Season XVIII – Alphaday 13

Hi Alphas,

Welcome to Alphaday 13, Season XVIII. The annual break is drawing near, and we will finish off the season with a celebration of everything we’ve achieved during our companionable labours over the last many months. Our main achievement, I think, is the enthusiastic interaction between Alphas which has inspired us and motivated us to keep writing while exploring every aspect of what it means to be a writer. There are about as many different takes on writing as there are Alphas, and that is our cornucopia where we can dip in and enjoy the treasures on offer.

Today’s agenda has an obvious winding down flavour with only three items. They aren’t to be sneezed at, however, and I expect they’ll provide you with plenty of food for thought.

Alphaday 13 agenda:

  • This bulletin from me
  • The results and feedback from the Open Page 3rd edition from Ros
  • The Alpha Season XVIII survey from Christine

The Alpha survey is an annual event which every Alpha member has to complete. It’ll allow me to plan for the next season and it’ll allow you to evaluate our activities and make useful suggestions for improvements.

General news. I thought I’d mention something that’s happened here in France for a change. I try to avoid being parochial, but just this once won’t hurt. Here’s the big event: France has appointed a woman Prime Minister, Elisabeth Borne. She’s the second French woman prime minister ever, but Edith Cresson in 1991-92 didn’t even last a full year. Let’s see how long Elisabeth Borne lasts.

In her inauguration speech she dedicated her election to “all the little girls” – to show them that they can realise their dreams. That, in my view, is a sad indictment of the patriarchal state of affairs in France. With no sexist implications it would be like Boris Johnson in his inauguration speech saying that he was showing all the little boys that they could succeed … provided they pass through Eton and Oxbridge, of course.

Somehow I think both Thatcher and Merkel disregarded the sexist angle because they believed in themselves – and that’s probably the trick. Michele Obama has made similar comments, but adding the colour barrier to that of being a woman.

I admire Bernardine Evaristo for her dedication to all those who’re faced with discrimination barriers – as is evident from her Booker Prize novel titled ‘Girl, Woman, Other’. She’s a very active and hard working campaigner for equality. She’s also an academic with a brilliant record to her credit.

The success story of Tracey Emin is quite a different one – and yet. Talk about airing your dirty laundry in public! She did that. She turned herself inside out and depicted the most painful and unpleasant parts in paintings, sculptures, installations, poems and an autobiographical novel. She’s also a CBE, and in December 2011 she was appointed Professor of Drawing at the Royal Academy. This made her one of the first two female professors since the Academy was founded in 1768. Tracey Emin’s career is in stark contrast to that of Elisabeth Borne when it comes to showing all the little girls that they can realise their dreams. It’s a shame on society that the little girls actually need to be told that.


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