BHead writing prizes
Heritage Site requested

Who saved Bessie's papers?
Bessie Head in video

Serowe Museum launches Bessie Head exhibition

In August the Khama III Memorial Museum in Serowe opened a permanent exhibition on the life of Bessie Head. One entire room in the main Muesum building is now dedicated to photos, memoribilia, and explanatory panels explaining her life and the objects on display. Read the Botswana Press Association story or see the faster version on our website.

Click here to see some of the exhibits, especially the photos. In a short while, when all installations have been completed, the first item of attention is likely to be Bessie's typewriter. Other items of interest include her Order of Ikhamanga award and translations of her books. For BessieFest next year, many more rediscovered photos will be on display.

Botswana memories to be published
The collection of reminiscences and criticism from people living in Botswana has found a publisher. Writing Bessie Head from Botswana: An Anthology of Remembrance and Criticism will be published by Pentagon Publishers of Gaborone, Botswana. According to co-editors Seatholo Tumedi and Mary Lederer, the book will be launched at one of the Bessie Head gatherings in Gaborone next year.

BessieFest 2007 !
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The BHead Papers
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Bessie Head writing prizes to begin
The writing prizes are on! The organisers have found a generous sponsor — Pentagon Publishers again — and have announced national annual prizes for poetry, short story, and novel. See the Call for Submissions and accompanying rules for the competition. The first annual prizes will be awarded at the Serowe BessieFest next July. The Serowe organizers have tentatively found funds for local (school) writing prizes as well. Get writing!

Heritage Site application made

The Bessie Head Heritage Organising Committee has filed an application to Botswana's Department of Culture, asking that Bessie Head's house in Serowe be proclaimed a National Heritage Site. Interested persons may find all the application documents here.

Bessie Head Trust soon to organise
Similar to the above story, documents will shortly be submitted for the registration of the Bessie Head Heritage Trust. As this can be a lengthy process, organisers want to be sure of a legal Trust in time for the BessieFest events..

Serowe Museum's first curator speaks
The founding curator of the Serowe Museum, Ms Maria Rytter of Denmark, has sent us her striking account of Bessie's death, the collection of the Papers from the house, the week-long wake, and the late-night digging of Bessie's grave. As this brings considerable new information to light, we hope to publish a special edition in time for BessieFest.
A short advance excerpt is posted here.

Bessie Head: A Soul Divided

Employing dance, song, and performance, this short video looks at the struggles and challenges faced by an astounding writer. It is the product of a Cape Town-based nonprofit called Footprints (see It has played to acclaim at film festivals around the world. Contact or call +27-21-685-1257.

Tsunami of correspondence
Professor Linda-Susan Beard, teacher of English at Bryn Mawr College in the USA, has for several years studied the Bessie Head correspondence. Having just recovered from a terrible car accident in 2005, she still hopes to a publish a volume of the letters in time for next year's celebrations.

Media promote BessieFest 2007
Newspapers are interested in the celebrations of Bessie Head's life. Botswana journalist Lorato Galeage has written about
Bessie's house and the Museum exhibit (see above). Sandile Ngidi of South Africa's Financial Mail wrote a birthday story about her on July 7, "A Writer Ahead of Her Time." And Margie Orford in Cape Town recently published "In search of the spirit of Bessie Head" in the Sunday Times.

Conferences? Meetings?
If you are organising, or if you know about, any Bessie Head-related event or literary work, please send an announcement to []. As the Hopkins poem says, "For this we came!"

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2006 Bessie Head Heritage