“Returning” by Andrea Woodward

A white woman with long blond hair smiles at the camera
(c) Andrea Woodward

Andrea Woodward is a York St John English Literature PhD candidate. Andrea, who started her HE journey at 30, could have taken a very different path in life. Here she reflects on her experiences as a returning student, recalling the day as an undergraduate when she thought she would give it all up – and why she didn’t!

I first came to York St John as an undergraduate student in English Literature in 2006. I was 30 years old.

As a mature student who’d spent 15 years out of full-time education, I quickly felt overwhelmed and more than a bit out of place. Those classmates who’d arrived fresh out of college seemed to radiate knowledge in seminars, knowledge that my first essay results suggested to me I didn’t have. After several weeks into the first semester, I felt it would be for the best if I withdrew from the course, believing that I’d never succeed. Continue reading ““Returning” by Andrea Woodward”

New Event: research seminar on Speculative Worldbuilding & Hope

Please join us in person for a special lunchtime research seminar at 1pm on 8 June 2022 in QS/111.

 

Futuristic Worldbuilding: Speculation and Hope in Contemporary Turkey

Assoc Prof Dr Emrah Atasoy, Visiting Postdoctoral Researcher at University of Oxford.

This talk will introduce scholarship on speculative fiction in Turkey and give a contextual survey of the tradition of entangled futurities and speculative worldbuilding in contemporary Turkey. Discussion of the selected primary text will reveal the portrayal of hope, environmental breakdown, and speculation in the Anthropocene.

This interdisciplinary event will be of interest across the humanities and social sciences, including sociology, history, geography, and politics/IR.

Hope to see you all there!

Making Time to Take Time For Yourself by Lily Baldanza

Lily Baldanza is a final year undergraduate student who was writing on Daphne Du Maurier’s Revolutionary Women for her dissertation (now submitted). She took a break from her research to tell us about the importance of taking time to focus on wellbeing. These are self-care tips. If you feel that you need wellbeing or mental health support, please contact our lovely Wellbeing team here

Pink water lilies and green lily pads on a po

Lily Days.

With my dissertation date in very short sight and my last two undergraduate assessments in a month’s time, it is more important than ever to give myself time off. Time off from my laptop, time off from my set texts and time off from the stress and worry of being a university student. However, with deadlines approaching and having commitments to part time work, finding the time can seem daunting. It’s why one day every week I give myself a ‘me’ day: a ‘lily’ day. I get ready to have a day doing whatever I want to do, and whatever my body needs. This is a day where I take pleasure in doing things that I enjoy. Continue reading “Making Time to Take Time For Yourself by Lily Baldanza”

Reading and Re-Reading Jane Eyre, by third-year literature student Megan Sales

I bought my copy of Jane Eyre nearly twelve years ago. I distinctly remember buying the book from a charity shop. The cover intrigued me, and the raised eyebrows of the cashier followed with the comment it “may not be appropriate” for my age made me eager to read it.

A Passionate Heroine

The one thing I will forever love about this novel is Jane’s passion, her refusal to bow down to values she disagrees with. Throughout my studies I have continuously returned to this novel, The first time I was exploring the Gothic in the Brontë’s work, The second time I was considering Jane Eyre and Wide Sargasso Sea and their relationship to the literary canon. Continue reading “Reading and Re-Reading Jane Eyre, by third-year literature student Megan Sales”

YSJU Literature Research Showcase: What Are Our Tutors Up To in 2022? By Michaela Bosman

 

People talkingIn mid-March, YSJU’s Literature department holds its annual research showcase, in celebration of the scholars’ love of learning, reading, discovery, analysis and collaboration. While it might be disconcerting to share research when the world is literally on fire and families cross borders in desperation and in hope, Dr Anne-Marie Evans points us to the important work of literature to help us understand the world. And we can only improve the world if we understand it. Literature’s illumination of the state of society and the environment is one of the myriad ways that art is lifesaving. Let’s have a look at the understandings YSJU’s literary scholars are forging.    Continue reading “YSJU Literature Research Showcase: What Are Our Tutors Up To in 2022? By Michaela Bosman”

YSJ Lit Interview: Words Matter Prize Winner Katie Godfrey

Adam Kirkbride interviews Katie Godfrey the 2021 York St John Literature Words Matter Prize Winner. The Words Matter prize is given annually to the first year student with the highest marks across all modules. The prize represents our programme motto Words Matter, as a way of centring our philosophy that books and literature play a hugely important role in the world we all live in.

