“At first, I was nervous about how this book would make me feel. At times the stories were heart-breaking but it didn’t leave me feeling overwhelmed. It left me feeling seen.

Speak Up: An Anthology of Young Voices explores issues we face as a society, owns up to them and has you standing up ready to face them. You can’t tackle problems if you don’t know what they are and in so many ways this book lays them out, and leaves you ready to confront them.

This book left me feeling strong and empowered because, through these stories, I know I’m not alone. This is a must read!

I’d love to tell you about every story but unfortunately I can’t so, here are two pieces that particularly resonated with me:

Broken Record by Freyja Hollington – This perfectly defines one of society’s main problems – the way we repeat our mistakes – in the most captivating of rhythms. ‘This is what my forefathers did and is what I shall therefore do.’ Freyja’s words swirl around and around, dizzying and destructive. Her poem captures that feeling incredibly. She is a talent to watch out for.

Paper Skin by Charlie-Dawn Sadler – This poem is incredibly observant and self-reflective. You feel it crawl beneath your skin and pick at the parts of you that hurt. It explores our relationship to ourselves and the implications of negative perceptions. The line ‘I want to learn to like myself but no one taught me how’ cuts right through to the core of it. We are never taught to love; we are taught to dissect, to judge, to compare – and this needs to change.

These stories are something hopeful despite the pain, courageous despite the tragedy. This collection is something to be read by candlelight and dream of a better world. Thank you, it has truly been a pleasure.”

Make sure to register for Virtual MyVoice here to get a reminder before we kick things off!