By Miranda Roszkowski
100 years after getting the Vote, 100 female writers share their story
Thursday, 6 February 2020
Introducing... our mentors
Today we are launching a whole new reward!
7 of the best writers in the United Kingdom (in my opinion, but also in the bookshelves and reviews, you know) have offered to provide a once-in-a-lifetime chance of a creative consultation. There’s more on who is giving you this brilliant opportunity further down. But first, a quick story.
I couldn’t spell my surname until I was 7. It’s long. It’s got strange Z’s and K’s that to this day anyone I meet somehow fails to see.
I don’t blame them. As mentioned, my surname was way too much for me and I’d been living with it for the best part of a decade by then. And then, I told my teacher, in the way that I told everyone: “It’s too long for me to remember. Everyone knows which one it is anyway.”
The teacher didn’t just shrug it off. He didn’t make me feel embarrassed either, that I was entirely disconnected from a part of (what was to be) my identity at the age of 7 when most people could write their names.
“Break it down,” he suggested. “Learn the different parts and then put it together.”
I still use that technique when spelling it out. R-O-S-Z, pause to breathe - KAY, O-W, slight pause because the worst is over, SKI! Simple.
Breaking things into smaller manageable and less terrifying parts is a technique that has served me well. With this Unbound funder for instance. It is much easier to set a short-term goal, like our current drive to get 300 supporters, then staring at the BIG figure of funding we still need to raise so that we can share over 100 women writers and their hilarious, uncomfortable, moving and inspiring stories with you.
We’ll get there.
But in the project, as in life, I’ve learned that sometimes you need someone to help you. The fact that we have raised the HUGE amount of cash is down to the people in the book and our supporters. You’ve made a great choice - this book is going to be amazing.
Things just got even more exciting (if you’ve bought the book already - this bit is for your friends, please tell them). Because now, some of our writers are offfering the chance to get an EXCLUSIVE and ONE-OFF talk about your own writing, script, idea for a creative business or, to be honest, whatever you want*.
There are just 7 of the Featured Rewards which we’re launching today. For your hard-earned you will get a book, your name in the back of it and an absolutely-unmissable chance to meet one of the below and get them to help you with the problem you’re facing. Maybe you don’t know how to tell your story, maybe you’ve written a book and don’t know how to get it published, maybe that character is always slightly out of reach? They have all been there and will dedicate between 30 minutes to an hour of their time. You can travel to them, talk on the phone or even video call (!)
These ladies are all amazing writers and people, they run charities, spoken word nights, festivals. They know what it’s like to want to tell your story and not know how, and have carried on regardless.
If you get the reward here’s a bit about who you’ll be talking to and where they are based:
Yvonne Battle-Felton, Sheffield. Having had her work published in literary journals and magazines, Yvonne was longlisted for the Women’s Prize for fiction for her debut novel book Remembered, which came out in 2019. She is originally from a lecturer in Creative Writing at Sheffield Hallam University and the creator of Stories at the Storey in Lancaster.
Sabrina Mahfouz, London. Playwright, poet and creative editor of several anthologies, Sabrina is currently the playwright in residence at the Globe Theatre in London, following a sell-out run of her play A History of Water in the Middle East at the Royal Court in London. Sabrina was raised in London and Cairo and has recently been elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and is the recipient of the 2018 King's Alumni Arts & Culture Award for inspiring change in creative industries.
Abda Khan, Solihull. Abda is the author of two novels, Stained and Razia (also on Unbound) and won the Noor Inayat Khan Woman of the Year Award at the British Muslim Awards 2019. Originally from Bradford, Abda was the first child in her family to sit A levels and studied law in Manchester qualifying as a Solicitor in 1994. She made the move into writing driven by her work in human rights, as well as novels, she writes short stories, poems, and has guest written for various publications, including the Guardian. She also runs creative writing workshops across the country.
Sophie Haydock, London. A journalist and editor, Sophie won the Impress Prize in 2018 for her work in progress inspired by Egon Schiele and his muses. Formerly an editor for Sunday Times Food, Sophie is also on the creative team of the WordFactoryUK who help boost the works of new writers, running masterclasses and short story salons for writers of all experience and backgrounds, in London.
Alison Hitchcock, London. Another Word Factory alumna, Alison is a writer and editor who in 2016 set up the charity From Me To You, which supports people to write letters to their loved ones suffering from cancer. When she’s not running letter writing workshops or working on her own stories, Alison also teaches creative writing to disadvantaged adults and children.
Alexandra Keelan, Manchester. Alex is a spoken word performer, poet, scriptwriter and playwright based in Manchester whose work work on screen and in theatres has been featured across the country, including on BBC Radio 4, Oldham Coliseum Theatre, Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and HOME Manchester. Her writing has won her numerous awards including Best Comedy award at Greater Manchester Fringe 2017 and a Manchester Theatre Award.
Louise Jensen, Corby Northamptonshire. Louise Jensen has sold over a million English language copies of her International No. 1 psychological thrillers The Sister, The Gift, The Surrogate, The Date and The Family. Her novels have also been translated into twenty-five languages, as well as featuring on the USA Today and Wall Street Journal Bestseller’s List. She’s been nominated for the Guardian’s “Not the Booker Prize” award amongst others and Louise's sixth thriller, The Stolen Sisters will be published in Autumn. Her piece in 100 Voices is all about how a recovery from a serious accident helped her return to writing. She hasn’t stopped since...