Book about studying literature at university on a table with a cup of teaKatie, what does this award mean to you?

As somebody who entered university after a large gap in education, and with very little confidence, this award has made the world of difference to me in terms of boosting my self-confidence and self-belief and reassuring me that my efforts are not wasted! 

 

What was it like completing your first year of study during the Pandemic? 

While this is probably not the anticipated response, I actually feel that the remote study during the pandemic enabled me to be more productive. I had already been working from home due to lockdown restrictions, so it was a pretty smooth transition for me. I also commute to university, so having the lectures and seminars online enabled me to save over three hours per day of travel, freeing up my time for reading and studying. Continue reading “YSJ Lit Interview: Words Matter Prize Winner Katie Godfrey”

International Women’s Day 2022

 

#BreakTheBias

Happy International Women’s Day! 

This year’s campaign theme is #BreakTheBias – find out more at the IWD website

 

To mark IWD, Dr Anne-Marie Evans is hosting an online event on Thursday 10th March with acclaimed playwright Ade Solanke. Ade will be talking about her play Phillis in London. The play explores the life of Phillis Wheatley – an enslaved woman – who was famously the first African-American woman to publish a book of poetry, and only the second American woman to do so. Find out more and book a ticket here.

You can also celebrate IWD2022 by calling into the Fountains Learning Centre to see their YSJ Women display, which  explores resources from our archives that provide a glimpse into the changing lives of female students over the years. 

Level 5 Research Refresher Event with Dr Adam J Smith and Katherine Hughes

 
Online Event, 2.30-3.30 Monday 7 March
Image of chairs, desks and shelves in a libraryThe Academic Library Liaison for Literature, Katherine Hughes, and Level 5 Coordinator for Literature, Adam J Smith, will be co-delivering a one hour ‘research refresher’ session 2.30-3.30 on Monday 7 March. They will recap everything you need to know to effectively conduct research for Literature assignments including the dissertation. 

Continue reading “Level 5 Research Refresher Event with Dr Adam J Smith and Katherine Hughes”

English Literature Research Showcase Returns

The English Literature Programme are hosting their annual Research Showcase on Monday 14th March at 5.30pm.
 
Join the English Literature team for the first on-campus Research Showcase in two years! Staff will give short presentations on their latest research and talk about the projects they’re working on at the moment, from Hamlet to eighteenth-century print, and from music venues to architects in prose fiction to Brontë contagions, 
 
There are pre-event drinks if you’re attending in person, or you can attend online: just indicate your preference when you book.
 
Find out more and book your ticket here.
 
We look forward to seeing you!

Setting Goals and Writing: Workshop Opportunities

Study Development are running two workshop strands this semester. 

If you’d like some guidance on reflective writing, head to CD/006 on Thursday 10th March, 5-6.30 pm. There is also an online session on Thursday 31st March, 5-6.30 pm.

For help setting your goals, there are online sessions every Monday from 28th February to 28th March from 9.30-10 am. Goal setting and writing retreats are on Monday lunchtimes (times and rooms at the link below). For some structured writing time, you can join online every Friday lunchtime.

For more detail, click here.

“Take the Time to Smell the Roses”: Megan Sales discusses Mindfulness in this Busy World

Final year English Literature student Megan Sales shares her thoughts with us about managing stress.

