The Human Experience of War: Online lecture on 1st December

Literature staff and students are invited to hear a special online lecture by Dr Carla Barqueiro, who is based at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Dr Barquerio will be talking about the human experience of war. The lecture will be held on Wednesday 1 December at 5pm. It is free and open to all. To register, please go to: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/human-experiences-of-war-tickets-209213572427?aff=Internal

Black History Month 2021 Event!

https://cdn.evbuc.com/images/146918139/14297485693/1/original.20210907-091915 (800×400)

Join us for a fascinating discussion on feminism, systemic racism, and identity with Sophie Williams, acclaimed author of Anti Racist Ally and Millennial Black. Sophie will be in joining our Associate Professor in Literature Dr Janine Bradbury in conversation to explore how we can make space for racially marginalised people and how small conversations can spark big change.

To book your free place for this online event click here.

About Sophie Williams

Sophie Williams is a TED Speaker, leading anti-racism advocate and author of Anti Racist Ally and Millennial Black.

She has written for publications such as The Guardian, Cosmopolitan and Elle as well as delivering sessions training for major organisations such as Apple, Sky, Cambridge University and UK Civil Service.

Prior to her writing career, she had a career in advertising, holding positions including Head of Production, Chief Operating Officer, and Chief Financial Officer. She is now a Manager at Netflix, leading Production Planning throughout EMEA.

Event: Words Matter Lecture 2021

man holding wind instrumentWe warmly invite you to join us for the Annual Words Matter English Literature lecture – it is free and open to students, staff, alumni, and members of the public!

Hamlet is, according to UNESCO, the most famous and most translated play in the world. This year, Dr Saffron Vickers Walkling introduces three contemporary global productions of Hamlet and explores how they appropriate Shakespeare’s play to speak to a seismic moment in history: 1989, the year that saw the ending of the Cold War. Lin Zhaohu’s Hamlet (1990/1995) from late communist China and Jan Klata’s H. (2004/2006) from post-communist Poland both hark back to the legacy of that moment of history, particularly its economic legacy. Additionally, Dr Vickers Walkling explores Sulayman Al Bassam’s The Al-Hamlet Summit (2002/2004) which is set in a non-specific country in the Arab world, over two decades later, as the West turned its gaze from the Cold War to the “War on Terror”. In true Hamlet style, each production holds “a mirror up” to their respective local tensions and ideological shifts in a rapidly changing world, and whilst viewed together combine to reflect the splintering and reconfiguring new world orders. Please do join us for what promises to be a fascinating discussion of Shakespeare’s most famous play.

To read more and book a place, click here

 

Hello and Welcome Back!

pink and yellow hello neon light

It is the start of a new semester here at York St John! If you’ve just joined us, welcome to our Words Matter Blog where you can read student writing and find out more about what is happening on the English Literature Programme. And if you are a returning student, welcome back! And if you are part of the broader YSJ community – a warm hello to you too.

We’re wishing you the happiest of starts to the academic year!

The Winner of the YSJ Big Summer Read 2021 is…

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!

The Shortlist! The YSJ Big Summer Read 2021

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:

 To cast your vote for the 2021 YSJ Big Summer Read click here.

To find out more about the YSJ Big Summer Read click here.

Voting closes at 23.45 on Friday 25th June 2020 and the winner will be announced here and on Twitter in early July.    

And to find out more about each of the shortlisted texts please read on….

Continue reading “The Shortlist! The YSJ Big Summer Read 2021”

Recognition for The English Literature Programme at the YSJU Awards 2021

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.

Our Associate Head, Dr Anne-Marie Evans has been nominated for the Best Feedback and Most Support Supportive Staff Member awards. Dr Fraser Mann was nominated for his Inspirational Teaching.  And Dr Janine Bradbury was also nominated for Best Feedback.

Congratulations and good luck to all who have been nominated this year!

For more information on the awards and to book a place to attend, visit:  https://ysjsu.com/events/1197-su-awards-2021

It’s that time of year! Nominate a book for this year’s YSJ Big Summer Read 2021!

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.

