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Jenni Murray – Cheltenham Literature Festival REVIEW

“Hello Ch

eltenham, It’s lovely to be back!” A warm smile greets us as Jenni Murray opens her book and begins her talk by reading out her intro to her new book, ‘A History of Britain in 21 Women’. The Radio 4 Women’s Hour presenter controls the room with her calming voice, creating a tranquil ambience, bordering on ASMR.

Despite an unhelpful interviewer Jenni remained calm and composed explaining to us why each of her 21 idols have made it into her book, and, when questioned, why others didn’t make the cut. From Boadicea to Queen Elizabeth, Jenni really opened up and allowed an insight into why these women are so special to her and why they should be so appreciated.

The talk wasn’t too history heavy, or too feminist crazed. It was the perfect blend of heartwarming stories, facts and anecdotes about her time as a journalist and presenter on Women’s Hour. She spoke dearly of Hillary Clinton and sent her “positive thoughts across

the Atlantic” and told stories of meeting Margaret Thatcher in pure admiration. It was so grounding to hear someone admiring women in a similar way in which I admire her.

Finishing the session with a Q & A, the in-awe audience picked their chins up off the floor and we ended on some incredible progressive and enlightening points about exposure of pornography to young girls and the revolution of sex. As the youngest person in the room I nodded along eagerly and hung on Murray’s every word.

As the presenter of Women’s Hour for almost 30 out of the 70 years its been going, I think she deserves a place in her own book.

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