What would it be like to pick the brain of an author whose book you have read? A group of students at the International School Seychelles had just that opportunity.
While covering ‘Skirrid Hill’ — a collection of poems by author Owen Sheers — in their class syllabus, a group of A-Level literature students had the chance to meet with the author.
The novelist, poet and playwriter from Wales, United Kingdom, was invited by Phil Brown, an English teacher from the school. Sheers was asked to talk to the students not only about ‘Skirrid Hill’ but also ‘The Green Hollow’.
“Skirrid Hill is about what it means to be alive. It’s an older book for me, published in 2005. These students are meeting it for the first time, but for me, it almost feels like a book by someone else as it was published quite a long time ago. It’s a collection of poems partly drawn upon experiences of being brought up in Wales,” Sheers told SNA.
Sheers is a novelist, poet and playwriter from Wales. (Ben Priddy Photography, Wikimedia Commons) Photo License: CC BY 2.0
The Green Hollow narrates a tragic accident that happened in a small village in Wales in the 1960s when a mining slag heap collapsed on the village school killing 144 people, mostly children.
“We talked about the processes of writing, about the importance of time as your editing tool. When you are writing something, it is important to put it away and come back to it at a later time. Time will expose the mistakes, always,” said Sheers.
He also spoke to the students about the importance of reading, not only classical literature but contemporary literature as well.
In an article posted on the school’s website, the head of the English department, Julie Donlon, said that the institution is “delighted to be able to give this opportunity to our students.”
“Teaching an English syllabus out here in Seychelles means that the cultural context of the writers can often be very abstract and remote. It is such a privilege to be able to offer the students the chance to go right to the source,” said Donlon.
During the time spent with the student, Sheers said he was impressed by their questions and understanding of the poems.
“Skirrid Hill is a collection of poems which is quite culturally specific. There are all sorts of cultural references – not only British but Welsh specifically – which can be quite alien to them here but they were really engaged,” said Sheers.
During his time in Seychelles, a group of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, Sheers will be doing some work with another group of students relating to his novel, ‘Resistance’, which was made into a movie in 2011. He will also be doing some work with the teachers around creativity.
Source: Seychelles News Agency