EngSoc x The Gryphon: A week in the wonderful world of English

Welcome to the first feature article of the semester, brought to you by English Society! In these pieces, we will be bringing you up to speed on everything occurring in the world of English. This includes (but is not limited to) awards, book recommendations and general must-mention happenings from the previous 2 weeks. 

What’s more, if you are a member of EngSoc and attend our ‘Wine and Rhymes’ event this semester, you can submit your work to be featured in this article and be published by The Gryphon! 

Without further ado, let’s dive into the headlines from the last couple of weeks.

Firstly, it has been announced that the Royal Shakespeare Company are going to resume performances for live audiences around the 17th of May! So, whether you need it for your degree or just want to see the wonderful work of Shakespeare live in action, you will be able to see his plays brought to life again. This could be a great thing to do if you happen to find yourself on a ‘staycation’ near the birthplace of Shakespeare – drag your family and friends to the beautiful open-air theatre in Stratford-Upon-Avon and soak up some of the most iconic literary work. 

Image Credit: Royal Shakespeare Company

This brings us nicely to a key event that occurred last week, World Book Day! Loved by many, children and adults all over Britain can dress up as their favourite literature character. Originally created by UNESCO in 1995 to celebrate books and encourage reading for pleasure, World Book Day has now become somewhat of a rite of passage for primary and secondary school children (and teachers!). It was always hilarious seeing teachers dressed up, and of course any opportunity to go into school without uniform was a novelty. Every year it continues to recognise writers, with the likes of Lewis Carroll and J.K. Rowling honoured every year without fail. 

With that being said, events that promote reading may have had the largest effect in recent months. With little to do except sit indoors, the BBC reported that Covid has led to a significant boost in reading for pleasure. Personally, I can devour a good crime-thriller in 2 days, and Lockdown 1 proved that to me as I was reading in the sunshine day-in and day-out, but it seems this has been the case for many. The Office for National Statistics suggested that people in Britain spent an average of 28 minutes a day reading books, magazines or newspapers during the pandemic. Maybe we will even see a subsequent surge in people pursuing English degrees! 

If you are looking for some new reading material to see you through the final few weeks of Lockdown 3 and want to reach for a writer we all know and love, then Michael Rosen’s new book may be for you. Many Different Kinds of Love: A story of life, death and the NHS will tug at the heartstrings, as it is an anthology based on Rosen’s personal struggles with Covid-19. It includes excerpts from NHS nurses’ personal medical diaries, new poems, and accounts of his experience – I can’t think of a lovelier way to pay tribute to the NHS. With the reduced price of £12.99, you can now pick up your copy direct from the Waterstones website. I’ve even linked it below for you: https://www.waterstones.com/book/many-different-kinds-of-love/michael-rosen/2928377051471

That’s all from the last few weeks. We will be back with another feature in Week 10, so keep your eyes peeled for your next update on all things English!

Amy Gibson

Image Credit: worldbookday.com