The first Choix Goncourt Britannique: When we talk about writing

Julia Moore is a third-year student at Christ Church reading French and English. Here are her personal reflections on being part of the first Choix Goncourt Britannique.

Writing a book is hard—you know, you get a publisher, or fail to, and you spend years grovelling at the feet of your work and perhaps a man behind a well-known desk. At least, that’s how the authors write it. In Anna Gavalda’s Je Voudrais Que Quelqu’un m’Attende Quelque part, she includes a postscript in the form of another short story. By using her form to embrace the technical realities of the (physical!) copy the reader holds, she shines a humorous light on the whole affair—the inspiration, rejection, ridiculous meticulous search for the right colour of paper binding. A light, certainly, but a spotlight as well: this is how it happens, she says, this is it.  Publication becomes a story: this sort of fictional concern with the more tedious aspects of writing can reinforce what we think about inspiration, construction, or even the political undertones of writing, especially to sell.

In Little Women, Jo’s plight of publication is just as mundane—and yet, it arrives as a crucial moment in the history of what it means to be a female commercial writer. By becoming a story, it demonstrates itself. Writing about writing makes us more aware of all the things that are happening in and around the book.  Jane Eyre was originally published as Jane Eyre: An Autobiography, after all. What is it that we feel about the first-person women, and their direct or indirect free speech? All four of the books we were to discuss were in the first person. We tended to take this for granted;  Dame Marina Warner, one of the senior judges and member of the Royal Society, made our group of student judges feel rather silly when she pointed out that none of us had  even mentioned, let alone questioned, the first person in the narratives we were presented with.

Judging fiction is a strange mix—sometimes, it can seem just as mundane and unromantic as publishing it. Unpicking and debating- all that de-storifying can seem slightly unfair at times—to the book, to the author—the French Goncourt jury has often been accused of publishing bribes and stakes in great shares. Judging a book isn’t just about that though, not really, especially if the people doing it sit behind food and wine, or on a bed or in a bus. People like you and me—and there were a few of us in Oxford, and a few in 6 other universities[1] who did just that.

The French Goncourt Prize is more or less equivalent to the Man Booker prize in the UK. It is a big cultural institution in France, and is judged rather unconventionally by 10 novelists (sometimes referred to as “Les Dix”) who are members of the “Académie Goncourt”, in the Restaurant Drouant, Paris. The prize is a symbolic cheque for ten euros, and the well-recognised accolade: Prix Goncourt. Proust won it in 1919, exactly 100 years from the Choix Goncourt Britannique last year. A Choix Goncourt is a choice made from the same shortlist by a different group of people: there is a Prix Goncourt des Lycéens for a secondary school jury in France, for example. December 2019 was the first Choix Goncourt Britannique, but other countries like Belgium or Lebanon have student juries like ours pick their winner.

We had four books[2] to read, and we had to come up with a winner. Not alone—about 10 of us in Oxford, and similar numbers in Queen’s Belfast, Cardiff, Aberdeen, Cambridge, Warwick, and St Andrew’s. Two of each group met in London to discuss and award the first (perhaps not-yet-coveted) Choix Goncourt Britannique. The word choice is what sets student juries apart from the French group of restaurant-going novelists that award the Prix Goncourt. The focus of choice is not just who gets chosen picked, but also who is choosing. We were very aware of ourselves and our very obviously personal choices. What do we know about picking and choosing the novel we think is best? Well, what should we know? And does anyone? We pinpointed things: style, narrative, underlying images, characterisation,… the list goes on. And it can—the thing was that we were never completely finished.

In Oxford, and, later, in London, we decided on Tous les Hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon by Jean-Paul Dubois. It was salient to so many of the individuals in our group that it quickly became the centrepiece of comparative discussions. It is about a man, his cell-mate, and the people that make up his past. We talked about way that the narrative works, crossed between the past, the present, and the succession of dog smiles and technical failures that exist in both. We liked reading it—we enjoyed looking everyday words up and wondering about whether or not the book was “About Capitalism”. There’s something very joyful about being able to read and think and think and read, completely essay-less, yet with a real discussion with real people who also have thoughts and readings about fiction. The fact that all the books are contemporary adds to the immediacy of looking forward to the translation of our book-elect, and to Jean-Paul Dubois’ tour of  UK universities; the gleeful possibilities of being alone with a book are sustained, rather than dampened, by the idea of an author to talk to.

