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The Novels That Shaped Our World

January 31st, 2020

The BBC has asked a selection of people to choose 100 English language novels that have had an impact on them. They say:

“Stories have the power to change us. We asked a panel of leading writers, curators and critics to choose 100 genre-busting novels that have had an impact on their lives, and this is the result. These English language novels, written over the last 300 years, range from children’s classics to popular page turners. Organised into themes, they reflect the ways books help shape and influence our thinking.”

You can see the list here. I find some of the choices rather odd, but reading preferences are a very personal thing and I’m sure no two people would agree completely. Last year, the Sunday Times printed a list (many of which I had already read) and I am still working my way through the stragglers. It’s been great as it’s introduced me to some wonderful writers that I might otherwise have overlooked. But there are still the odd one or two that I have downloaded to my library app and then deleted after only a few chapters. Read the rest of this entry »




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Poetry, Articles and Novels – Something for Everyone!

July 2nd, 2019

First, thanks to Amanda for last week’s post. I’ve never been a fan of ‘up-lit’ (I enjoy a bit of doom and gloom in my reading matter), but I recently read Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine and I’m a convert!

As you know, we’re currently running our annual Poetry Competition. Unfortunately, it’s only for adults, but the 2019 Betjeman Poetry Prize is open to young people aged 10 to 13. So, if you’re a teacher, or feel that your child’s class might be interested then please spread the word. It’s free to enter, but the prizes are great. This year’s theme is ‘place’ and entries can be any length and in any style. The winner will receive £500 and the English department at their school will get £5000. Two runners up will each get £200 and the top three poets all get four Eurostar tickets to Paris, Brussels or Lille. I know it’s nearing the end of term, but with prizes like that it’s definitely worth thinking about . The closing date is the same as ours – 31st July. Read the rest of this entry »




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Recycling Your Favourite Books

September 15th, 2017

First, thanks to Karen for last week’s blog. It was interesting to hear about where she gets her ideas. We advocate freewriting in our courses and it’s something I recommend you try.

She also mentioned that for the first time she has joined an evening class for writing. Even if you are already studying one of our courses, actually getting together with other writers (whether in regular classes, the occasional workshop or for weekend breaks) can be a great source of inspiration.

I’ve noticed that Women’s Weekly magazine is currently offering a range of workshops, and you would assume that their tutors are knowledgeable about what the current markets are looking for. Read the rest of this entry »




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