Author Archives: Alice Allwright

Afterlives book cover

Abdulrazak Gurnah publishes new novel: ‘Afterlives’

Abdulrazak GurnahSchool of English Emeritus Professor, has just published a new novel, entitled Afterlives (Bloomsbury, 2020).

Afterlives tells the story of three characters whose lives interlink. Restless, ambitious Ilyas was stolen from his parents by the Schutzruppe askari, the German colonial troops; after years away, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away.

Hamza was not stolen, but was sold; he has come of age in the army, at the right hand of an officer whose control has ensured his protection but marked him for life. Hamza does not have words for how the war ended for him. Returning to the town of his childhood, all he wants is work, however humble, and security – and the beautiful Afiya.

The century is young. The Germans and the British and the French and the Belgians and whoever else have drawn their maps and signed their treaties and divided up Africa. As they seek complete dominion they are forced to extinguish revolt after revolt by the colonised. The conflict in Europe opens another arena in east Africa where a brutal war devastates the landscape.

As these interlinked friends and survivors come and go, live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away.

Further details about the book can be found on the publisher’s website. 

Abdulrazak Gurnah’s new novel ‘Afterlives’ reviewed in Evening Standard

Abdulrazak GurnahSchool of English Emeritus Professor, has had his new novel Afterlives (Bloomsbury, 2020) reviewed in the Evening Standard.

Afterlives tells the story of three characters: restless, ambitious Ilyas was stolen from his parents by German colonial troops; after years away, he returns to his village to find his parents gone, and his sister Afiya given away. Hamza was not stolen, but was sold; he has come of age in the schutztruppe, at the right hand of an officer whose control has ensured his protection but marked him for life. As these interlinked friends and survivors come and go, live and work and fall in love, the shadow of a new war lengthens and darkens, ready to snatch them up and carry them away.

In the Evening Standard review, Jane Shilling writes: ‘in concert halls, museums, public institutions and city streets, a passionate debate is taking place about colonialism and the value of individual lives. It is a question that Abdulrazak Gurnah has repeatedly addressed in his long career as a novelist’.

‘A tender account of the extraordinariness of ordinary lives, Afterlives combines entrancing storytelling with writing whose exquisite emotional precision confirms Gurnah’s place among the outstanding stylists of modern English prose’.

The full review can be read on the Evening Standard’s website. 

And further details about the book can be found on the publisher’s website. 

Language taster sessions

Would you like to learn a new skill? Why not consider learning a language!

The Language Centre are offering free online taster sessions in Arabic, Mandarin, Japanese and Russian on Wednesday 23 September.

12.00 – 13.00 – Arabic

13.00 – 14.00 – Mandarin

14.00 – 15.00 – Japanese

15.00 – 16.00 – Russian

The taster sessions are free  to all Kent University students and no previous experience of any of the languages is required. You will gain some understanding of key traditions, learn and pronounce a range of simple key words, engage in basic everyday communication, find out how introduce yourself in the language, learn simple greetings and farewell phrases.

For more information, visit the Language Centre website or email languages@kent.ac.uk

David Stirrup on 400th anniversary of Mayflower voyage for NBC

Professor David Stirrup, Professor of American Literature and Indigenous Studies in the School of English, has provided a comment for an article entitled Native Americans reclaim history 400 years after Mayflower landing for NBC News.

On 16 September 1620, the Mayflower set sail from Portsmouth and landed at Cape Cod after 66 days at sea. The Europeans encountered the Native American Wampanoag tribe, who helped them to survive their first winter. However, their interaction did not remain peaceful, with European diseases killing many of Native Americans, and rising tensions leading to war.

While the European settlers kept detailed records, the Wampanoag did not have a written language to record their experience. In the piece, David argues that this colonial perspective undermines not only the tragedies Native Americans endured, but also their contributions to history.

David says: ‘some of the people who helped the pilgrims survive that first winter had already been to Europe. Some of them spoke enough English to mediate. They were organised societies, not uncharted peoples just waiting for European forms of ‘civilization’. The native people played a quite considerable role in the development of the modern world, [they] weren’t just kind of agencyless victims of it’. 

