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I have to admit, I was secretly pleased when I was dubbed a "literary babe." It all goes back to pretty-boy Alex at school, who informed me that "all women writers are ugly"

By Alison MacLeod   October 2007

In 1978, aged 13, I had two priorities: writing stories, usually of a tragic bent, and avoiding PE. I had also acquired a secret and stubborn worry. In my school library one day, Alex Simmons, a tall, slim boy with perfect black hair and pretty features, leaned over my English textbook and asked me, not unkindly, why I wanted to be a writer. Didn’t I know women writers were always ugly?

Perhaps it is important to pause here and flash-forward to the night later that year when Alex and bendy Beverly Robertson would win the local heat of the Disco…

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