Novelist Chinua Achebe dies, aged 82

While the world watches the health of Nelson Mandela, one of the best-known African writers of English has died. Chinua Achebe’s novels are staples of university curricula and his critique of Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is studied in English Literary Texts in Context (first year).

Novelist Chinua Achebe dies, aged 82 | Books | The Guardian.

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Dutch pass English language test in third place

‘The Netherlands is ranked third in the world for its proficiency in English as a second language, according to research by Education First. The English Proficiency Index is headed by Sweden and Denmark. In total, 1.7 million people in 54 countries were tested to compile the ranking.’Our index shows that proficiency in English goes hand in hand with more exports, more innovation and higher gross national product,’ said the organisation’s spokeswoman Petra Cubretovic. ‘This proves the importance of speaking the world’s first language properly.’The Netherlands is the only country where men and women have equal standards of English. In most countries, women have better language skills.’ via DutchNews.nl – Dutch pass English language test in third place.

Film Lecture

Tilo Hartmann from the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam will talk about “Peak experiences: Exploring users’ sad and meaningful experiences during film exposure.” The lecture will take place on Thursday, March 28, from 6-8pm in the Van der Leeuwzaal (Academy Building).

Minister to get tougher on students who slack

‘Education minister Jet Bussemaker wants colleges and universities to be able to expel failing students in the second and third year of their courses.At the moment, only students in their first year of higher education are told to give up their studies if they are falling behind. Bussemaker wants this to be introduced for second and third year students as well, she told MPs in a briefing on Tuesday.The minister is planning to experiment with this new policy with students who start their university or college course after this summer or in the 2014 academic year.Bussemaker hopes the move will increase the tempo in which students finish their courses. Most Dutch bachelor degrees are supposed to be completed in three but many students take longer.Fourth year students will not be affected.’ via DutchNews.nl – Minister to get tougher on students who slack.

Public lecture: Witnessing Drama from the Cycle Plays to Shakespeare

The Department of English and the Agricola Seminar invite you to the Annual MacDonald Lecture: ‘Reviewing the Spectatorial Turn: Witnessing Drama from the Cycle Plays to Shakespeare’.

Prof. Alasdair MacDonald (emeritus, RUG) and Prof. Greg Walker (Edinburgh)
Prof. Alasdair MacDonald (emeritus, RUG) and Prof. Greg Walker (Edinburgh)

Speaker: Greg Walker, Regius Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature at the University of Edinburgh.

Time/Date: Monday 11 March at 4pm

Venue: Academy Building A7

Prof. Walker teaches literature of the medieval and early modern periods. His publications include:

  • The Oxford Handbook of Tudor Drama, co-edited with Thomas Betteridge (Oxford University Press, 2012)
  • The Oxford Handbook of Medieval Literature, co-edited with Elaine Treharne (Oxford University Press, 2010)
  • Writing Under Tyranny: English Literature and the Henrician Reformation (Oxford University Press, 2005, 2007)
  • ed. Medieval Drama: An Anthology (Blackwell, 2000)
  • The Politics of Performance in Early Renaissance Drama (Cambridge University Press, 1998; paperback, 2006)
  • ed.: John Skelton (Everyman Poetry Library, 1997)
  • Persuasive Fictions: Faction, Faith, and Political Culture in the Reign of Henry VIII (Scolar Press, 1996)
  • Plays of Persuasion: Drama and Politics at the Court of Henry VIII (Cambridge University Press, 1991)
  • John Skelton and the Politics of the 1520s (Cambridge University Press, 1988, 2002)