Ananda Devi, an award winning Mauritan writer who now lives in France, recently ran a virtual workshop for our English language and literature students. She led a discussion based on a section from her novel Eve Out of Her Ruins, which explores the contrast between the idealised view of Mauritius held by Western tourists and the struggles faced by ordinary people living there.
Ananda provided illuminating insights into the writer’s craft, such as the depiction of settings and the construction of narrative voices, as well giving any aspiring authors attending the workshop useful tips on how to build a writing career. The final part of the session allowed the students to put into practice the skills they had learned by writing their own description of a place that was important to them.
Michael Connibeer, a first year student who enjoys writing in his spare time, commented that, “Receiving compliments and advice from a professional writer has inspired me to work harder.”
Another student who attended the workshop commented that it had inspired them to, “…read something by an author with a vastly different life experience to me. The workshop reminded me just how little I know about the cultures and experiences of young people growing up in other parts of the world.”
The workshop was organised by ‘Shadow Heroes’, an education initiative that runs activities exploring issues of representation, self-expression, colonial history and the power of language, with the aim of fostering curiosity and inter-cultural understanding. The event was generously supported by the ‘Institut Français’ and the independent publishing house ‘Les Fugitives’ who have just released Eve Out of Her Ruins in a Young Adult edition and audiobook.
Gabi Reigh, Curriculum Manager for English language and literature, said, “We are grateful to 'Shadow Heroes' and 'Les Fugitives' for creating this fantastic opportunity for our students. Due to the pandemic, this has been a very unusual year for them but the current situation has also given rise to virtual platform events that create connections between people from different parts of the world. Listening to Ananda speaking about her book to our students from her home in France was a unique and inspirational experience.”