Ocean Vuong’s On Earth We’re Briefly Gorgeous (2019)
Find out more about this award-winning book from the acclaimed poet Ocean Vuong and listen to a sample here.
Over the Summer months we’ll be posting updates and links to materials both here on our blog and via Twitter (#YSJBigSummerRead2021).
Copies of the book are available in our campus library and regional libraries, and an audiobook is also available via Overdrive and other audiobook suppliers.
Reading together brings us together. We’d love for you to join in – whether you are a past, present, or prospective student, a member of staff, or part of our extended community – read the book and share your reflections using the hashtag above.
More to follow…in the meantime, here is an interview with the author on the key themes and ideas in the novel. Enjoy!
In the latest in our Comfort Reads series, second year student Megan Sales reflects on a childhood favourite…
Re-reading one of my favourite childhood books wasn’t something I considered until my younger sister recently returned my copy of Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877). It sparked memories of the me being so excited when I opened the book one Christmas Day that I raced upstairs to read it, unable to wait. When my sister returned the book, I opened it smiling, reminiscing, and re-read the whole book by the next day. Continue reading “Comfort Read: Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty (1877) by Megan Sales”
Our Big Summer Read team have shortlisted the nominations for this year! Thank you to all of you who nominated books. All of the suggestions were fantastic and we hope the shortlist reflects a wide variety of styles, forms, and experiences. The shortlist is:
This Friday evening (28th May 2021), York St John Students’ Union will be hosting the annual Student Union Awards Ceremony online! Not only was the English Literature programme nominated for Course of the Year but individual colleagues were also nominated for awards recognising their invaluable teaching and support.
Every year the English Literature programme hosts the #YSJBigSummerRead, in which prospective students, current students, and our alumni – are invited to join staff across the University in all reading the same book over the summer.
In a recent lecture and seminar for our module Revolution and Response, we discussed Mary Wollstonecraft’s text The Rights of Woman (1792). Two important points were raised to do with the context of this work; the first is that the concept of gender, as we understand it today, did not exist when Wollstonecraft was writing and the second being that feminism did not exist as a term then either. Wollstonecraft is considered by many to be the mother of feminism and even though the term did not exist during her time, her views on gender equality were pioneering. She discussed how women are satirised by male writers for being ignorant while these same men denied women access to education. Furthermore, she discusses how women are objectified and are led to believe that their only worth lies in their beauty and ability to please men.
We have recently marked one year since the UK went into a national lockdown. I keep thinking about how quickly it all changed. In Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale, Time is a character, who struts upon the stage to say: “I, that please some, try all, both joy and terror Of good and bad, that makes and unfolds error, Now take upon me, in the name of Time, To use my wings. Impute it not a crime To me or my swift passage” (The Winter’s Tale 4:1). These lines stuck with me when I read the play for the module I’m taking on Shakespeare. It altered my perspective. I realised that I have it all wrong: a year passing is not a bad thing at all. Of course, I could get political and complain about how we should not be in our third national lockdown, or that I was just getting settled in at university before it was all taken away. We can be pessimistic about ‘losing a year’ of our lives, but I like Shakespeare’s personification of Time. There is nothing that resonates more than “please some, try all, both joy and terror of good and bad…” when we all consider the last 365 days. Yet, Time begs us to “impute it not a crime” that time is passing. I understood this as acceptance. Time will use its wings to fly by us, and by accepting that the passage of time is life – whether it be good or bad, joy or terror. I choose to take the perspective that Time is inevitable and will “try [us] all” and that’s okay. We can’t neglect the year we have had, choose to ignore it, or tell people we have ‘lost’ a year. We lived through it all, and hopefully, we are better people for it, and strong enough to face whatever errors Time will throw at us next.
Annie Denton is a second year student at York St John University taking our second year module Shakespeare: Perspectives.
You are warmly invited to come along and hear staff present short papers on their current research and chat about research during the time of lockdowns, remote working and endless zooming.
You will hear members of the team talk about magical women of Arthurian romance, representations of the architect in twentieth-century novels, Virginia Woolf’s representation of early eighteenth-century essayist Joseph Addison in her 1928 novel Orlando, the legacy of Andrea Levy, the challenges in guest editing a special edition journal, renovating My Beautiful Laundrette for the 21st Century, honesty in the work of C.H. Sisson, speculative genealogies, and the social value of writing about independent music space. All in one evening!
This range of subjects reflects the breadth of research within our fantastic programme. Our staff look forward to giving you a snapshot of their specialisms. We hope you’ll come along.
There’s still time to catch some brilliant LGBT+ History Month activities in the area before the end of February!Emily Balmer, our YSJSU LGBTQ+ Liberation Officer, has been sharing stories, advice and resources all month. Find all of her LGBT+ History Month posts on Facebook.
And check out this brilliant graphic which tracks Google searches for popular LGBT+ figures. It was made by Pierre-Philippe – one of our Senior Lecturers in Mathematical Sciences and LGBT+ Staff Network steering group member.
Matthew Todd: LGBTQ+ Mental Health
YUSU LGBTQ+ and Matthew Todd
Friday 26 February, 6:00pm
Multi-award winning author Matthew Todd will join YUSU LGBTQ+ to give a talk on mental health within the LGBTQ+ community, followed by a Q&A session. Full details on the YUSU website.
Please see below a message from the All About Respect team about activities taking place this week.
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week 1st – 5th February
Sexual Abuse and Sexual Violence Awareness Week aims to highlight sexual violence and abuse in society. In 2021 we’re taking our campaign completely online, and having our conversations about sexual violence online to raise awareness that in terms of sexual violence #itsnotok. Continue reading “All About Respect”