Are writing courses a waste of time?

Hanif Kureishi, novelist and creative writing teacher, while speaking recently at the Independent Bath Literature Festival was quoted as saying that creative writing courses are “a waste of time” and that most of his students cannot tell a story. Well… I must try and keep my head during this post. Forgive me in advance if I don’t.

First of all, creative writing is a skill that must be honed. I didn’t believe this until I began to study it, at which point I realised both my prose and poetry were clunky, awkward and sometimes a complete bore. I needed the feedback and direction my lecturers gave me to make my writing the best it could be. It still isn’t, but this is a process that never truly ends.

Continue reading


On the Oscars

Yes I know, it’s everywhere today. No matter where you look there will comments about Leo missing out yet again, how obvious it was that 12 Years a Slave would get Best Picture, or THAT selfie. So I thought I would share my views.

First of all, I must tell you that I think very little of award ceremonies. Whether it’s for film, television or books, I can recognise that something has won an award but that holds very little weight with me. I’m a judge-it-for-myself kind of person. I am that annoying person that avoids something because everyone says I HAVE to see it. So I didn’t watch the award ceremony last night, but I did go online as soon as I woke up to find out the winners. And I was so happy with what I saw.

Image courtesy of @TheEllenShow

Image courtesy of @TheEllenShow

Continue reading

Tom Daley: Something I Want to Say to him…

Tom Daley. Olympic bronze medalist. Commonwealth Games gold medalist. Bi-sexual. Teenager. Brave young man flung into the world of celebrity. What is the most important face in this list?

The newest celebrity scandal is Tom ‘coming out’ in his very poignant and personal YouTube video. There have been mixed emotions from people regarding this. It was obvious he was gay. Why did he have to make such a big deal of it? Why does it even matter?

Continue reading

Beaufort War Hospital

Glenside Hospital Museum is looking for information about anyone who stayed or worked at Beaufort War Hospital between 1915 and 1918. If you had a parent, grand-parent, uncle or aunt who spent time at the hospital, either as an employee or as a patient, they want to hear from you. Perhaps in your attic there is a photograph or letter that you have previously overlooked. Any information is welcome. The hospital is keen to turn the people in their pictures into individuals with real lives and real histories.

The hospital, Bristol’s first purpose built asylum opened in 1861, was appropriated by the government during WWI. Thanks to funding from the Esmeé Fairbrain Collections Fund, the team at Glenside, led by Stella Man, are trying to find the personal stories behind the many photographs and postcards in the museum’s collection. Though they have many pictures the figures within them are largely unknown, without any names or personal stories attached to them.


Continue reading

What is a beautiful body?

Last night I visited the Arnolfini for the first time.  Which is pretty terrible for a drama student who has lived in Bristol her entire life.  I went thanks to a last minute email from one of my university lecturers offering complimentary tickets, and I’m very glad I did.  I will openly admit my tastes in theatre are what most people would consider fairly mainstream and also quite narrow, which I have only realised once I started university.  However, this performance really opened my eyes to some of the other ways theatre can be performed.

In Between Time is described as a ‘baroque inspired performance’ concerned with the politics of the flesh.  I went into the production knowing very little about it except it was about dance and there was some nudity involved.  I don’t know what I was expecting but it certainly was not what I witnessed.


Continue reading

On Russell Brand…

So I’m sure many of us have seen the video, and heard various opinions from both sides about the validity of Brand’s arguments for ‘revolution’, whatever that may mean these days.  Personally, I can’t help but feel immensely menial every time I watch it.  Here is a man, an actor and comedian, who was brought up in Essex and is open and frank about his drug abuse as a youngster, debating (really rather intelligently) with Jeremy Paxman, a man who has been interviewing politicians for thirty years.  Ok, some say it wasn’t a debate, it was an interview – but have you seen Paxman’s interview technique?

Continue reading

Work experience just isn’t enough any more

As most of you who read my blog will know, I am now in my third year of university and fretting somewhat about the impending doom that is ‘being a grown up’.  Granted, I have already done the real world thing once before, being a ‘mature student’, but this time I know what I want to do with my life.  I don’t know exactly how to get there, but that’s another matter.  Several of my house mates are sharing my trepidation at entering the full-time working world, and not a single one of us is entirely sure how to make our degrees work for us.

Of the seven ladies I live with, only two have come straight from school into university.  The rest of us have taken anything from one to five years out of education to really decide what it was we wanted to study.  For this reason we have all chosen subjects we are genuinely passionate about and want to follow into a career.  However, we have all found one massive problem.  Good grades and work experience just isn’t enough for employers any more.

Continue reading

Jane Austen’s Persistence in our Memory

Jane Austen is, without debate, one of the greatest British writers to have ever lived. Her novels have been read, studied and enjoyed the world over for a hundred years and are still being read and loved by millions. Personally I received my first Austen, a hard cover complete works, at the age of eleven from my year 6 teacher. I still remember he said it would only be a few years until I was ready for them. With more and more books being turned into movies Austin is still being adapted today, into films and television programmes across the world. She is a wonderfully strong role model, not just for women but for writers as a whole. She has also been honoured with a place on our currency (but don’t get me started on that, that’s a topic for another post).

Yet I am still baffled by the importance placed on one piece of jewellery owned by Austen that recently was put up for auction. The ring, which has been in Austen’s family since the writer passed it to her sister, was put up for auction, upon which American singer Kelly Clarkson bid and eventually won. With no arguments from any of the family or anyone in the auction house. Which is when the government got involved.
Continue reading

Should there be a minimum age for teaching?

Recently I have begun to read more teaching literature to familiarise myself with the teaching world in preparation for my PGCE applications. Part of this reading has included the Times Educational Supplement (TES) magazine as it has some interesting articles and discussions about teaching practice and training.

The latest issue included an interesting question from thier online forum, that of whether or not we should introduce a minimum age for teaching. This is a particularly hot topic in my house between me and one of my younger housemates who also wishes to become a teacher. Like myself, she wishes to become a secondary school teacher but feels with only a year of her life not spent in education she lacks the authority to teach children less than ten years younger than her.

Continue reading