Here’s a novel idea for literature buffs; spend a week immersed in the life of a favourite author, visit their old haunts to marvel at rare manuscripts and discuss their varied works with world-class scholars, all whilst living with likeminded folk in Cambridge University’s hallowed halls. Sounds marvellous doesn’t it? Well, it became a reality in 2015 when Dr Trudi Tate – a Fellow of Clare Hall, who teaches 19th and 20th century and modern literature – launched Literature Cambridge.
Enlisting an impressive roster of luminaries to teach, from ground-breaking Professor Dame Gillian Beer to distinguished art historian Professor Frances Spalding, Trudi’s inaugural summer course on Virginia Woolf in 2016 was a resounding success.
While summer schools exist elsewhere, Literature Cambridge offers a unique experience, attracting teachers, PhD students and fiction fans from as far afield as Spain, Germany, Hong Kong, Canada, the US, Australia and Brazil.
Pupils get unrivalled access to leading academics, so talking Tennyson over tea at Fitzbillies could be a reality! And excursions reveal hidden gems normally closed to the public: there’s a chance to see a lock of Charlotte Bronte’s hair preserved in a locket at the Wren Library or peer at the original manuscript of Woolf’s powerful A Room of One’s Own, penned in purple ink, at Fitzwilliam Museum.
Generally there’s two week-long summer courses, 2018’s focusing on Woolf and Politics, and Women Writers: Emily Bronte to Elizabeth Bowen, offering lectures, supervisions and sightseeing. In addition, there are intensive study days at Stapleford Granary, focusing on particular authors or texts.
Plans are already afoot for 2019’s summer schools, with Woolf and Gardens confirmed – and places already being snapped up by enthusiasts far and wide. How wonderful that Trudi’s decision to shine a spotlight on the greatest writers of our time is attracting a global following. We have great expectations for the future of Literature Cambridge!
Tel: 01223 324960