Review: Full English Festival

Review: Full English Festival

Full English Festival

Jimmie Franklin reviews two events from this year’s Full English Festival; a Journalism Workshop led by Ben Bryant and an LGBT equality lecture from Declan Kavanagh.

As a founding subject at the University, the School of English has a long and successful history. Those among its alumni include Newsnight presenter and current chancellor of the University, Gavin Esler, as well as the author of Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro. With this in mind, it is unsurprising that the English society, along with the Creative Writing society, have taken it upon themselves to organise a week of festivities.

Having been established last year, this year’s addition offered a variety of different events within the domains of literature and creative writing. This included a piece encouraging attendees to find their old diaries in Dig Up Your Diary and also boasted a variety of speeches and lectures by leading academics and journalists. I was lucky enough to go along to two of the events: a Journalism Workshop put together by Ben Bryant, and a lecture by Declan Kavanagh titled What Happens After We Get To Say I Do?. This looked retrospectively at how the Republic of Ireland’s attitudes have changed toward same sex relationships since their independence in the early 20th century.

Ben Bryant is a journalist that is currently working for VICE news. VICE is a media outlet that looks beyond what the mainstream news covers. For much of its existence, it has addressed many issues surrounding subcultures and issues of post-colonialism globally. This is why it is ideal to be featured at the Full English Festival, descending from a subject at Kent that has dedicated much of its research to post-colonial literature. The journalism workshop was insightful and a great way to offer Kent undergraduates the opportunity to learn some skills in a sector that is notoriously hard to break into.

On the Friday, Declan Kavanagh delivered his lecture on the issue of LGBT equality, not only in Ireland, but all over the world. It was an insightful venture that made the audience question just how much same sex marriage can do for full social equality for the lesbian and gay community. He also shed light on several literary works in Ireland that feature homosexual characters. In this brief history of the Irish campaign for equality, we not only heard of the unfortunate lives of authors who wrote about LGBT issues but also the censoring that the country bestowed upon these themes until just a few decades ago.

While it is still in its early days, I am sure that the Full English Festival shall continue to flourish. Unfortunately, it seems only able to reach those who partake in the subject at the moment, but I am certain that in the years to come it will be a more widespread asset to the University. It offers academia, fun, and career perspectives to students – I look forward to attending the festival again in 2016!


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