Spotlight on...English
Posted on 11 December 2018

Next in our ‘Spotlight On’ series is English.  The College offers A level English language, English literature and English language and literature combined, all of which are considered excellent preparation for a wide range of degrees and a vast number of career opportunities.  Keep reading to find out about all the fantastic activities going on in the department.

A former student recently visited the College to help our English students create ‘zines’ as part of their studies on feminism for the novel, ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’.

Soofiya Andry studied English language and literature at the College before embarking on a career as a visual artist and design educator.  She also recently contributed an essay for the book ‘Can We All Be Feminists?’ by June Eric-Udorie.  Soofiya returned to the College to help the students make illustrated zines - a ‘zine’, short for ‘magazine’ or ‘fanzine’, is a small-circulation self-published work of original texts and images, which are popularly photocopied into physical prints for circulation.

After the workshop, Soofiya posted on her Instagram: “It was really interesting working with the students and a joy to be invited back.  English was one of my favourite lessons!”

Learn more about Soofiya’s work on her website

Last term, five students entered The Stephen Spender Prize 2018 for poetry in translation, organised in association with The Guardian.  The Stephen Spender Trust was established in 1997 to honour Stephen Spender’s poetry and translations and champions the rights of creative artists and writers to free expression.  Founding members include Valerie Eliot, Seamus Heaney, Ted Hughes and Harold Pinter.

Students Russ, Rachel, Rebecca, Robyn and Derya, translated poems from a number of languages including Japanese, French, Turkish and German.  One of the judges, Margaret Jull Costa, commended Russ’s “delicate translation of Ishikawa Takuboku’s tanka poem Shimmering Ice, especially the lovely word ‘dotterels’.”

Rebecca said that the competition helped to develop her German language and translation skills as she needed to understand the text and its message.  “Whilst translating it, I had to ensure that the original feeling and meaning was conserved and so this acted as an invaluable experience for future translation tasks.  It was also very interesting to explore and experience first-hand how the German language has evolved and developed over many years.”

Finally, at the end of November, a group of English students attended an interactive Taster Day run by the Comparative Literature department at Royal Holloway, University of London.  The day gave them an invaluable insight into university life as well as providing them with some handy exam tips.

Students explored world literature in practical sessions on close reading and comparative analysis as they were introduced to a variety of texts from different historical periods, ranging from the early twentieth century poetry of the German Rainer Maria Rilke to the contemporary Japanese fiction of Haruki Murakami.  They were also given the opportunity to explore the campus with existing students and ask questions about the university application process during a Q&A session.

If you would like to find out more about the English languageliterature and combined courses we offer at the College, please click the relevant links.