Literature Day

 

The Year 13 English classes had the pleasure of attending Literature Day in May, where multiple guest speakers shared their knowledge and expertise on various areas of English. 

The English Novel classes started off their morning with a lecture from Ruby Porter, a notable published author and creative writing tutor at the University of Auckland. Ms Porter centred her lecture around point of view, one of the most crucial aspects of creative writing. In particular, she delved into the topic of unreliable first-person, citing many prominent novels that utilise this perspective as well as her own novel, Attraction. Many of the ideas explored in Ms Porter’s presentation were relevant for the novel classes’ next assessment, their novel study, making her lecture not just wholly engrossing and thought-provoking, but useful.

Simultaneously, the English Literature classes received an inspiring introduction to their next standard from Professor Tom Bishop, a lecturer and Shakespeare expert at the University of Auckland. Warming the audience up to the philosophical and analytical discussion that would follow, he encouraged students to consider the objectivity of literature and the way they perceive art. Then, Dr Bishop was kind enough to impart some insights into the world of Shakespeare plays, leading the cohort through an exploration of the themes in Othello, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Macbeth, and Much Ado About Nothing, all "unstable" and "ever-changing universes” that Dr Bishop described as being “composed of dynamic contradictions”. The professor’s extensive knowledge and captivating presentation provided both an exciting prelude to the forthcoming learning and some food for thought, sure to keep the literature students thinking in the following days.

After a short morning tea, the classes were united to hear from decorated spoken word poet, Carrie Rudzinski. Having performed her poems all over the world and won many prestigious spoken word competitions, Ms Rudzinski was an excellent speaker to get the students thinking about unconventional forms of literature and self-expression. A reading of some of her most moving works on an array of topics, from family history and feminism to personal growth and acceptance, left the audience with many questions about both her work and her personal life. The students were given an opportunity to ask plenty of these questions in a Q and A session after hearing the best of Ms Rudzinski’s poems. 

One student commented, “slam poetry was something I had not experienced before and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”

To bring a thought-provoking morning to an end, the Year 13 English classes formed small groups and participated in a multi-round literature competition. The students were tested on a variety of subjects to do with famous novels in a fast-paced and amicably competitive race to answer the most questions and get them to the markers before the other groups. 

In the end, Literature Day was a dynamic and enjoyable event with something for students of all tastes and interests to take away from it. With many thanks to all the guest speakers, Year 13 will continue to look back on this unique experience fondly.

By Kate Ispanovits, with contributions from Ethan Munro