A group of students sit at a table and discuss a problem
(c) York St John University

As a literature student, with an obvious love of books, it may seem odd when I tell you that I have never considered reading a ‘self-help’ book. I’ve spent my years with my head stuck in 18th and 19th century books, finding amusement in the way humans work – How much do we change? However, after an intriguing conversation with my Auntie, I found myself reading a psychology book and from there I have moved onto my current read Stress, the Psychology of Managing Pressure by Diane McIntosh. The book itself so far has been an interesting read. I personally love to find out how the mind works but even more than a basic interest, I have found this book genuinely helpful. Here is what I’ve learnt. Continue reading ““Take the Time to Smell the Roses”: Megan Sales discusses Mindfulness in this Busy World”

Careers in Literature 2022

Please see below for a brilliant opportunity to find out more about careers opportunities for students from the Royal Society of Literature!


 

Images of contributors to Careers in Literature 2022

FREE for all. Feb 1 2022.

Our annual event, chaired by RSL Fellow Edmund Gordon, explores the varied working lives of those in the literature sector, and how to get started in your own career in words. During this 90-minute Zoom webinar, each panellist will speak about their own work, followed by an opportunity for you to ask questions to people who have been there and done it.

This year, we will hear from: a renowned literary agent; a Literature Officer at Creative Scotland; a T.S. Eliot Prize-winning poet and Professor of Creative Writing; and the Programme Manager from Manchester Poetry Library. We hope their journeys will inspire you as you embark on your own career in literature.

Book Online 

Martin Kratz is Programme Manager at Manchester Poetry Library at Manchester Metropolitan University. His work includes developing their collection through events programming and he is particularly passionate about their collection of poetry in Manchester’s community languages and poetry in recording. After completing his MA Creative Writing and PhD at Manchester Metropolitan, Martin worked on Manchester’s successful bid to become a UNESCO City of Literature. He was co-editor of Penned in the Margin’s Mount London and the author of a poetry pamphlet, A Skeleton’s Progress. His translations of the poetry of Nelly Sachs and Jusuf Naoum appeared in The Heart of a Stranger: An Anthology of Exile Literature.

Sinéad Morrissey FRSL is the author of six poetry collections and was appointed Belfast’s inaugural Poet Laureate. Her accolades include first prize in the UK National Poetry Competition, a Lannan Literary Fellowship and the E M Forster Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Her collections Through the Square Window and Parallax received the Irish Times Poetry Prize. Sinéad won the T.S. Eliot Prize in 2013 and The Forward Prize for Best Collection in 2017. In 2020, she received the European Poet of Freedom Award for her collection On Balance, translated into Polish by Magdalena Heydel. She is currently Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University.

Emma Paterson joined literary agency Aitken Alexander Associates in 2018 after eight years at Rogers, Coleridge & White and The Wylie Agency. Emma became a member of the Booker Prize Foundation Advisory Committee and was made a Director of Aitken Alexander in 2020. She was recently included in British Vogue’s list of 25 influential women shaping 2021 and beyond.

Katalina Watt’s work was longlisted for Penguin Write Now 2020 and has been published in Haunted Voices, Unspeakable, and Extra Teeth among others. In 2021 she received a Writers Grant from Ladies of Horror Fiction and has appeared at festivals and literary events including Edinburgh International Book Festival, Cymera, and FIYAHCON. Katalina is Literature Officer at Creative Scotland and Audio Director for khōréō, a speculative fiction magazine for immigrant and diaspora authors.

Edmund Gordon is the author of The Invention of Angela Carter, which won a Somerset Maugham Award, the Slightly Foxed Best First Biography Prize and an RSL Jerwood Award for Non-Fiction, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics’ Circle Award. His essays and reviews have appeared in a wide variety of publications, including the Financial Times, the Guardian, Independent and New Statesman. He teaches literature and creative writing at King’s College London and is a regular contributor to The Sunday Times, TLS and the London Review of Books.

Founded in 1820, the RSL acts as a voice for the value of literature, honouring and supporting emerging and established writers whilst creating a bridge between authors and audiences to engage as many people as possible with the breadth of UK literature.

