A couple of weeks ago I stayed in with editor Miranda Roszkowski to chat all about 100 Voices in a post you can read here. I’d already received a copy of the book, but hadn’t had chance to read it all. However, although I had other books I needed to read ahead of 100 Voices on my TBR, it kept drawing me back and today I’m delighted to share my review of 100 Voices.
Published by Unbound on 3rd March 2022, 100 Voices is available for purchase here.
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.
My Review of 100 Voices
An anthology of writing on achievement by 100 women arising out of a podcast run by Miranda Roszkowski.
I adored 100 Voices and I really just want to say, ‘Buy this book’! But that doesn’t really convey why adequately enough. I’m a cynical, world weary 60 year old who loathes band-waggon memes and contrived social media back slapping and yet I can honestly say that 100 Voices genuinely made me feel I have ‘found my tribe’!
Divided into sections that can be read in order or dipped into, 100 Voices inspired me from the moment I finished reading Deborah Frances-White’s introduction right through to discovering at the end that the proceeds from the book go to Rosa UK, a charity that works to improve the lives of women and girls in the UK. There are voices I was aware of such as the wonderful writer Louise Jensen and others with whom I was not familiar, but after each entry is a potted biography so that the reader gets to know writers, teachers, actors, politicians and the whole spectrum of women including those who might erroneously be viewed as ‘Just a Mum’. This provides a vivid patchwork of women and actually led me to research many of them, so that 100 Voices seems to have a life beyond the confines of its pages. 100 Voices also encourages readers to become writers and share their voices. It would be a real motivator for struggling writers or those who feel they have nothing to offer.
There are so many emotions and situations depicted in 100 Voices and the manner in which many of these women have triumphed over adversity is astonishing. This means that there really is an entry for any reader. And I mean any reader. Whilst women might perhaps find the contributions resonate more readily with them, I think any man reading this book would have a clearer understanding of women and, in some cases, find a much greater respect for the women here and in their own lives. Any reader can find insight into humanity between the pages of 100 Voices. To mis-quote Balzac, all female life is here.
Although I loved every piece in 100 Voices without exception, I think it Louise Taylor’s ‘A Future in Mid-Flight’ that touched me the most. The last line of her entry, which I won’t include here for fear of spoiling the discovery for readers, seems utterly timeless and incredibly pertinent to today’s world. I keep going back to it and each time I’m undone once again.
100 Voices is wonderful. It’s touching, inspirational, engaging, interesting and inclusive so that it really does have the effect of making the reader feel included and uplifted. Press a copy into the hands of everyone you know.
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.
You can follow 100 Voices on Twitter @100voices100ye1.