Thursday, June 12, 2014

Transition Year English Evening 2014

On Tuesday 27th May we held the annual TY English Evening (the first was in 1994). As usual, several pupils read out pieces from their Work Portfolio to their peers, teachers, III formers, parents and the guest of honour, Ms Tania Banotti, Chief Executive of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners of Ireland, former CEO of Theatre Forum, and Chair of the College's Arts Committee. The evening was presented by Mr Girdham, Head of the Department. 

After hearing eight pupils read from their work, Tania Banotti commented on these pieces, and also made some general points. She pointed out the centrality of writing in her two professional areas of expertise, and said that putting words on paper made things real; feelings were translated into coherence (she cited Julia Cameron's book The Writer's Life). The habit of writing is particularly important, and pupils should keep this up; it will stand you in good stead in life generally to be able to stand back and write about what really matters. 

She said that all the writing she had heard was real and authentic, and not at all derivative or showy. Darcy Maule's 'My First School' showed a vivid eye, especially with small details, such as colour. It was a confident piece of writing, in which images were undercut by reality. Keeping on the educational theme, Harvey McCone wrote about his experience of learning Latin: this was a very real and touching piece, with the satisfying shape of a complete story, and an insight into a world most of us know little about.  Next came Laia Casas Abella, who produced an impassioned persuasive essay about abortion; this, said Tania Banotti, was strong, provocative and well-structured. A second piece about a first school, this time in Sweden, by Louvisa Karlsson-Smythe, was incredibly rich and densely written, an elegy to a vanished world that was a most sophisticated piece of writing.

Valentina Ascensio Munoz came next, with a sensitively written personal piece about 'Escape'. This was about creating your own world of the imagination - virtually a manifesto for being a writer. Freddie Morris's piece about his hobby, hockey, give a real sense of the sport, and was a strongly individual essay. 

The penultimate reader was Eleanor Moffitt, with a vivid and often funny account of her family's annual holiday in County Sligo, which started in media res, and could well have been broadcast on RTE Radio's 'Sunday Miscellany'. Finally, Hollie Canning's 'Last Supper' was richly described, and a model of how not to leave the favourite things in life to the end.

Ms Banotti commended the English Department teachers on the work of this year's Transition Year, and announced the Premier Award winners:- Elizaveta Kozhevnikova, Hollie Canning, Andrew Holt, Darcy Maule, Harvey McCone, Louvisa Karlsson-Smythe, Laia Casas Abella, George Perceval, Ciaran Chisholm. Congratulations to all.

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