brought along and why have you brought it?

I’ve brought a copy of the Stylist magazine with a Suffragette on it to commemorate 6 Feb 2018 – the day the podcast launched. It felt like being part of a really big movement then, shifting the dial on how women were talked about, presented, considered. I think it did really change how we as women are in society. But then the pandemic exposed that a lot of that progress was easy to lose – it was largely women juggling the home schooling, care and chores during COVID.

I’m not sure recent global events will help sadly.

That’s why I’m really glad we’re publishing now – because we need to keep telling women’s stories, especially positive ones about success. And never stop.

I agree! Thanks so much for staying in with me Miranda to chat about 100 Voices.

It’s been a pleasure stopping in with you Linda, thanks so much for the invite. Oh hold on – sorry here come the 100 writers. They never miss a party! Hope you’ve got some more tea cups?

Crikey! I’m not sure they’re all going to fit. You look through those cupboards for some more mugs and put the kettle on and I’ll tell readers a bit more about 100 Voices:

100 Voices

100 Voices is an anthology of writing by women across the country on what achievement means for them, and how they have come to find their own voice. Featuring poetry, fiction and memoir, the pieces range from notes on making lemon curd, to tales of marathon running and riding motorbikes, to accounts of a refugee eating English food for the first time, a newlywed learning her mother tongue and a woman rebuilding her life after an abusive relationship.

The poignant, funny and inspiring stories collected here are as varied and diverse as their authors, who include established names such as Louise Jensen, Sabrina Mahfouz, Yvonne Battle-Felton and Miranda Keeling alongside a host of exciting new writers. Taken together, they build a picture of what it’s really like to be a woman in the UK today.

Published by Unbound today, 3rd March 2022, 100 Voices is available for purchase here.

You can also follow 100 Voices on Twitter @100voices100ye1.

About Miranda Roszkowski

Miranda Roszkowski is a writer and civil servant currently living on a boat on Britain’s waterways. She has worked with the National Theatre Wales and Royal Court playwrighting programmes and has had fiction in print and online, including Birkbeck’s Mechanic’s Institute Review which she has previously edited. She is the host and curator of the spoken word night There Goes The Neighbourhood in Hackney, London and is currently working on her first novel.

For further information, visit the 100 Voices website or follow Miranda on Twitter @Miranda_Roszko, and find her on Instagram.

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