In partnership with

 

The 2021 Words Matter Lecture reviewed by Adam Kirkbride: Dr Saffron Vickers Walkling on Hamlet.

Adam Kirkbride, postgraduate student on our MA in Contemporary Literature, reflects on our annual departmental Words Matter Lecture. There is a link to the lecture recording at the bottom of this post.

Since coming to York St John, the Words Matter lecture has been something that I look forward to every year without fail. For those who may not be aware, the Words Matter lecture is a staple of the autumn term, an evening of wine, literature, and inspiration where we watch one of the English Literature team deliver a lecture on their current area of research.

People holidaying in Tiananmen Square
Beijing 1993 (c) Saffron Vickers Walkling

This year’s Words Matter lecture was delivered by Dr Saffron Vickers Walkling on the topic of “Hamlet and the Legacy of 1989”. I must confess that before this lecture I was something of a Hamlet-phobe (as Dr Vickers Walkling pointed out, “Hamlet talks about revenging his father for nearly four hours”). Nevertheless, through the magic of the Words Matter lecture, I emerged from the lecture theatre with a newfound appreciation for Shakespeare’s moodiest protagonist.

Dr Vickers Walkling’s interest in political adaptations of Hamlet began in Japan in 1995, when they watched a modern dress, Mandarin Chinese appropriation of Hamlet. This appropriation, first performed five years prior in a period of major political events and economic change, was the beginning of a fascination with politically charged, iconoclastic adaptations of Shakespeare’s most famous play. Across the course of the lecture, Dr Vickers Walkling discussed three adaptations of Hamlet, Lin Zhaohua’s Mandarin Chinese appropriation (1990/1995), Jan Klata’s “H.” (2004/2006), and Sulayman Al Bassam’s “The Al-Hamlet Summit” (2002/2004). Continue reading “The 2021 Words Matter Lecture reviewed by Adam Kirkbride: Dr Saffron Vickers Walkling on Hamlet.”

Peer Career Coaches

If you’re thinking about next steps, careers, or placements, this should be of interest! More information and contact details below.

ON BEHALF OF THE YSJU CAREER COACHES:

  • Have you thought of your next placement?
  • Have you considered a part-time job?
  • Are you stuck on where to go after graduation?
  • Do you want to explore the opportunities while being at university?

If any of the above questions applies to you, then come and see us.

Who are we?

We are Peer Career Coaches. We are students from a variety of courses and levels (Undergrad and PhD) at YSJ who work with the careers team offering friendly 15-minute chats about all things’ careers. As students, we understand the pressure and how overwhelming students’ life can be.

How could we help?

We could offer support around a variation of topics including:

o Placements

o Part-time jobs

o Graduate jobs

o Changing courses

o Job interviews, etc

Where are we?

You can find us in LaunchPad (the big glass extension) at Holgate.

When can you find us?

We are available for walk-ins and/or pre-booked appointments on Wednesdays between 12:30-14:30.

To pre-book, please the link below: https://yorksj.jobteaser.com/en/users/sign_in?back_to_after_login=/ 

To find more about us, please find the PDF attachment (Who are the Peer Career Coaches)

Best wishes,

Lauren (On behalf of the Peer Career Coaches- Rida, Steph, Claire, Sophie, Katerina & Jazmin)

 

Staged readings of Maryland at 6.30, 8.30 on Friday 26 November

RL-Maryland-eFlyer

Maryland written in white on a black background

Please see the attached e-Flyer for Lucy Kirkwood’s new 30-minute play, Maryland, written in the wake of the murders of Sabina Nessa and Sarah Everard. There will be script-in-hand performances at 6:30pm and 8:30pm on Friday 26th November at the Friargate Theatre in York, which is co-produced by Professor Gweno Williams. Gweno taught English Literature for many years at York St John University and put on several productions, including a Mystery Play, with our students. For more information about the play, including how to book, please refer to the eFlyer.

The York production is featured in The Guardian here:  Rage, Fury and Noise.