To read more about the Choix Goncourt Britannique, see a piece by another Oxford member of the panel, James Hughes, in The Oxford Polyglot https://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/oxford-polyglot/2019-20/2/united-kingdoms-choix-goncourt-more-book-club and read Professor Dame Marina Warner’s speech at the award https://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/oxford-polyglot/2019-20/2/awarding-frances-most-prestigious-literary-prize


[1] Oxford, Cambridge, and Warwick from England, Cardiff from Wales, Aberdeen and St Andrew’s from Scotland, and Queen’s Belfast from Northern Ireland

[2] Soif, by Amélie Nothomb, Tous les Hommes n’habitent pas le monde de la même façon, by Jean-Paul Dubois, Extérieur Monde by Olivier Rolin, and La Part du Fils, by Jean-Luc Coatelem.

SPANISH LITERATURE PODCAST: LORCA’S bODAS DE SANGRE

Episode 5 of the Oxford Spanish Literature Podcast, the first episode of the second series, is now available to listen to. This episode features Laura Lonsdale (Associate Professor in Modern Spanish Literature) speaking about Bodas de sangre, by Federico García Lorca. As in previous episodes, the first part of the discussion covers the historical and literary context of the work, as well as some more detailed questions about the text itself. The second part of the episode focuses in on a close reading of an extract from Lorca’s play. Listen to other episodes in the podcast series here

Skills and employability in the arts and humanities

The British Academy has commissioned a major piece of research into the employment prospects for graduates with degrees in the arts, humanities and social sciences. One of the things they wanted to look into was what seems to be a pervasive idea, sometimes repeated to students seeking advice on A-level choices and university courses, that studying STEM subjects will give you significantly better career prospects than studying a humanities subject like English, history or modern languages.

So is that true? Are you really better off studying engineering rather than German? Maths rather than geography?

Well, short answer: no you aren’t. Humanities subjects were found to be level-pegging with STEM subjects in terms of their general employment prospects, and to have distinct advantages over STEM in certain aspects of your career.

I’d encourage you to have a look at the report itself, which you can find here. (You can also see it discussed by the UK press here.)

Some of the most important findings of the research are these:

  1. Graduates from arts, humanities and social science subjects appear to have more flexibility and choice in their career than STEM graduates. They’re more likely than STEM graduates to voluntarily move to different sectors of employment, or to change role in their job, and to do so without wage penalty.
  2. In the most recent statistics, 88% of UK humanities graduates were in employment, and 89% of STEM graduates. This suggests there isn’t a significant difference in employment prospects between the two fields.
  3. Of the ten fastest growing sectors in the UK economy, eight of them employ more graduates from the arts, humanities and social sciences than from other disciplines.
  4. There’s a strong link between the skills developed in university by humanities students and the top skills needed to thrive in 21st century work. The top five skills developed by humanities students are: becoming an independent learner, thinking critically and analytically, being innovative and creative, working effectively with others, and writing clearly and effectively. These match up closely to the seven skills found to be most important for 21st century work, which are: initiative and entrepreneuralism (independent learner), accessing and analysing information, and critical thinking and problem solving (thinking critically and analytically), agility and adaptability, and curiosity and imagination (being innovative and creative), collaboration and leadership (working effectively with others), and effective oral and written communication (writing clearly and effectively).

The British Academy sum up the findings of their report as follows:

Graduates who study arts, humanities and social science disciplines are highly employable across a range of sectors and roles. They have skills employers value – communication, collaboration, research and analysis, independence, creativity and adaptability – and are able to build flexible careers which may move across a number of areas of employment while remaining resilient to economic downturns. They are employed in sectors which underpin the UK economy and are among the fastest growing – financial, legal and professional services, information and communication, and the creative industries – as well as in socially valuable roles in public administration and education.

