BLOG TOUR: The Women Writers’ Handbook

The Blurb:

A revised edition of the publisher’s inaugural publication in 1990 which won the Pandora Award from Women-in-Publishing. Inspirational in its original format, this new edition offers insight and motivation for budding writers from dozens of distinguished authors, celebrating the breadth of women’s writing in all its forms.

The book also includes the original writing workshops from the first edition plus quirky B/W illustrations as well as a foreword by Cheryl Robson, publisher and Managing Editor, who was a recent finalist in the ITV National Diversity Awards – Lifetime Achievement category. Aurora Metro Books was a finalist in the 2019 IPG Diversity in Publishing Awards and has a 30 year history of ground-breaking publishing, featuring both diverse and international authors.

What Did I Think?

I love anything that celebrates and promotes the work of women, and with 30 essays written by talented women does just that. The Women Writers’ Handbook provides women writers with a chance to showcase and share their work and experiences, as well as providing advice on holding writing workshops.

Most of the essays are easy and quick to read, being only a few pages long, making it easy to read essay after essay without even realising. Cheryl Robson states that there is something for everyone in this volume and that couldn’t be more true. Some of my favourites include:

Phillipa Gregory – Early Women Writers

Phillipa argues in her essay that early women writers and Victorian women Novelists were better represented in the Victorian era than 20th and 21st Century women writers have been in these modern times. It was an extremely eye-opening read and confirmed for me that there is still very much a gender problem in society today.

Magda Oldziejewska – The Feminist Library

This was the first I had heard of the The Feminist Library and I’m actually quite ashamed of myself for it. Madga talks about how The Feminist Library is dedicated to collecting and safeguarding women’s histories, as well as creating a community where feminists can gather, discuss and create together.

Kalista Sy – Being A Feminist Writer

Senegalese Screenwriter, Kalista Sy explains why she is a feminist writer and demonstrates how women are still so judged on the choices they make. Kalista works tirelessly to promote women through her work and argues that if we want to make women strong, we must show them images of strong women.

Emma Woolf – Virginia Woolf, 100 Years On

This was the one essay fro me that really stood out. I hadn’t known much about how Virginia Woolf struggled with depression and her mental health, and her great-niece, Emma, speaks honestly about Virginia’s suicide attempts and her struggles in coping with the loss of many of her family members. Emma discusses how Virginia’s sexuality, relationships and mental state are always discussed and studied by scholars and critics in order to understand her work. She beautifully writes that Virginia’s madness was part of her writing, as much as her writing was part of her madness.

Following on from Emma Woolf’s essay, 20% of profits made by The Women Writer’s Handbook will go to the Virginia Woolf statue campaign.

To give a little backstory, a proposed statue of Virginia Woolf has been planned to be located in Richmond on Thames where Virginia and Leonard Woolf lived from 1914-1924 and set up the Hogarth Press. A public consultation by the local council was 83% in favour of the statue and planning permission has been granted to site the first life-size statue in bronze of the famous author on Richmond riverside where the author walked her dog daily. Over 20% of the £50,000 target has been raised so far. To find out more about the campaign, click here and to donate to the project go here.

Huge thanks to Aurora Metro Book and Love Books Tours for my advanced copy!

The Women Writers’ Handbook

Rating: 5 out of 5.

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