The full piece can be read on NBC’s website. 

The Gulbenkian

Gulbenkian Café Kitchen Reopens

From Monday 21 September, Gulbenkian Café will be serving hot food (eat in or takeaway) on weekday lunchtimes (Mon – Fri 12-2.30).

Our lunchtime menu includes favourites like our Homemade Thai Fishcakes, Sweet Chilli Chicken Burger, and Chicken and Avocado Cesar Salad, plus toasties and jacket potatoes.

The café offers drinks, cakes and snacks at other times, with full opening hours listed below:

Monday – 8.30 – 15.00*,

Tue – Fri – 8.30 – 15.00* & 18.00 – 20.00

Saturday – 18.00 – 20.00

Sunday 13.00 -15.30

(*Hot food served 12-12.30)

Woman in blue jeans and yellow top using a Macbook Pro

Care first webinars w/c 21 September

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 21 September – Friday 25 September) webinars are as follows:

Monday 21 September 2020 –  ‘How Care first can support you & an update on our services’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 22 September 2020 – ‘Positive Minds’
Time: 12.30-13.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 23 September 2020 –  ‘Fake News’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 24 September 2020 – ‘Returning to the Workplace
Time: 12.00-13.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 25 September 2020 – ‘Work Life Balance’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Dan Harding with Julie Wassmer, Dominic King and Michelle Harris, image credit Olivia Harding

The Whitstable Pearl Mysteries and Music

Turn on your radio and listen to the Dominic King show on BBC Radio Kent for a two-part series featuring Daniel Harding, Head of Musical Performance at Kent.

In the series, Dan will be in conversation with the Whitstable-based crime writer, Julie Wassmer, about the use of music in her ‘Whitstable Pearl’ series of crime novels, which are set in Kent.

The first episode will be broadcast Wednesday 16 September at 20.12 and the second episode will be going out Thursday 17 September at 20.12.

THE DOMINIC KING SHOW

Monday – Thursday  18.00 – 21.00

The Arts Show for Kent

Social Media channels: @bbcradiokent @DominicKingBBC #TDKS

 

John-Wayne-394468_1920

Nostalgia interview with Reverend Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony

In the latest episode of the Nostalgia podcast series, Dr Chris Deacy, Head of the Department of Religious Studies, interviews Reverend Dr Justin Lewis-Anthony who did his PhD in Religious Studies at Kent from 2008-12 and was Chris’ first PhD student to complete.

Justin talks about how he ended up doing a PhD with Chris, and why the topic of leadership was something that made him angry. He talks about how cinema is the functioning mythological delivery system of this age and how many people expect Church leaders to function like John Wayne, while Justin would rather teach people to be disciples.

Justin also tells us why he’s bored by dark superheroes, and we find out about the problem with thinking of authenticity as an empirical standard and why it’s not a goal for human flourishing. Justin reveals why he isn’t crippled by memories of the past and having a sensitivity to one’s surroundings and history in the context of having a Welsh father. He talks about ‘disasters survived’ and recognising one’s responsibilities to others rather than introspection.

At the end of the interview, Justin talks about what it is that justifies his own existence, and the danger of living one’s life through one’s children.

Person using Micrsoft Surface black laptop next to a notebook and pen

Care first webinars w/c 14 September 2020

Our official Employee Assistance Programme provider, Care first offers a numbers of services and provide useful advice and support, including weekly webinars.

This week’s (Monday 14 September – Friday 18 September) webinars are as follows:

Monday 14 September 2020 –  ‘‘How Care first can support you & an update on our services’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link.