Young people chose to enter higher education for many reasons of which salary is only one, but it is a legitimate question to consider what the economic return is on the substantial investment which is a degree course, both in time and money. Overall, salary levels for arts, humanities and social science graduates are a little lower on average than for graduates in science, engineering, technology and medicine, but this top-level picture conceals complexity underneath. Consistently high salaries in medicine and dentistry drive much of the difference, while the other discipline areas which make up the two broad groups show far more variance in earnings within subjects. As individuals progress through the first ten years of their career, arts, humanities and social science graduates are able make strong progress up the career ladder into roles attracting higher salaries.

Whatever the future holds for the UK, it is our people, their skills, knowledge and attributes, that will ensure prosperity and wellbeing. We need to build an evidence-led, broad and balanced education and skills system to create the society we want to live in. The challenges the world is facing – climate change, global pandemics, the growth of populism – need the insights of the arts, humanities and social sciences as much as those from science, technology and engineering. The importance of a highly qualified and versatile labour force for productivity and economic growth cannot be underestimated. Our evidence shows that arts, humanities and social science graduates are central to this ongoing and long-term requirement. They are well equipped to profit from, and more importantly shape, the new opportunities of the future.

Responding to Literature through the Arts II

Oxford first-year Spanish students have taken the opportunity to respond creatively through the visual arts and creative writing to some of the literary works they had studied earlier in the year, or works they plan to study next year. We saw one project last week. Here are samples from three more.

 Josh Aruliah (Spanish and Linguistics, Keble College)

“This drawing depicts my interpretation of Jorge Luis Borges’s ‘Library of Babel’, which is a hypothetical library that consists of an indefinite number of identical hexagonal galleries and contains every possible book that could be written (up to a certain length). I featured illusions, drawing inspiration from the work of Dutch artist M. C. Escher, to convey the impossible and bewildering nature of the library; the staircase and the railings are inconsistent and demonstrate the lack of a fixed direction of gravity. It is not a literal depiction of the library as I aimed instead to portray the perplexing experience of trying to visualise Borges’s fascinating creation. The short story reveals that almost all of the books contain complete gibberish and, therefore, the librarians seem to be condemned to an eternal and vain search for meaning. There is little distinction between the books and galleries in the drawing, with the upper gallery perhaps giving the impression of a reflection, which demonstrates this idea of endless futility.”

Darcie Dorkins (History and Spanish, Exeter College)

“I chose to paint Sor Juana Inés de la Cruz, one of the most important figures of Spanish colonial literature, whose works were widely acclaimed during her lifetime and continue to be celebrated today. I was inspired to visually explore the conflicting notions of restriction and freedom in Sor Juana’s life which stemmed from her overlapping roles as a nun, woman, and outstanding writer, with a particular focus on one of her most widely read poems, ‘Hombres necios’. Thought to have been written in around 1680, I felt that the poem was a valuable representation of the precarious space she occupied between contemporary religious, intellectual and literary spheres in both her native Mexico and in Spain, where her works were also popular. To this end, I aimed to incorporate various symbolic elements within the piece: Sor Juana herself, as the subject of many striking portraits; the visual prominence of religion, a defining feature of her life with considerable implications for her literary career; and a book, to represent her extensive learning. I also included a mirror, as in ‘Hombres necios’ Sor Juana symbolically confronts men with the realities of their irrational and impossible standards for women, along with birds and an open cage to reflect the issues of restriction and liberation in her life.”

Darcie also translated the closing lines of Sor Juana’s Primero sueño (First Dream), a notoriously complex and linguistically rich poem:

Llegó, en efecto, el sol cerrando el giro                                    

que esculpió de oro sobre azul zafiro.

De mil multiplicados                                                            

mil veces puntos, flujos mil dorados,

líneas, digo, de luz clara, salían

de su circunferencia luminosa,

pautando al cielo la cerúlea plana;

y a la que antes funesta fue tirana                                       

de su imperio, atropadas embestían:

que sin concierto huyendo presurosa,

en sus mismos horrores tropezando

su sombra iba pisando,

y llegar al ocaso pretendía                                                  

con el sin orden ya, desbaratado

ejército de sombras, acosado

de la luz que el alcance le seguía.

