Our lives are even busier than usual right now. We have so many projects on the go my head is spinning. My first book What have we got Toulouse? is soon to be published and there are major renovation works on our house in readiness for the launch of Moulin d’en Bas Eco Centre. Then of course there’s the usual chores associated with a large family and household, a new puppy to train and my own admin business… As if all that isn’t enough, I’m a very active member of the steering group of the Women’s Voices writing group and we are launching our first book I’ve got something to say on International Women’s day, 8th March!
Women’s Voices Southwest France
The writing group was started initially by Sally Palmer who has a second home in the Gers. Her idea back in September 2018 was to produce an anthology of different pieces provided by local writers and to launch the book on International Women’s Day, 8th March 2020. The whole idea was to give women a voice – hence the title of the group “Women’s Voices”.
It seemed an ambitious goal, but here we are, nearly 18 months later and her idea is becoming a reality. She put a post on one of the local Facebook groups and within a few days over 50 women had shown an interest. I went along to the first meeting which was held in a café in Trie-sur-Baisse and volunteered to help move the project along. It seemed such a brilliant idea to me and a great way to meet other aspiring authors.
We meet monthly in different locations and share our work and ideas. Writing can be a lonely pastime, so it’s great to have the opportunity to meet up with others. It’s been difficult fitting it all in, but to be honest, I don’t think I would have been publishing my own book at last had I not been involved in this project.
The Book – I’ve got something to say
We all had a deadline of September 2019 to get our entries in – we had up to a maximum of 2000 words and we could write on any subject and in any genre. The result is a wonderful mix of twenty women, twenty voices, twenty stories, which includes something for everyone’s taste.
The title came spontaneously during one of our group meetings. It seemed very apt, so we ran with it. Our wonderful logo and cover was designed by one of our members Kiki Wood.
I have contributed three pieces to the book, “The B word” poem, First Impressions (An excerpt from my book “What have we got Toulouse”) and a poem entitled “Reawakening”. It’s now available in paperback on Amazon and the kindle version can be pre-ordered for release on the 4th April.
The Launch 8th March 2020, International Women’s Day
We always knew the date to launch our book, what we weren’t sure of was where we would hold the event and what it would include. Initially we’d planned something quite low-key in a small local hall, with maybe a couple of musical performances, but when we had a few problems with the venue, we started looking at alternatives. One of our members, Ellen Rugen, made enquiries at her local cinema Le Lanano, Lalanne-Trie and the Manager Renan was very enthusiastic about the event. We met with him and by the end of the meeting we had use of the whole cinema and the salle de fete. Plenty of room for up to 250 guests, technical equipment, catering facilities and the offer of a suitable film at the end of the event. It all seemed too good to be true and before we knew it our low-key event turned into a much bigger affair…
So the result is: Twenty Women : Twenty Voices : Twenty Stories
We will also be raising money (via a raffle and a light supper) to support women’s education in Pakistan. KEF, Kashmir Education Foundation, trains women teachers and promotes the education of girls in marginalised sections of Pakistan’s rural society.
Launch event timings
We have a packed and interesting programme for the afternoon and evening. The current event timings go something like this:
3.00 Doors open and free welcome drink
3.15 Welcome note by Sally Palmer
3.30 Launch: readings from the authors
4.15 Chance to purchase book, view author tables showcasing businesses, interests, hobbies and art. Refreshments will be on sale.
5.00 Musical entertainment:
– Contempo – local mixed choir
– The Muskatellas – an all female band of local female singers
– Joy Askew – a renowned singer/songwriter known for her work with Joe Jackson, Laurie Anderson and Peter Gabriel. Joy is based in New York and also has a home in SW France.
6.15 Raffle (in aide of KEF)
6.30 Soup and refreshments (there will be a small charge for these in aid of KEF)
7.30 Film “Be Natural: The Untold Story of Alice Guy-Blaché” in VO (normal cinema entrance fees apply)
So please, all come along and help us celebrate International Women’s day. We will be very happy for you to join us.