Thursday 4th April. Outside, the bitter easterly wind continued to savage awnings, umbrellas and most people’s spirits. We’d had snow flurries and sleet all day, and London’s pavements spattered a thin muddy muck on everyone’s boots. In the downstairs bar of Cotton’s Caribbean Restaurant in Exmouth Market, nearly 30 women writers, plus friends and supporters, gathered for the launch of the third Loose Muse anthology. The cover date is Spring 2013, and the evening of readings, performances and friendly networking was just the tonic to counter the unseasonal weather. Another stunning image by Lorraine Clarke adorns the cover, and inside there’s a wonderful variety of writing, all by women who’ve read at the monthly Loose Muse event. At the launch, I discovered some new voices – Patricia Foster, Steph Pike and Aino Huusko amongst others; and was impressed again by Nancy Charley and Charlotte Ansell, both of whom I’ve heard at previous Loose Muse evenings. Claire Booker read a cheeky and hilarious excerpt from her short play Last Man in Watford. Sally Blackmore and Loose Muse host Agnes Meadows both read a poem from a sequence they’re collaborating on, concerning stalking – chilling stuff. Also from the tough, dark end of the writing spectrum comes the story My Father & Other Junkies by Sue Johns. Tender, finely balanced poems from Natasha Morgan; Kate B Hall reading her quirky poem Boxes; Camilla Reeve‘s The Journalist’s Journey a timely reflection on lies and the media. My good writing buddy Joolz Sparkes performed her excellent sound-rich Monday night at Ronnie Scott’s and unashamedly feminist Self-made woman. And I braved the stage and microphone to read my story Song Cycle. A lovely, attentive audience, and a lively, uplifting evening. Thanks again to Agnes for making this happen.