Consiguió, al fin, la vista del ocaso

el fugitivo paso,                                                                   

y en su mismo despeño recobrada,

esforzando el aliento en la ruïna,

en la mitad del globo que ha dejado

el sol desamparada,

segunda vez rebelde, determina                                         

mirarse coronada,

mientras nuestro hemisferio la dorada

ilustraba del sol madeja hermosa,

que con luz judiciosa

de orden distributivo, repartiendo                                        

a las cosas visibles sus colores

iba, y restituyendo

entera a los sentidos exteriores

su operación, quedando a luz más cierta

el mundo iluminado, y yo despierta.                                 

And sure enough, the Sun arrived, sealing the orbit

it etched in gold upon the sapphire blue sky.

Born of a thousand

times thousand points, a thousand golden streams,

and lines, I say, of pure light, which radiated

from its luminous circumference,

marking the sky-blue page;

and, converging, they charged towards

that former sepulchral tyrant of their empire,

who, stumbling over her own horrors,

treading on her own shadow,

erratically with haste, trying to reach the West

with her now confused, disorderly

army of shadows, pursued

by the light following closely behind.

At last, that fugitive retreat

gained sight of the West,

and, recovering from her downfall,

steeling her crushed spirit,

rebellious for a second time,

she resolves to see herself crowned

in that half of the globe that

the Sun has left unprotected;

meanwhile, the golden tresses of the Sun

beautified our hemisphere,

and with judicious light

and ordered generosity reimbursed

all visible things with their colours,

and restored the external senses their full

operation, leaving the world illuminated

by a more certain light, and I awake.

Responding to Literature Through the Arts

With the cancellation of first-year exams in Oxford earlier this summer, several students took the opportunity to respond creatively through the visual arts and creative writing to some of the literary works they had studied earlier in the year, or works they plan to study next year. Their projects included a Lorca play turned into a short story, a García Márquez short story turned into a play, and an election campaign poster for Coronel Aureliano Buendía.

Here, and in next week’s post, are samples from four projects, all under the direction of Dr Imogen Choi:

 Imogen Lewis (French and Spanish, Exeter College)

“For my final creative piece of the first year I decided to focus on Golden Age poetry (specifically sonnets), and its presentation of the much-idealised Petrarchan Woman. I studied the works of three of the best-known Spanish poets: Góngora, Quevedo, and Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz. While the ‘conceptismo’ aspect of these poems is easily captured in a painting (i.e. one can easily picture and reproduce a woman’s ‘pearly white teeth’ or ‘alabaster’ neck), it is the notorious ‘culteranismo’ aspect (the essence of marked opposition and play-on-words) that is much harder to depict.  While Góngora captures the quintessential “cabellos de oro” of the Petrarchan woman, Quevedo ponders the “figura de la hermosura pasada”, and Sor Juana even begins to question identity and the representation of idealised beauty through the figures of painting and “retratos”. On the left two thirds of the piece stands the idealised, beguiling Petrarchan woman, but as the eye naturally moves from left to right we see what is really hidden behind the appearance of these poems – latent decay and and cynicism about age and beauty.”

Costanza Levy (Exeter College)

Eyes of a Blue Dog is a short play in English. It is an adaptation of Gabriel García Márquez’s short story, Ojos de perro azul, which narrates the relationship between a man and a woman who only meet in their dreams. The ambiguous narrative explores death, desire and the passing of time through the lens of a dreamworld. This theatrical adaptation uses dialogue, a stark set design, blue lighting and the music Charvela Vargas to evoke the central themes of Márquez’s modernist work.

Eyes of a Blue Dog

‘La llorona’ by Charvela Vargas fades in.

A deep blue light fills the stage.

‘He’ is standing to the left of the bed. ‘She’ is sitting on the edge of the bed. She looks at him, perplexed.  He stares back at her for some time.