Tuesday 15 September 2020 – ‘Bullying, Harassment & COVID-19’
Time: 11.00-12.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Wednesday 16 September 2020 –  ‘Returning to the Workplace following lockdown’
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Thursday 17 September 2020 – ‘Separation Anxiety – Life after lockdown’
Time: 12.00-13.00 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Friday 18 September 2020 – ‘Stress, Resilience & Mental Health Awareness Session
Time: 12.00-12.30 – to register please click on this Go to webinar link

Crafting through Covid: A Virtual Sew Along and Conversation

Research Excellence Team and KMTV have joined forces again with School of English to do an online sewing event Wednesday 16 September at 19.00 – 20.00

Join the team for a  virtual evening of sewing and conversation about 18th-needlework and the pleasures of crafting through Covid with Prof. Jennie Batchelor (18th Century Studies, School of
English) and Alison Larkin ( Practicing embroiderer).

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a resurgence in handicrafts as ever more people recognise the health benefits of making. Following the 2020 publication of Jane Austen Embroidery (Batchelor and Larkin), interest in the patterns has grown and their motifs are finding their way onto a range of modern objects from tote bags to face masks.

Everyone who registers will receive free instructions for a new project (not in the book) based on a 1798 design in the Lady’s Magazine to have a go at in the event or at people’s leisure.

During the event, we will be talking Covid crafting and sharing images and videos of your creative work and experiences of making during the pandemic.

To book your place, visit the Crafting through Covid Eventbrite webpage.

Coronavirus

Covid-19 update – 9 September 2020

2020 has been a year like no other. We have all had to adapt, learn new coping strategies and find ways to stay connected with family and colleagues. The same can be said for our students, many of whom have experienced financial and emotional hardship relating to the pandemic.

Returning safely to campus

As we approach the start of our new academic year, it is important to please remember we all have a part to play in keeping our campus safe. For those of you returning to campus, you’ll see lots of new signage reminding us all of the expected behaviours. These messages are important for staff, students and visitors alike as we all have a responsibility to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. The health, wellbeing and safety of our staff and students has been our main priority when making changes to our campus. It has been a long planning process and it is great to see some of our facilities and services now open. If you are on campus, most of our catering outlets are now open, or will be opening shortly, and are offering takeaway or socially distanced seating.

We have welcomed back many students already through a phased return to campus, before term starts on 21 September. Approximately 350 students are arriving back to the Canterbury campus each day and over 600 are now settled into our on-campus accommodation. Thank you to colleagues who have helped make this possible. By reducing the number of students joining us each day, we can keep within social distancing guidelines and keep campus operations running smoothly.

On-site Covid-19 testing facilities

The University has been working closely with the Directors of Public Health for Kent County Council and Medway Council to establish a local testing site (LTS) on both campuses. This is now in place in Canterbury at Rutherford carpark. The Medway LTS will be in place shortly. 

The Canterbury LTS began operating on 5 September 2020 and is open between 8am and 8pm 7 days per week, excluding bank holidays. 

This on-site testing service is open to staff, students and members of the public. All tests must be booked in advance online and no drop in appointments will be available. Each LTS is a self-contained unit, containing all its own power, water, storage and waste facilities. During opening hours there is a dedicated Site Lead. The LTS is also monitored by 24/7 security. Because each LTS is totally self-contained and externally managed, there is no need for individuals being tested or LTS staff to access any University buildings. 

Staff can book a test via the Government Coronavirus website. Further information is available on our dedicated Staff Coronavirus pages.

Community relations

By working together and helping each other through this difficult time, we can create a positive and supportive culture. This is as important in the local community as it is on campus. We are working closely with local partners and residents’ associations on a joined-up approach to community safety. This includes producing a range of communications with our HE and FE equivalents, ensuring we promote a consistent message to all our students. 

Understandably, some residents are concerned about the impact students could have on the spread of Covid-19. Ensuring that our students study, socialise and live safely is of paramount importance to us. Whether living on or off campus, we will treat student households the same way and students will be expected to abide by Government guidelines, including the latest changes in the law which come into effect from Monday.

We will ensure students understand the social distancing guidelines for gatherings of more than one household. This information is also being reinforced by our councils and other local partners.

We are creating a new Community page on our Coronavirus website which will be published shortly. Our Community Newsletter will also be available soon, telling residents all about the work we are doing to ensure students have a positive impact in the local area.