Updated: May 7, 2021
New project rewriting the menopause by helping women find their literary voice.
Cultural and societal taboos surrounding the menopause have meant women’s experiences have been left unwritten and unheard. We've been virtually invisible in fiction, film, poetry, and prose. But now, with an estimated 13 million UK women currently either peri- or menopausal, it's our time to be heard.
Now, Petra Coveney - founder of Menopause Yoga and Patsy Isles (a journalist, yoga teacher and creative wellbeing practitioner who runs creative writing courses) have teamed up to launch a new women's empowerment project called MY Voice - ReWriting Your Menopause - to help women find their literary voice.
They will be running a series of workshops and day retreats open to all women who want to to express their menopause experience through words. They will hold safe and supportive spaces with yoga movement, breathwork, meditation and guided visualisations to draw out the authentic voices of women who can choose to express themselves through poetry, short stories and other forms of prose. Other writers will be invited to lead special events, including bestselling author Noelle Harrison (see below).
The project launches on Sunday June 20th, with 'Finding My Feet' - a special 6-hour workshop (from 10am-4pm) that will include simple Menopause Yoga, breathing exercises and guided meditations, to tap into your creativity. These are specially designed to give you the space, support and confidence to write or voice record your experiences, and guidance for you to develop these into poetry, short stories, and other creative outlets.
You do NOT need to be a writer to attend this workshop - it is for all women who want to find their voice.
Petra Coveney, journalist, author and founder of Menopause Yoga says: "The silence surrounding the menopause has contributed to the general fear and apprehension that women have about going through the menopause. I am passionate about giving women a voice so that their experiences can be heard and younger women can look after their health and wellbeing. Women need to have their stories heard, and be respected for their perspective on the world.
"I am so excited to be launching this project with Patsy Isles and to invite some of the most inspiring authors and creative writing coaches to help women find their own literary voice. I believe we will be able to give voice to a treasure trove of stories held locked for generations. Who knows what untold treasures we will find."
Patsy Isles, a journalist, yoga teacher and creative wellbeing practitioner, says: “As we navigate the hugely transformative nature of our menopause, we can feel disempowered and find it hard to speak our truth from an authentic place.
"Our menopause affects us physically, mentally and spiritually. Our bodies change; we experience symptoms such as hot flushes or achy joints; our foggy minds make us feel less sharp or anxious; and through all of this, we can begin to doubt ourselves and our abilities. MY Voice offers women a supportive space to rediscover their voice.”
To launch this project there will be an inaugural day retreat called Finding MY Feet: a day of yoga, breath work and creative writing.This one-day workshop is suitable for women in all stages of the menopause (peri, meno and post menopause), and you don’t need to be a trained writer – you just need the desire to write about your menopause.
To book click here - or go to the Events page on the Menopause Yoga website.
A series of other workshops will take place throughout the year, including a full day with Noelle Harrison, bestselling author and creative writing tutor, who will help unlock your creative potential for writing fiction. This event - Writing MY Self - putting women on the page,' will be on Sunday October 17th from 10am-4pm will include a talk on 'menopause and women in fiction, by Noelle Harrison, creative writing exercises, and two Menopause Yoga sessions with movement, breathwork and meditation to help your creative thinking flow.
Petra Coveney is the founder of menopause Yoga which she launched in 2013. She has led hundreds of Menopause Yoga classes, workshops, retreats and now trains other yoga teachers all over the world. In her former career, she was a national newspaper and magazine journalist, and a BBC radio and independent television producer. She is the author of a new book - 'Menopause Yoga - a holistic guide to supporting women on their menopause journey' - to be published by Jessica Kingsley/ Singing Dragon, in October 2021. Petra is passionate about encouraging women to find their menopause voices.
Patsy Isles is a perimenopausal writer, yoga teacher and founder of ifeyoga.com. She teaches hatha, kundalini and Menopause Yoga and has a particular interest in the transformational power of the breath. She is a creative wellbeing associate with Words of Colour, a social enterprise that supports, empowers and develops writers of colour. She is also co-founder of the Black Yoga & Wellbeing Collective – a group of wellbeing professionals working together to increase the visibility of people of colour in the wellbeing industry.
Noelle’s is the author of many best selling novels. Her latest novel is The Boatman’s Wife published in January 2021, which hit No.3 in Women’s Literary Fiction on the Amazon Bestseller Lists. Her most recent play Witches’ Gets was performed to sold out houses in The Scottish Storytellers’ Centre as part of Audacious Women Festival in Edinburgh in February 2020. Noelle lives in Edinburgh, Scotland, and is one of the founders of Aurora Writers’ Retreats and part of the wellness hub The Space To BE.
Check out Noelle’s website to read more about her writing & books here.
You can follow Noelle on Instagram@noelle.harrison5
Twitter: @NoelleHarrison Facebook: @NoelleCBHarrison