‘La Llorona’ fades out at 1 minute 24 seconds. 

1

He They’re so bright.

She What?

He  Your eyes. They’re so bright. And blue. Grey-blue. Ash-blue.

She I’ve been told that before.

He  Like a blue dog. The eyes of a blue dog.

The light flickers, then it is dark, except for the candle. ‘He’ lights a cigarette. A harsh white light shines on ‘She’. She is still. There is the sound of fire burning.

[…]

He You’re like a statue. Like some copper statue I’d find in a museum.

He walks around her.

But I recognise you. I’ve seen you before. Who are you?

[…]

She I wish I could remember where I’ve gone looking for you.

He Me too. In some part of the world, ‘eyes of a blue dog’ is scrawled over all the walls, over all the floors, posted through all the letterboxes.

Every night, I tell myself, tomorrow. Tomorrow you’ll remember this, and you’ll know how to find her. Then every morning, I wake up, and it’s all gone.

‘He’ lights a cigarette.

I wish there was something. Something that gave us some sort of idea.

The light flickers. 

A white light shines on ‘She’. She shivers. The shiver becomes a shudder.  There is the sound of fire burning. She crumples to the floor.

It is dark, except for the candle and the cigarette.

Three More Reasons to Come and Study Modern Languages with us at Oxford

It’s the time of year when the annual rankings of universities and higher education courses are published. Here at the Oxford Modern Languages Faculty we are a modest and unassuming bunch, reluctant to blow our own trumpet. We do, though, work extremely hard to make sure that our undergraduate courses are inspiring and exciting, a world-class education in language and culture, and a qualification that will be one of the most valuable passports you can have to success the career of your choice.

So we’re pleased to see that our hard work has been noticed. The Times Higher Education world university rankings for 2021 place Oxford University at Number One, ranked against over a thousand higher education institutions worldwide.

QS World University Rankings place Oxford University as the highest ranked of all UK universities, although it ranks four US institutions above us in the global list. Their most recent ranking of world universities by subject area, from last year, ranks Oxford University as Number One in the world for arts and humanities subjects, including modern languages.

Lastly, the Guardian has released its 2021 rankings of UK universities by subject, and their Number One university to study modern languages this coming year is… Oxford University. They also rank Oxford University as the top UK university overall, up two places from last year. The newspaper accompanies its listings and university guide with an article explaining why Oxford made the top spot, and in particular what it has to do with the employment prospects of our graduates.

That’s enough bragging from me. There’s only one way to really find out if our course and our university are really as good as they say. And that’s to come and try us out for yourself.

Calling UK Modern Language Teachers

The Sir Robert Taylor Society is a network of teachers of Modern Foreign Languages in secondary schools, academics in the Medieval and Modern Languages Faculty at the University of Oxford, and others who have an interest in Modern Languages. It is named after the founder of the Modern Languages Library at Oxford (the ‘Taylor Institution’), Sir Robert Taylor.

Our annual conference takes place in September at the University of Oxford, and provides a unique forum for interaction and exchange between the University and teachers.

Sadly, we have had to cancel this year’s meeting in Oxford. Instead, we invite you to join us remotely for a series of live events which we are planning for Friday 25 September, from 4.30 until 7pm. We’ll be hosting the event on the Sir Robert Taylor Society website, which is here. It will consist of talks and Q&As between modern language teachers, Oxford tutors, and current undergraduates, with the British diplomat Sir Simon McDonald as our special guest .

If you teach modern languages in a UK school and you’d like to attend this online meeting by emailing us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk. At the same time, please do mention any questions you would like to submit in advance. These may be about the study of individual languages and literatures at Oxford (whether post-A or from scratch), the year abroad, career destinations, or any aspect of the application process. Live questions will also be welcome on the day!

