TS Heads Up on… Why the written word is still important

In a world shaped by Instagram, Twitter and Facebook, people are more likely to communicate using images, tweets and likes than through fully formed lines of elegant prose. On one level, there is nothing wrong with this as generations before have reshaped and reimagined the way they express themselves using the most up to date methods that they could find. But what is also clear, as the tech giants begin to hold more sway over the modern world, is that the undeniable skill of expressing ideas precisely and correctly could become an, increasingly, precious commodity. More than this though (and to avoid sounding like a disciple of Dickens’ infamous Malthusian educator, Chadgrind) the art of writing should, I believe, transcend mere commodification.

Crucially, the capacity to write fluently aids thought and creativity, with the well informed and skilled writer being able to comprehend and communicate more complex ideas than their less accomplished counterpart. Consequently, it is for these reasons that the English Department strives to make each pupil a better writer. Aside from lesson time devoted to fine-tuning writing style and expression, the Department’s very own writer in residence, Mrs Cutts, runs a weekly creative writing activity ( Monday 4.00 -5.00), enabling budding writers to share ideas and hone their own writing skills. Outside of school, the English Department promotes external writing competitions such as the Connell Essay Prize (https://www.connellguides.com/pages/essay-prize) and the Peterhouse English Prize (https://www.pet.cam.ac.uk/essay-prize-entry) while aspiring poets have recently submitted entries to the prestigious Christopher Tower Poetry Prize and the Bridport Poetry Prize. These competitions provide participants with the ideal opportunity to hone their writing skills and are a perfect bridge to an undergraduate course in English literature or a career in writing.

James Brodie, Head of English