Previous Big Summer Read selections include:

Previous Big Summer Reads

  • Candice Carty-Williams’ Queenie (Big Summer Read 2020)
  • Colson Whitehead’s The Underground Railroad (Big Summer Read 2019)
  • Anna Burns’ Milkman (Big Summer Read 2018)
  • Colm Tóibín’s The Testament of Mary (Big Summer Read 2017)

Which book would you like to nominate this year? We welcome nominations of short story collections, novels, and poetry collections.

Nominations close at 11pm on Monday 31st May, the shortlist will be announced in early June, followed by your votes for the YSJ Big Summer Read 2021!

To nominate a text click here.

PROGRAMME EVENT! English Literature Research Showcase (13 May 2021)

Photo of books
Photo by Janko Ferlič on Unsplash

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.

To book a place click here.

LGBT History Month Events!

There’s still time to catch some brilliant LGBT+ History Month activities in the area before the end of February!church covered in flagsEmily 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.

Jane Speck is in conversation with members of the YSJ LGBTQ+ community. In her latest video, Jane chats to Director of International and LGBT+ staff network chair, Phill Gray. Listen to his take on spirituality and religion in relation to LGBTQ+ issues as he reflects on his own journey. Catch Jane’s other conversations with Helen Sauntson and Saffron Vickers Walkling here.

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.  

Outside Event:

 

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.

 

 

All About Respect

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”

LGBT+ History Month Events

York St John University proudly supports LGBT+ History Month in February; details of two forthcoming online events can be found below.
 
Jamie Windust sat cross legged with their hand on their head weating a bright red turtle neck jumper and patterned jacket. They wearing large red glasses with matching red lipstick. Jamie sits on a yellow chair with a plant in the background.

Jamie Windust in Conversation

6.00pm | Monday 15 February | Free 

Join author and model Jamie Windust and Dr Esther McIntosh, Associate Head of Religion, Politics and International Relations at York St John University, for a fun and frank evening of conversation about the key issues for the LGBT+ community in 2021.

Jamie will discuss their debut book, ‘In Their Shoes: Navigating Non-Binary Life’, and share their thoughts on topics ranging from the need for kindness in the LGBT+ community to the impact of Pride cancellations in 2020.

To book a ticket,  click here.

Beyond the Binary: Scientific Thinking about Sex 1900-1950

5.00pm | Tuesday 16 February | Free

On the left there is a pink female outline on the right there is a blue male outline. Between the two are a gradient of transformations between the two genders ranging from pink to blue. The image is sat against a navy background.

In the last decade, a growing number of young people identify as non-binary. Some governments are now considering recognition of a neutral gender in official documents. However trans and non binary people are still being stigmatised by the media. In these instances science is invoked to help us defend or challenge our understandings of gender and sex to enable systemic change. In this talk Dr Chiara Beccalossi (University of Lincoln) discusses how science increasingly sees gender and sex as a spectrum. 

To book a ticket, click here.

Festive ‘Watch-along’ of The Muppet Christmas Carol! 11th December 2020

 
The English Literature and  Creative Writing programmes are hosting a Festive ‘Watch-along’ of The Muppet Christmas Carol!  Next Friday afternoon, the 11th of December, Dr Rob Edgar and staff will host a viewing of this celebrated musical fantasy comedy of Charles Dicken’s Christmas story through Teams! We invite you to attend to view it alongside other students on the two programmes and to post observations in the chat.  AND – at the end of the viewing, Rob and team members will announce the quiz questions, which will be aimed at those of you who have watched the film the most carefully There will be prizes!  
 
Additionally, the office is organising a gift voucher for £5.00 worth of popcorn/movie viewing from a local York cinema for all who sign up and attend. We wanted to give you popcorn in person, but this is the best way we can think to do this; if you get your own popcorn for the watch-along, you can get some local cinema popcorn the next time you are there.  Please sign up on this Event Brite link to let us know you can be there, and we’ll send you a Teams link. 
 
We wanted to find a way to celebrate getting to the end of what has been a challenging semester, and to say a giant ‘Well Done’ for getting through! We hope to see you there!
 

The Show Must Go ONLINE: An Interview with Rob Myles on Modern Day Theatre’s Perseverance Through a Global Pandemic, by Emma Brimelow

We went into the first lockdown the week that our Shakespeare: Perspectives students were due to go on their trip to see The Taming of the Shrew, and, as happened in Shakespeare’s times, the theatres closed, and many people found their livelihoods in jeopardy. Emma Brimelow reflects on the resilience of the theatre community during this pandemic, interviewing Robert Myles, who set the standard for Zoom Shakespeare with his The Show Must Go Online project. As her blog post reveals, innovation and creativity did not come to an end, and she got to review a unique production after all.

