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Head, Bessie: Title Commentary

BESSIE HEAD: TITLE COMMENTARY

The Collector of Treasures

The Collector of Treasures

DOROTHY DRIVER (ESSAY DATE 1993)

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FROM THE AUTHOR

HEAD ON GENDER AND WRITING

Writing is not a male/female occupation. My femaleness was never a problem to me, not now, not in our age. More than a century ago, a few pioneer women writers, writing fearfully under male pseudonyms, established that women writers were brilliant thinkers too, on a par with men. I do not have to be a feminist. The world of the intellect is impersonal, sexless. The young struggle with questions of literacy, nationalism in Africa. It is constructive to outline to the young the road one has travelled, the themes one has worked on in one's private workshop and the way in which life conspired to make one a writer. I have worked outside all political and other ideologies, bowing to life here and there and absorbing all that I felt to be relevant, but always fighting for space and air. I needed this freedom and independence, in order that I retain a clarity of thought, in order that my sympathies remain fluent and responsive to any given situation in life.

Head, Bessie. Excerpt from "Writing Out of Southern Africa." In A Woman Alone: Autobiographical Writings, p. 95. Nairobi, Kenya: Heinemann, 1990.

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