Welcome to Women Writing London 2013

Three 2012 participants at the Solstice festival at Stonehenge.

Three 2012 participants at the Solstice festival at Stonehenge.

Hi Everyone,

Welcome to our course blog for Women Writing London.  This is where you will post your responses to the texts as you read them, and where you may be posting your final projects for the course as well.  You can use this post as a model for the kinds of features I’m looking for in a blog post.  While the writing will be similar to a response paper you might write and turn in on actual paper, the added digital features of a blog make the writing much more layered and visually captivating.  When I say that the writing is layered, I refer to your ability to create interesting links to relevant digital content on the web.  For example, in the caption to the picture that I inserted above, you will see that I’ve created links to additional information on Stonehenge and the Solstice Festival that we attended last year.  To create a link, simply highlight a word that you’ve typed, and click on the icon in your task bar that looks like a link.  I will give you a different Stonehenge link in this sentence, which will allow you to compare how the English Heritage Organization presents information about Stonehenge, to how UNESCO–the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization–portrays the site.

When you’re writing about the texts that we’re studying in class, I expect to see similar links, but instead of taking us to cultural sites such as these, you will use sites related to literary biography, critical sources, and cultural references that help us understand the text that you’re writing about in more depth.  So, for example, I’ve decided to wait until next year to teach Zadie Smith‘s new novel, NW, so I can use it to demonstrate what I’m looking for.  I’ve just linked her name to a great piece in Interview magazine, and the book title is linked to the New York Times Sunday Book Review.  Here is a picture of Smith, and the cover of her most recent novel:

Smith and NW

There is an interesting scene where the characters are spending an afternoon walking around Northwest London, and pass two interesting religious structures, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, a Hindu Temple in Neasden:

neasden Temple

And St. Mary’s Parish Church in Willesden, which probably looks a bit more like what you imagine a religious structure in England to look like:

Willesden church     willesden 2

The characters–and author–no doubt juxtapose these two images to illustrate something about the contemporary cultural and religious (not to mention architectural) realities of cosmopolitan London.

Finally, I’d like to share with you a link to a YouTube clip that shows Smith reading the opening passages of NW:

Your posts should be organized around a point that you’re trying to make around a text, whereas I’ve just strung together a lot of information on Smith’s most recent novel in order to illustrate the kinds of elements I will be looking for.

All posts should be categorized by the author or excursion that they are about, as well.  The categories can be found in the left menu bar. If you forget to do this, I will have a hard time finding your posts on any given author or excursion.

Please use the tutorials in WordPress to help find your way around the platform. It’s very user friendly. I will help in any way I can, as well.