Category Archives: Virtual Book Club

International Book Club – Summer Meeting

In this week’s blog post, our colleagues from The Queen’s College share details of their next International Book Club meeting – a really wonderful opportunity for school students to engage with literature from around the world!

The International Book Club for Schools is a chance for all learners of Modern Languages at UK schools in Years 11-13 / Scotland: S4-6 to explore foreign language books which have been translated into English with other like-minded, literature-loving students. As before, no knowledge of the original language is required to take part.

For those of you thinking you may like to study languages at university, there will also be a chance to hear more about what this would entail and to ask us your questions. These meetings are a perfect opportunity for you to explore books that aren’t on your school syllabus and to engage with some exciting literature in translation.  

To take part in the International Book Club, you will need to purchase and read a copy of the set book in advance of the session. You may like to make some notes on what you’ve read ­– for example, the key themes of the text, things you liked or disliked about the narrative or characters – that you would like to share during the Book Club. We will also send round some prompt questions in advance of the session for you to take a look at.

We’re delighted to announce that registration is now open for our next meeting! If you’d like to attend, please register by completing this Google Form.

Our next session will be held on Wednesday 6th July at 7pm, and we will be reading The Blacksmith’s Daughter by Selim Özdoğan, translated from German by Ayça Türkoğlu and Katy Derbyshire. It is the first instalment of the Anatolian Blues trilogy, telling the story of Gül, a Turkish girl who grows up in rural 1950s Anatolia and moves to Germany as a migrant worker.

V&Q Books have been kind enough to offer a 50% discount for our Book Club members, and the exclusive discount code will be shared with you over email once you have registered for a place. If your financial situation makes it impossible for you to purchase a copy of the book, please do drop us an email (translation.exchange@queens.ox.ac.uk) and we will do our best to work something out.

The meeting will take place over Zoom, and places are open to UK school pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13. Newcomers are always welcome!

 
***Please note that if we are oversubscribed for the International Book Club and are required to limit the numbers of attendees, we will select participants based on the contextual data they provide, giving priority to students attending UK state schools.*** 

If you have any questions about the Book Club, please let us know. 

Calling all literature lovers!

In this week’s blog post, our colleagues from The Queen’s College share details of their next International Book Club meeting – a really wonderful opportunity for school students to engage with literature from around the world!

The International Book Club is a chance for pupils in Years 11, 12 and 13/S4-6 to explore foreign language books which have been translated into English with other like-minded, literature-loving students. We meet once a term to discuss a foreign language book in English translation, so knowledge of the original language is required to take part. The meeting will take place over Zoom and newcomers are always welcome!

For those of you thinking that you may like to study languages at university, there will also be a chance to hear more about what this would entail and to ask us your questions. These meetings are a perfect opportunity for you to explore books that aren’t on your school syllabus and to engage with some exciting literature in translation.  

To take part in the International Book Club, you will need to read a copy of the set book in advance of the session. You may like to make some notes on what you’ve read ­– for example, the key themes of the text, things you liked or disliked about the narrative or characters – that you would like to share during the Book Club. 

Book cover image taken from Blackwell’s website

Our next session will be held on Wednesday 23rd March at 7pm, and we will be reading A Long Way from Douala by Swiss-Cameroonian author Max Lobe, translated by Ros Schwartz from French – and occasionally from Camfranglais, a mixture of French, (Pidgin) English, and indigenous Cameroonian languages including Beti-Fang, Bamileke and Duala, spoken mainly by young people in Cameroon. As we follow the narrator, Jean, and his best friend Simon across the country in search of a runaway older brother hoping to make it as a professional footballer in Europe, the book addresses weighty contemporary issues of migration, terrorism, and sexuality without ever losing its sense of humour.

If you would like to attend the book club, please register your interest by completing this Google form.

If you have any questions about the Book Club, please let us know! You can email us (translation.exchange@ox.ac.uk), or find us on Twitter.

***Please note that if we are oversubscribed for the International Book Club and are required to limit the numbers of attendees, we will select participants based on the contextual data they provide, giving priority to students attending UK state schools.*** 

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A reminder that we are still taking bookings for our Italian and Russian & Slavonic Languages Open Days, both taking place on Saturday 5th March. You can book your place here – don’t miss out on the chance to learn more about these exciting courses!

International Book Club

Our colleagues over at the Queen’s College Translation Exchange are once again running their International Book Club this term. The club meets once a term to discuss a novel translated into English from any language. The next event will be held via Zoom on Wednesday 25 November 2020 at 8pm, and the conversation will focus on Gine Cornelia Pedersen’s book, Zero, translated from Norwegian and published by Nordisk Books in 2018. The translator, Rosie Hedger, will also join the discussion.

For more details about how to take advantage of this fantastic opportunity to think about the process of translation, take a look at the International Book Club’s webpage. You’ll also find information there about how to get a special discount from the publisher if you purchase a copy of the book being discussed, and details about the books which have been the subject of previous International Book Club events.

German Classic Prize – ‘Der Sandmann’

Earlier this month, the Oxford German Network launched their third annual ‘German Classic Prize’. This is an essay competition for sixth formers (those going from Year 12 into Year 13 over the summer), which is designed to explore and celebrate a different ‘classic’ German text each year.