Emma Brimelow 

What a lot of people hoped would be ‘the best year of their lives’ has slowly turned into one for the books, and sadly not in the way we had hoped. Covid-19 arrived in late January for the UK, and no later than two months after this around a third of the world has been put into some form of lockdown, Great Britain being no exception. On the 23rd of March, Boris Johnson announced everyone who isn’t an essential worker must stay inside and isolate, and many businesses are currently suffering due to forced closure, the theatre being one of them. In the past I’ve enjoyed watching numerous productions, my last being Dick Whittington and His Cat at Romiley Forum, and so I found myself missing the theatre experience. Luckily, Robert Myles has a solution for those of us who are missing out!

Created in less than a week in response to covid-19, ‘The Show Must Go Online’ was thefirst platform to produce Shakespeare for an online audience using online actors. Created on zoom and streamed on YouTube, TSMGO has been named “the most prolific creator of online theatre” by various academics (Medium, 2020), and after watching their production of The Taming of The Shrew it’s clear to see why. The shows stay true to theZoom shakespeare nature of theatre, including adding intervals, pre- and post-show discussions and adding virtual applause to the Zoom productions on YouTube. The quick response to the pandemic amazed me, with the first show airing the first week of the official lockdown, however I was lucky enough to get in contact with Rob Myles, who shared an exclusive insight into the process of creating TSMGO so fast.

Rob stated that the idea came to him pre-lockdown and was simply an idea until his initial tweet about creating the platform blew up.  The first show The Two Gentlemen of Verona aired just six days after that tweet was made, and since then to this day eight more shows have been broadcasted. Rob stated, “We were able to move so quickly because myself and my producing partner Sarah Peachey both work in innovation when we’re not working in the arts, where fast deadlines and online conferencing are both commonplace,” meaning that he was surrounded by a strong support network to get TSMGO going as quick as possible. However, he also told me that “it would have been nothing without the response from actors and theatre makers” which he claims are still reaching out to him today about appearing in future productions. Rob has helped over 150 currently unemployed actors from all over the world, allowing countries to come together and rejoice in such difficult times.

Before I saw any of the live shows, I admit I was sceptical.  I’ve seen a couple of Shakespeare productions, including more recently Macbeth at The Royal Exchange Theatre, and wondered how a play would function without the scenery and the costumes, and even more important…the interaction between characters. After watching TSMGO’s rendition of The Taming of the Shrew, I was surprised to see just how well the production flowed. The core of the success of the plays are the actors, who week by week learn a new script off by heart in less than six days, yet still manage to perform with such fluency and enthusiasm!

In the productions, the actors try their hardest to DIY costumes and props, some even including their dogs in the readings! In the reading of The Taming of The Shrew, I particularly enjoyed the couple of stunt doubles (who were isolating together) performing the fight between Katherina and Petruchio. It was staged extremely well and brought an aspect of humour to the reading. To put it simply, Rob Myles and his cast are doing all they can to make the best out of a bad situation.

The first production, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, brought in nearly 35,000 views (Ludmon, 2020) and Rob tells me that “thankfully the interest remains just as strong.” They are currently working through every Shakespeare play in chronological order and anticipate that they should make it through every one of his works by late November. You can support Rob and his team of actors through their patreon, which I have linked below and become a theatre patron yourself:

https://www.patreon.com/TheShowMustGoOnline

Update: The Show Must Go Online are still going strong! Check out their latest production Cymbeline. All their productions are available online on YouTube.

Check out The Taming of The Shrew for yourself here:

And Estella Green’s review for us here.

Works cited:

Broadribb, Ben. Shakespearean Parody In Lockdown: The Show Must Go Online Presents William Shakespeare’s Star Wars. Medium.  

Ludmon, Mark. The Show Must Go Online- Shakespeare’s Plays Read Live Online. British Theate.com. 30th March 2020.  

Myles, Rob. Personal Correspondence via Email. 9th May 2020. Used with permission.

Myles, Robert. “THE SHOW MUST GO ONLINE” 2020