In Chris Woodhead’s ‘Answer the question’ column (Sunday Times 20th May) he responds to a question about Michael Gove’s belief that English teachers should be ensuring their pupils read classics such as George Eliot’s Middlemarch with the following:
Whatever the education secretary might wish to think, most adults, let alone teenagers, do not have the intellectual stamina or curiosity to read a book as demanding as Middlemarch. (…) I very much doubt if any member of the cabinet, other than Gove, has read Middlemarch’.
I tend to have more faith in people and their thirst for a good story but then I was a bookworm who was reading Dickens by the time I was in Middle School (because it was on my dad’s bookshelf). Demanding, difficult, long-winded etc are all words I’ve heard people use to describe Middlemarch (usually people who haven’t read it).
I’d like to add a few of my own: epic, absorbing and compassionate.
Do you have any words that you’d like to add?
Yesterday 34 people walked with George - they came from across the Midlands (a few from further afield e.g. California) to find out more about George’s links to Coventry. The walk visited: The Herbert, St Mary’s Guildhall, St Michael’s, Holy Trinity, Ford’s Hospital, Greyfriar’s Spire, a water trough (dedicated to Cara Bray), and Loveitts/Nantglyn.
Ali Wells talking about the provenance of the piano
George’s opal ring (part of a case of objects not normally on public display)
The Middlemarch display
Hetty Sorrel’s trial opposite St Mary’s Guildhall
Adam Bede’s tall figure was suddenly seen being ushered to the side of the prisoner’s dock.
A quick tea break outside St. Michael’s
Mary Ann’s letter to her father (28th February 1842)
the speech of the landscape
the horse’s name was Ronald, the rider Edward (Edward Neville by Mary Ann Evans age 14 and a half)
It was great to meet so many of George’s fans yesterday including one lady who had performed in a opera based on Silas Marner. But for me the highlight was listening to Sonia read out Mary Ann’s letter to her father in the very church that she was refusing to attend – magic.
The next Walking with George event is on Sunday 14th July (the above walk in reverse) starting at 11am at Loveitts/Nantglyn – call 07981 907285 or email email@example.com to reserve your FREE place now. The walk will take approx 2 hours depending on the size of the group.
Congratulations to Matt Johnson from Tamworth who has just won a print of Rosehill by Jhinuk Sarkar.
If you were unlucky this time additional prints can be purchased directly from Jhinuk – for more details/price email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Today was all about fitting the dress so that I can make alterations to the length and also doing a final recce with Sonia. We checked all our locations, met a few interesting folk along the way and even managed to fit in a spot of lunch at The Herbert and a coffee in Druckers… I’ve ordered fine weather so we’re all set – see you there!
I have 4 clear days for writing this week (as soon as I’ve finished this blog post) which is rarer than you might think. Last week involved walking in The Peak District (Bank Holiday), catching up with old friends in Nottingham, mentoring young people at The Belgrade (In Our Own Words), picking up the GE replica dress, ‘The Book of Mormon’ (an early birthday treat) and being interviewed on local radio (BBC Coventry & Warwickshire) about Walking with George. I better get back to the script.
PS Talking of walking – the first Walking with George event is at 2pm this Saturday (18th May), COME RAIN OR SHINE, meet at The Herbert, Jordan Well, Coventry – it’s FREE but please book your place/s in advance 07981 907285 or email email@example.com
In a London Drawing Room
Rosehill by Jhinuk Sarkar
I asked Jhinuk Sarkar to draw the three houses featured in my new play ’A Ploughed Heart’ for the project’s promotional literature (bookmarks). Jhinuk created three beautiful illustrations including one of Rosehill - the home of Charles and Cara Bray, which she used for the Walking with George bookmark.
Jhinuk’s work uses inks, print-making, collage and typography. Her illustrations can be fluid, fun, as well as intricate and sometimes with a hint of dark humour where projects allow it. She has exhibited across the UK, Europe, Australia and Vietnam. Her clients include House of Illustration, and Time Out London. Her illustrations have been used for music, editorials, packaging, invitations and theatre stage sets. Jhinuk likes to think her unhealthy interest in cheese, bad knowledge of Spanish and interest in travelling informs her work.
As each event approaches I’ll be giving away a print relating to that particular event. So, if you’d like the chance to win a giclee print of Rosehill (approx 29cm x 19cm) sent to you (FREE POSTAGE worldwide) just leave your name by clicking on the comment button below.
One lucky name will be pulled out of the hat after midnight on Friday 17th May 2013. If your name is chosen I will then email you directly for your preferred postal address.