Despite half term being upon us (and providing an opportunity to visit this glorious golf venue in Shropshire) education is in the news. First of all Andrew Motion is bemoaning the lack of Biblical knowledge. Thinking myself reasonably well-versed, I tackled this quiz and performed so badly I’m not even going to mention my score. So much for all those prizes for ‘regular attendance’ at Sunday School!
I have to say I was more interested in a radio report last week on how bilingualism contributes to intellectual performance. Bilingual I am not (and please don’t find an intelligence test for me to flunk!) but I do think there’s nothing like learning a language – ancient or modern – to deepen understanding of the mother tongue, as well as providing a whole new set of cultural references. In fact Motion’s comments referred not just to the Bible but also to ancient mythology. Let’s hope his advice gives classical languages a shot in the arm too.
Education for writers is mainly about reading, and so this week I’m critiquing the work of a fellow writer. This is always a pleasureable task but one that also comes with responsibility. Should I send back my first impressions or reread for a more thorough analysis? Crucially, when I do spot problems in plot, character or style, my next thought is if I have done the same in my own writing. A case, I suppose, of learning by others’ mistakes.
And finally, a snippet of real news. Anyone interested in new publishing models should get along to indie publisher Snowbooks who are carrying out a very interesting experiment involving Lulu.