Playwright, Poet, Pioneer

I have chosen to represent Aphra Behn as she would have looked just before she left Canterbury, in her early 20’s as that is how Canterbury would have remembered her. She is already showing her confidence, humor, and wit. There are clues of her life attached around her figure so that people can learn all about her and, I hope, want to know much more.

Her one shoulder is raised and exposed as she glances behind her with a slight smile. Held behind her back is a theatre mask, to portray the many plays she wrote and had performed. Hidden up her sleeve is a small rolled-up parchment to represent a secret message and her work as a spy for the king. Hanging from her belt is a quill pen and bottle of ink. Aphra would find a corner and write for hours so always had the means to write about her person. Also hanging from her belt is an embroidered purse with a quote to her female lover. In her hand, she holds her book ‘Oroonoko’ written when she was in Surinam as this was an important book used in the abolition of slavery. Against the back of her skirts, a notice from the future leans as if blown there – this is the quote made 1n 1929 by Virginia Woolfe about Aphra Behn.

For more information about Aphra Behn and the project, visit the A is for Aphra website.

Similar Posts