The first competition was held in 2007. A devoted Committee undertook the work of organising the inaugural contest and judging the entries even before we became a Trust. The first awards were presented at the BessieFest 2007 in Serowe, and a number of the winning entries have since been published by Pentagon Publishers.
Why do we honour Bessie Head?
The Bessie Head Literature Awards have been sponsored by Pentagon Publishers and administered by the Bessie Head Heritage Trust. The Trust was established in June 2007 to promote the life and work of Bessie Head both here and abroad. We believe this competition is important for two reasons: (a) to help preserve Bessie Head's legacy in Botswana, since she is our country’s most famous writer who has gained broad recognition overseas; and (b) to encourage the development of local literature in various genres in English.
Bessie Head herself was generous with her time when students asked her for assistance and advice, and we believe that this generosity is best reflected in a vigorous effort to promote literature and reading in Botswana.