We’d like to draw the attention of modern languages teachers to two resources in the meantime:

1) Oxford University’s Virtual Open Day on 18 September, which you and your students are very welcome to ‘attend’. For further details please see:

https://www.ox.ac.uk/admissions/undergraduate/virtual-open-day

2) The Oxford University Medieval and Modern Languages webpages, where you can find a collated list of resources to support your teaching, and also to guide you and your students through applying to Oxford and the experiences of studying here, with plenty of input from current students! These resources can be found here:

https://www.mod-langs.ox.ac.uk/schools

Student Snapshot

Over the last few weeks, we have shared with you some of the material we would normally tell you about at an open day. Dr Simon Kemp, Tutor in French and Co-Director of Outreach, gave us a video overview of what it’s like to study modern languages at Oxford… but do the current students agree?

We asked three current undergraduates to tell us a little bit about their experience of studying languages with us: Dalveen is in her first year studing Spanish and Linguistics; Alex is in his second year studying French and History; Charlotte also studies French and History and is in her final year. Here they give us a glimpse of what Oxford has been like through their eyes.

Something New: An Introduction to Linguistics

Linguistics is an increasingly popular area of study amongst our undergraduates, with some opting to study the subject as one half of a ‘joint schools’ degree (a degree where you combine two subjects e.g. ‘Modern Languages and Linguistics’), while others study it within their Modern Languages degree as an optional paper. But, for most people, linguistics is not something they will have had a chance to study at school and the subject will be brand new to them when they start at university.

So what exactly is linguistics? Fortunately, our colleague from the Faculty of Linguistics, Dr Jamie Findlay, has recorded an introduction to the subject. Check it out below and, if you like what you hear, perhaps consider incorporating linguistics into your degree…

French Flash Fiction Competition: Commended Stories

Image by annca from Pixabay

It’s our final flash fiction post of the season and, to wrap up, we bring you some of the brilliant stories from the students in the Years 7-11 category who were commended by the judges. Félicitations!

Comment être un chien

Pour être un chien, il faut être très mignon. Tes yeux sont faits pour dire, « j’ai très faim ! » ou « je veux jouer toute la journée, sans arrêt ! » et ta fourrure est réconfortante à toucher.
« Voilà, Galette. » dira ton maître, et il te câlinera. Tu as, maintenant, une tranche de bœuf magnifique.
Aussi, tu dois manger tout, aller au jardin, jouer tout le temps et marcher sur le tapis avec des pieds sales.
« Non, Galette ! »
Mais surtout, cherche toujours le sourire de ton maître, parce que s’il n’est pas content, ton travail n’est pas fini.

(Carla Lubin, Year 7)

C’est le 6 Juin 1844 à Luc sur Mer, je prépare ma toile pour la peinture. La plage est silencieuse. Je suis perdu dans ma dessin quand brusquement, le ciel devient gris, la pluie couvre le ciel mais mes doigts ne veulent pas s’arrêter. Je peins plus que je peux vois. La mer semble rouge alors que des centaines d’hommes montent la plage de navires et battements métalliques que je n’ai vu jamais auparavant. Tous les hommes portent la même vert vêtements. Ma toile est rempli avec guerre et horreur.

 Mon frère il regarde la toile. ‘Quelle imagination tu as’.

(Lara Hardy-Smith, Year 11)

C’était une journée normale à Londres, en Angleterre, à la fin de l’été 1666. Il faisait chaud et le soleil brillait brillamment sur la Tamise. La place du marché grouillait d’acheteurs et de vendeurs et la boulangerie avait une longue file d’attente; très probablement en raison de l’odeur de pain sortant du four. Au fil du temps, les cris des marchands sont partis et le soleil s’est couché sous l’horizon. Dans la boulangerie, le boulanger emballait ses pains lorsque quelqu’un entra. En fait, c’était un chien! Un petit chien mignon. Un petit chien mignon avec une torche allumée dans sa bouche. Soudain, il jeta la torche au fond de la boulangerie et un terrible incendie se déclara.

C’est vraiment ce qui s’est passé et ce qui a déclenché le grand incendie de Londres.

