English Literature: Emagazine Conference 2019Posted on: November 8th - 2019
On Tuesday 5th November Year 12 English Literature students travelled to Euston for the annual English Literature conference. The day ran from 10:30-15:30 and was packed with various talks, lectures and interactive pieces. The day started with Ruth Padel discussing the use of form in poetry and how it links to real life. Students were introduced to Padel’s experience of working with refugees in Palestine and how the Brazilian dance of Capoeira is used with children as a form of therapy. What was striking is how she linked this experience to the ways in which she writes poetry and how witnessing the dance determined how her poem would look on the page. Students then listened to Andrew Michael Hurley discuss his latest novel The Lonely and how the novel uses setting as a literary device. Hurley presented students with extracts from other novels, such as The Great Gatsby, Wuthering Heights and 1984. These extracts and the ways they use setting provided students with lots of inspiration for their coursework unit starting in the summer term. After the break students took part in an interactive piece by Conor Short where he explored the use of comedy in Shakespeare’s plays. Interestingly, he discussed the fine line between Comedy and Tragedy which linked well to students’ current study of Hamlet. We were lucky that our very own Christabelle A volunteered to get up on stage and improvise a piece from Hamlet! It was great to hear about Shakespeare’s use of verse in his plays and how this was used as a pragmatic device as well as being entertaining. It was pleasing to see students taking lots of notes, ready to use in the classroom. After lunch students heard from Raymond Antrobus and Theresa Lola. They spoke about their current work and how they were inspired to get into writing poetry. It was refreshing to hear from young poets about what they enjoyed about writing poetry and their experiences of studying poetry at school.
Natalie Haynes was the perfect finish to this conference with a bit of stand up combined with an invigorating look at Homer’s The Iliad. She managed to tell the story in 26 minutes with superb examples of how the classic text links with the modern day. Students really enjoyed this fast-pace, humorous summary. I know that this was an exciting day where students could relate to the texts they are studying in class but, most importantly, step away from individual texts and explore literature in a broader sense. This conference has no doubt inspired students to think about their coursework in the summer where they will be invited to select two texts for comparison. Students behaved impeccably and they represented the school so positively; they were an absolute pleasure to take.
Ms J Walker - Acting Head of English