Head of KS5 English, Mr Steven Jackson has been appointed Queen Anne's School's 'Writer In Residence'.
Mr Jackson was a short-listed writer in the Oxford Flash Fiction Prize and my his was included in their recent anthology called Flashy Gifts, for which he attended the book launch over the half-term at the Bodleian.
"Writing is sharing. Words, images, ideas. And sharing is the life-blood of a writer because every piece of good writing needs a reader to complete the art itself. As Robert Frost put it: “No tears in the writer, no tears in the reader”. Writing lives by this symbiosis. Accordingly, writers are always thinking of their readers. Good writers are good sharers, therefore, and the greatest writers often share the greatest advice about the craft."
"The summer term at school is always one of conflicting emotions, I find. There is palpable happiness in the air for most, because it is a time of warmer weather and a growing sense of the imminent holidays. Teachers and students alike share in these positive emotions as the academic year eases its way to a close. Final tests have been taken, marking has been completed, last lessons end, and so begins the next summer break. School life can often feel like a joyous ride in this way – simply moving on from one term to the next..."
"I would have been in my mid-twenties and a fair way along the road of my love for Shakespeare. I’d read and seen plenty of the plays. I’d read all the sonnets. But I wanted more. I remember dreaming up a book which I thought at the time COULD NEVER exist. The best book of all time! I was praying long and hard for a brilliant writer to create a truly worthy work of historical fiction with my literary hero Shakespeare as the protagonist.
Little did I know at the time that this longed-for text had already been published..."
"It’s a toast which should bind us all together, and to those who’ve gone before, and who’ll come after us here. It is the dear old School-house – the best house of the best school in England! ... Remember, if you do it for your charter, you do it for your school"
"For this brief study into the structure of the Shakespearean sonnet form and the way that Shakespeare uses the rhetorical device of the concluding couplet in his poems, I thought it fitting for today’s symposium to explore a sonnet with a musical theme: ‘Sonnet 8’. As Mr Richards will discuss later on in the lecture, ‘Sonnet 8’ was also an inspiration for the composer Igor Stravinsky, in his Three Songs from William Shakespeare in 1953 – so a study of the poem here will be a good starting point for things to come."
"Many people think that poems, by nature, are short and sweet, and both adjectives, we might argue, can be assigned to the sonnet."
"As the academic year 2021/22 comes to an end, I found myself in excited mood and so felt compelled to compose a little sonnet about Speech Day.
There is a touch of the Wordsworthian ‘spontaneous overflow of powerful feelings’ here, I hope!"
"When I was nine years old I was obsessed with an author called Michael Hardcastle. He would write exciting stories about young lads who were playing football for school sports teams, for local Sunday league clubs, in tournaments, cup finals, and the like. The titles for his books were always short and snappy. United, Shoot on Sight, One Kick, Second Chance, and Away from Home were some of my favourites."
"This year, Monday, June 20th is World Refugee Day, and I thought I would take the opportunity as Queen Anne’s Writer in Residence to raise some awareness about this important date.
The theme for this year’s event is ‘The Right to Seek Safety’ and so, as ever, I have turned to Shakespeare for inspiration."
"Many audience members attending Shakespeare’s great tragedy Macbeth might understandably come away from the theatre thinking that the tyrannical, titular character, Macbeth, and his ‘fiend-like queen’, Lady Macbeth, were a right couple of monsters.
To be sure, this is one way of looking at it..."
"When faced with one of Shakespeare’s famous fourteen-liners on the page, it is quite understandable that the general student of literature might be somewhat overawed. After all, a Shakespearean sonnet is associated with perceived difficulty from all angles. Not only are these the lines, words and images of the greatest author of all time – Shakespeare! (a name notorious in the English classroom), but the medium he chooses – poetry, and the sonnet form, in particular – can leave some students bewildered."
“I thought I would share with you a poem, ‘Resistance’, by current Poet Laureate Simon Armitage. It’s his most recent piece about the war in Ukraine. The poem is very powerful so perhaps sharing it (and a few of my accompanying notes) around the school will help people in some way at this difficult time.”
"World Book Day was such a lovely occasion that I was inspired to write a little piece which describes the event."