Christ’s Hospital’s Year 11 pupils, who have been studying Helen Dunmore’s ‘The Siege’ for their iGCSE English Literature exam, had a very special visitor – the Orange Prize-winning author herself, who came to speak to the pupils about the book on Thursday 26 March.
In the first part of her talk she discussed how an author researches and develops a historical novel like ‘The Siege’ and explained why in her view historical fiction is so important as a way of understanding the present.
“She used, as an example, the feelings many Russians have about the ‘Great Patriotic War’ and how understanding these helps us to understand what is happening in Russia today.
Helen Dunmore then took a series of questions from the floor. She had already emphasised that once a book is created it ‘belongs’ to the readers, and that pupils should feel confident and determined to read the book and to respond to it in their own way.
To the pleasure of their English teachers, who share the same philosophy, the pupils showed in their fresh and interesting questions, that this particular book now belonged to them.
Report and picture contributed by Christ’s Hospital.