Royal Literary Fund fellowship renewed


My Royal Literary Fund fellowship at St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, has been renewed for a second year of helping people write better and seeing students’ confidence growing with each tutorial session. The work feels both valuable and necessary.  Several students have told me  in tutorial that they felt stupid, when the truth was that they had simply never been taught the rules of grammar or certain techniques of literary writing. And we have remedied that lack fairly easily. I could weep at the numbers of young people who never get a chance to test their true potential and give up.  My experience so far has radicalised me on the subject of education.

I put up a sign* outside my office:

Look at that huge, hot dog.  Look at that huge hot dog.   I joke that a misplaced comma could start a war.  It can certainly change what you mean.

Punctuation and grammar are not about complicated rules: they’re about taking control of a powerful tool and making it work for you.

The nitty-gritty of grammar and punctuation is part of a writer’s craft. And a source of power.  It’s not enough in itself, but it certainly helps.

I’ll get off my soapbox now…


*with thanks to Lynne Truss