LitFest 2016 Review – Sixth Form Panel Debate
Thursday, October 13th, 2016
‘Reading 21st Century Style’
by Claire Maycock
A group of students from St John’s took part in a lively panel discussion with Angus Maclennan, from the White Horse Bookshop, and author an St John’s English teacher Sarah Singleton. The wide-ranging chat looked at reading habits in the 21st century and opinions were interestingly divided.
Graphic novels were seen by some of the panel as an important gateway to reading and a new cinematic artform. Others felt that the traditional novel offers more scope for the reader to use their imagination. Censorship was discussed and several of the students expressed concerns about the adult themes present in many books that, at first glance, seem to be aimed at younger children. However, a discussion of Beatrix Potter’s work seemed to confirm a long tradition of children’s books that don’t flinch from tackling darker subject matter.
The relative merits of e-books also divided the panel – with some praising their portability, economy and extra functions (such as being able to search for a quote) and others devoted to paper books, which they find easier to annotate, a welcome break from screen time and more likely to become treasured possessions.
Whatever your standpoint the key message is that reading is alive and well, and continues to inspire rich and entertaining debate!