(Aiden Politiek, Year 10)

Deux mondes

Mes ennemis suivent mon moindre pas, je ne peux pas m’arrêter. Je marche, seul, hanté par une peur invisible et féroce. Je suis un chevalier perdu, épouvanté par ma solitude et craignant de ne jamais revoir mon royaume. Soudainement, une figure pale surgit des bois obscurs : elle s’avance et la lumière révèle un visage grave. “Aidez-moi, s’il vous plait…” ma soif et fatigue sont telles que mes lèvres ne bougent presque plus. Mais l’homme, sans empathie, indique l’horloge. “C’est l’heure, mademoiselle, rentrez chez vous.” Alors, timidement, je ferme le livre et me hâte de laisser la bibliothèque déjà vide.

(Silvia Rossi, Year 10)

L’ombre de Venise

Venise. Le soleil plongeait ses couleurs corail dans le canal. Un jeune garçon longeait les quais, jetant des galets dans l’eau opaque. Il aperçut une ombre, regarda vers le ciel. Rien. Il suivit le fantôme vers des ruelles lugubres et isolées, seules quelques étoiles perçaient le crépuscule. Soudain son pied fut happé à travers les planches tordues dans le canal brumeux. Des bulles jaillirent de sa bouche, ses cheveux se métamorphosèrent en corail argenté, de fines écailles grises transpercèrent sa peau devenue diaphane. Il hurla, regarda ses mains palmées. L’ombre fit un signe. Il s’enfonça dans les profondeurs de Venise.

(Clémence Buffelard, Year 9)

Je ne dormais pas. Je m’appelle Jacques et je ne dormais pas. Depuis que cette chanson a été faite, ma vie a changé. Tous les jours, tout le temps, les enfants chantent la chanson ennuyeuse. Je trouve ça ennuyeux car je ne dormais pas mais je mangeais mon petit déjeuner. J’appréciais ma bouillie mais j’ai alors oublié de sonner les cloches du matin. Donc, je vous en supplie, s’il vous plaît, arrêtez de chanter la chanson.

(Kairav Singh, Year 9)

Je cours

Je cours. Je n’ai pas beaucoup de temps. Je besoin de la faire avant ils réalisent je suis parti. J’arrive à le pont. Il y a les voitures au-dessous de moi. Il y a l’excès de vitesse le long de l’autoroute. J’arrive à la barrière. J’escalade. Je saute. Je me réveille. Je retourne à le pont. J’arrive à la barrière. J’escalade. Je saute. Je me réveille. Je retourne à le pont. J’entends un moteur vrombissement. Un camion vient à moi. Il me frappe. Je ne vois rien. Certain choses vous ne pouvez pas échappé.

(Jonathan Stockill, Year 7)

“Soit dit en passant, Harry,” dit le professeur Dumbledore à mi-chemin du livre six, “une prophétie dit que vous seul pouvez vaincre le mal Lord Voldemort. C’est pour ça qu’il essaie de te tuer. Vous devez détruire les sept morceaux de son â me, et il vous reste un livre pour le faire. Ne vous attendez pas à de l’aide de ma part; Je serai assassiné de façon spectaculaire en deux chapitres. En plus de cela, il ya des examens à passer et des remous hormonaux à composer avec. Maintenant, souhaitez-vous être allé à ce Muggle complet?”

(Ryan Kwarteng, Year 7)

C’était son premier jour. Après que sa carrière musicale n’ait pas fonctionné, Morhange s’est retrouvé à regarder la grande entrée de Fond de L’Etang, un endroit qu’il avait toujours voulu quitter mais qu’il n’avait jamais pu. Il est entré dans l’école et a vu son ancienne salle de classe. à l’intérieur, ses nouveaux élèves attendaient patiemment. Morhange pensa à Clément Mathieu et le remercia avant de prendre une profonde inspiration et d’entrer dans la pièce. Un étudiant a crié: “Qui êtes-vous?” Souriant, Morhange a dit “Bonjour classe. Je m’appelle M. Morhange. Je suis votre professeur de musique.”

(Riya Mistry, Year 9)

(Harriet Preston, Year 9)

A blog for students and teachers of Years 11 to 13, and anyone else with an interest in Modern Foreign Languages and Cultures, written by the staff and students of Oxford University. Updated every Wednesday!