Bessie Amelia Emery was born on July 6th, 1937 ...
In 2007 we gave her four great parties!

On Sunday 17 June 2007 at the Cape Town Book Fair, panellists and audience discussed "The Legacy of Bessie Head".

BessieFest then moved to Gaborone, Botswana, where an elaborate two-day party was hosted on 5-6 July 2007 at the University of Botswana.

On 12 July 2007 Pietermaritzburg held a day-long seminar in her honour and unveiled the new name of its main library: the Bessie Head Library.

Serowe, Botswana acclaimed her most famous daughter during a three-day bash, 14-15-16 July 2007. Writer Unity Dow offered a stirring opening address, followed by a great diversity of cultural activities.

A Trust is born too ...

At the beginning of June, 2007, the Bessie Head Heritage Trust was formally registered by the government of Botswana and began its work a few weeks later. In time, much of the work of preserving and promoting Bessie's legacy will be carried out by the new organisation.

... and Botswana memories published

In the same month, a collection of reminiscences and criticism from people living in Botswana was published. Writing Bessie Head from Botswana: An Anthology of Remembrance and Criticism was released by Pentagon Publishers of Gaborone, Botswana. Co-editors are Seatholo Tumedi and Mary Lederer. The book was launched on 12 June 2007 in Gaborone.

Literature Awards
Bessie's Writings
Bessie Head Papers
News & Calendar
BessieFest 2007
Invited Editorials
For You, Readers
BH Heritage Trust
Related Web Links
Site Map/Archives

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Also a new work of criticism...
The book is Living on a Horizon: Bessie Head and the Politics of Imagining, by Desiree Lewis of Cape Town, published this year by Africa World Press. Desiree had an opportunity to explain her theses — and sign copies of the book — at the Cape Town Book Fair.

... and a Catalogue of Bessie's papers
As described in our pages on the Head archive, in June 2007 The Khama Memorial Museum published the Catalogue of the Bessie Head Papers. This two-volume compilation is also available on CD-ROM.

Bessie Head Literature Awards need submissions
The writing prizes are on for a second year. Pentagon Publishers has raised the prize money for poetry, short story, and novel. See the
Call for Submissions and accompanying rules for the competition, and get writing!

Bessie Head: A Soul Divided
Employing dance, song, and performance, this short video looks at the struggles and challenges faced by the young Bessie. It is the product of a Cape Town-based nonprofit called Footprints. It has played to acclaim at film festivals around the world. Copies are also available from the Khama Museum in Serowe.

Bessie Head on display?
In August 2006 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. In April 2007 this work was completed with the installation of her typewriter and a facsimile bed.

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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2009 BHead Heritage Trust