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Best-selling Black authors don’t come much bigger than Terry McMillan. Ahead of McMillan’s ‘Who Asked You?’ UK tour in March, Helen Tucker shares how her network, Women Talk, has scooped the first date to hold a conversation with Terry.

Best-selling Black authors don’t come much bigger than Terry McMillan. Ahead of McMillan’s ‘Who Asked You?’ UK tour in March, Helen Tucker shares how her network, Women Talk, has scooped the first date of the tour to hold a conversation with Terry.

For anyone who doesn’t know best-selling author Terry McMillan, the following should be an easy reminder: Disappearing Acts, Waiting to Exhale, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Getting to Happy.

The successful American author is making a hugely anticipated return to the UK for a tour entitled ‘Who Asked You?’, also the title of one of her blockbuster novels. In the first of three UK dates, McMillan will be hosted on March 4th by Women Talk, a Luton-based women’s network founded by award-winning consultant and trainer,

ReConnect Africa spoke to Helen Tucker about the evening – a collaboration with the 20th anniversary of the long-established ‘In Celebration of My Sisters’ (ICOMS) – and the inspiration behind the network that has made such an impact on the women of Luton.

ReConnect Africa: You must be incredibly excited to have Terry McMillan as a guest for your Network. What can you tell us about how you scooped that?

Helen Tucker: We are extremely excited! To have Terry McMillan coming to the UK and to Luton is a real coup d’état. We had talks with the Founder of ICOMS Tony Fairweather, whom I have known for over 20 years, about what he had planned to celebrate International Women’s Day and ICOMS 20th year anniversary. He asked if Women Talk would be interested in hosting Terry McMillan in Luton, and what could I say but YES! However it was really about looking at what she would bring to Luton and Women Talk, and having such an inspirational woman to grace our stage certainly fulfils our aims and objectives and our motto which is ‘Be Informed, Be Inspired, BE Ignited’

ReConnect Africa: Why were you particularly keen to collaborate with ‘In Celebration of My Sisters’ and to bring Terry to Luton?

Helen Tucker: Having been personally involved with In Celebration of My Sisters eighteen years ago, (they will be celebrating 20 years in 2016) I know that the show has acknowledged well-known women over the years, such as Maya Angelo and Iyanla Vanzant, as well as ordinary women.

At Women Talk, we want our ladies to know that they are extraordinary and to be able to celebrate themselves, so this collaboration was a must for us. When Tony Fairweather contacted us to discuss celebrating IWD in association with ICOMS by hosting Terry McMillan, we met and discussed how to make it work; venue, host, artistes from London, and locally…and the rest is history. When something seems impossible, it takes belief and vison for it to come to reality.

“Having Terry McMillan who is such an inspirational woman to grace our stage certainly fulfilled our aims and objectives and our motto which is ‘Be Informed, Be Inspired, Be Ignited.’”

ReConnect Africa: What lessons do you think hearing about the life of a successful American author will offer to your members?

Helen Tucker: I think she will show another perspective as a women who has gone through what many of our ladies have gone through - relationships, friendships, and emotional rollercoasters - and, in her case, in the public domain which is particularly harsh. What Terry McMillan she brings to the table is the tenacity, the fearlessness and the rawness of her stories in book form which many of our ladies will find fascinating in terms of lessons learnt.

ReConnect Africa: Can you tell us what the line-up for the event with Terry going to include and what people can expect?

Helen Tucker: People can expect a fun-filled and entertaining evening with music, talk, comedy, film and, of course, Terry. The evening will be hosted by Frances Mensah Williams, ReConnect Africa’s Managing Editor who is also an author herself, and who will interview Terry. Other special guests during the evening will include Angie Le Mar, Aysha Loren, singer/songwriter Adelaide Mackenzie, Nairobi, and comedian Donna Spence.

We will be offering a meet and greet with Terry McMillan for a lucky few and the opportunity to purchase signed copies of her books.

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ReConnect Africa: What inspired you to set up Women Talk and what was the mission behind it?

Helen Tucker: Women Talk was born out of the need for a network in Luton that would cater for all women; not just those in business, but women in work, out of work, carers, and so on. We hold events on the last Wednesday of every month and our ladies are of varying ages and come from different cultural backgrounds and experiences, bringing a richness to our network. We also have guest speakers; women who share on a range of topics covering all aspects of life including family, politics, money, weight, healthy eating, successful fundraising, as well as practical events that involve pampering ourselves.

ReConnect Africa: What impact has Women Talk made to its members and what are your plans for the network going forward?

Helen Tucker: Women Talk has been very successful in promoting its events, guest speakers and members’ businesses. It’s a vehicle for women from different walks of life to come together, to share, and to meet other women. Women have been inspired by some of our women members who have decided to make a career change, eat healthily, take control of their family and life, or even to start a small business. Our mission is to increase their knowledge and raise awareness of day-to-day or specific issues which affect women.

Our members have access to Career Coaches, Mentors and Experts, invitations to exclusive events, discounted rates to our own conferences and events and access to safe, friendly and supportive networking. We also promote members’ businesses on our Women Talk website and host videos, blogs and lots of ‘how to’s’ for information.

Our plan is to grow into a large network and create chapters of Women Talk around the Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire and Buckinghamshire area, and to continue partnering with other women’s network, such as ICOMS, to celebrate high-profile speakers and to put on major events.

ReConnect Africa: Given the excitement surrounding Terry McMillan’s forthcoming visit to the UK, how can readers attend the event?

Helen Tucker: The tour will start in Luton at the prestigious Auction House, Crescent Road, Luton, LU2 0AH. Tickets to the event are £25.50 with limited tickets available for Meet and Greet at £35.50.

Booking is online via Eventbrite - https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/terry-mcmillan-tour-in-celebration-of-my-sisters-in-association-with-women-talk-tickets-18918708366?ref=esfb - or contact Women Talk on 07956 982923 for tickets.

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