This year, the prize focuses on E.T.A. Hoffmann’s ‘Der Sandmann’ (1816) – one of the most captivating short stories in German literature and a masterpiece of Gothic fiction. Hoffmann’s eerie and mysterious tale centres on a young, impressionable student called Nathanael, who becomes convinced that he is pursued by a shadowy figure called Coppelius. Filled with Doppelgänger, mechanical dolls, alchemistic experiments, inexplicable fires, uncanny optical toys, and misaddressed letters, ‘Der Sandmann’ explores the power of the imagination as it erupts into a dark obsession.

The Oxford German Network is offering free study packs to Year 12/ Lower Sixth students who wish to take part. You can find more details about this here – be sure to request a study pack by midday on 10 June 2019.

In connection with this prize, the Oxford German Network has also produced a fantastic video podcast series about the text. One of these videos forms part of a special tie-in with our Virtual Book Club.

The episode below is a discussion between doctoral student, Karolina, and three undergraduates about an extract from Hoffmann’s short story. The full story is available here, and the extract under discussion begins ‘Seltsamer und wunderlicher’ and runs until ‘nicht anzufangen.’

Virtual Book Club returns to French

The Virtual Book Club is back, and this episode features a discussion of a text in French. Here, Junior Research Fellow, Macs, talks to undergraduates Isobel and Hector about a short extract from Rachid Boudjedra’s Topographie idéale pour une agression caractérisée (Paris: Denoël, 1975, pp. 173-4).

They consider questions such as:

  • What is the style of this passage? Is it difficult to read and understand and if so, why?
  • Is there a relationship between the style and what’s happening in the excerpt?
  • What kinds of translation take place in this passage?
  • How does the protagonist respond to the image of the lotus? Is it right to say that he’s reading the advertisement even though he’s supposedly illiterate? Is he misreading it? What would a “correct” reading of this advertisement look like?
  • What language skills are required to read a map or an advertisement?

If you would like to be sent a copy of the text so you can follow the discussion, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

The next episode will be on German, and will be a special tie-in with this year’s German Classic Prize. Stay tuned…

Virtual Book Club: Italian Episode

In January, the Virtual Book Club returned with our first ever Spanish episode. Swift on its heels, here is the second episode of 2019, which focusses on Italian. This episode is a discussion of an extract from Le città invisibili (Invisible Cities), by Italo Calvino. The discussion is led by doctoral researcher Rebecca, with undergraduates Pauline and Maga. If you would like to sign up to receive a copy of the text, or to receive information about future episodes, please email schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

Out last Italian episode is available here. Stay tuned for the next episodes in French and German over the next few months!

Virtual Book Club: Spanish Episode

Good news, bookworms! After an extended hiatus while this year’s cohort of undergraduates settled into the academic year, the Virtual Book Club is back, this time with an episode focussing on Spanish. This episode features a discussion about an extract from El castigo sin venganza (Punishment Without Revenge), a seventeenth-century play by Lope de Vega.

The discussion is led by doctoral researcher Rebecca, with undergraduates Lottie and Hector. They consider how the extract deals with questions of masculinity, honour, and morality, and ask how our reading as a twenty-first-century audience might differ from that of an early modern audience. Sixth formers interested in the Medieval and Modern Languages course at Oxford might be interested to know that the course offers the opportunity to study literature throughout the ages, from the medieval to the present. This episode is designed to offer a glimpse into the early modern period, and how some of the central questions asked by writers at that time continue to resonate in new ways today.

If you would like to receive a copy of the text, which will be provided in both the original Spanish and an English translation, or if you would like future Virtual Book Club updates, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

 

Virtual Book Club: German episode

The Virtual Book Club returns once more, this time with an episode focussing on German. The German episode features a discussion about a short story by Franz Kafka, ‘Der Kaufmann’ [The Tradesman]. Here, Joanna Raisbeck leads the discussion with undergraduates Hannah and Colleen, as they consider the questions: what is the tradesman worried about?; what does he think about in the lift?; and why do you think he has these thoughts in the lift?

If you would like to receive a copy of the text, which will be provided in both the original German and an English translation, or if you would like future Virtual Book Club updates, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

Virtual Book Club: the Portuguese episode!

The Virtual Book Club returns once again, and this time with an episode in Portuguese. This episode features a discussion about the poem ‘Paisagem’ by Maria Manuela Margarido (1925 – 2007), which was translated by Julia Kirst in 1995. Margarido was from São Tomé and Príncipe. Throughout her writing life she spoke out against colonialism, becoming a prominent voice in the liberation of Portuguese colonies in Africa.

Here, doctoral student Alex discuss the text with two undergraduates, Clare and Ebere, looking at topics like anxiety about colonialism, the role of the poetic voice, and the use of surreal imagery.

If you would like to receive a copy of the poem (in both the original Portuguese and the English translation) to follow as you watch the discussion, or if you would like future Virtual Book Club updates, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk

Virtual Book Club: Italian takes a turn

The Virtual Book Club is back once again, this time with an episode on Italian. The Italian episode features a discussion about a poem by Patrizia Cavalli, which was published in 1992. Here, doctoral student Nicolò Crisafi guides two undergraduates, Kirsty and Hannah, through the poem, looking at topics like gender, voice, and form.

If you would like to receive a copy of the poem to follow as you watch the discussion, or if you would like future Virtual Book Club updates, please email us at schools.liaison@mod-langs.ox.ac.uk