Atwood discusses her work, the value of the humanities

first_imgFor author Margaret Atwood, known for novels such as “The Handmaid’s Tale,” stories and story telling are a quintessential part of the human experience. Wednesday, she explained the value of a liberal arts education in the present day.“It’s something that the human race has always done,” she said. “They’ve not always done algebra. … The most distinguishing feature of us as human beings is that we are story tellers and we’re enabled to be story tellers because we have evolved grammars with past tenses and future tenses.”Her novel “The Handmaid’s Tale” features women characters who have been barred from reading, but Atwood said that literature is important because of the stories being told. Katelyn Valley Margaret Atwood engages with the audience during the Christian Culture Lecture at Saint Mary’s Wednesday. In an interview, Atwood discussed the importance of a liberal arts education and the study of the humanities.“Story-telling is one of our primary means of communication and the humanities are about stories,” she said. “That is why it is important and why we should understand stories, understand how they work, and also be able to tell fake news from real news. … We should at least be aware. Words are powerful, stories are powerful.”“The Handmaid’s Tale” has most recently been adapted into a Hulu series, but it has also adapted as a ballet, a play, an opera and will soon be a graphic novel, she said.“Some books escape from their covers,” she said. “This is one of them. … It happens when that character or that story resonates with people in a way that something just in a book does not particularly.”Atwood said she approves of the Hulu show, despite certain creative liberties that were taken. She served as a consultant on the show, but the team that worked on it was dedicated to updating it to the modern day while still keeping the message and spirit of the novel.“The show runner and head writer, Bruce Miller, was determined … to be faithful to the premises of the book, and he remained faithful to them,” she said. “Also, luckily, they brought on a team — which included Elizabeth Moss as an executive producer — and a lot of women involved in it.“It’s not just a show for them, it’s not just another show. It’s a pivotal important thing in their life, so they gave it their all — you can tell.”Since the 2016 election, fans of Atwood have noted similarities between political beliefs in America and the fictional world of Gilead in her novel. However, Atwood said she could not have predicted this election when she published the novel in 1986, and the Hulu adaption was written before the election.“It’s a bizarre coincidence,” she said. “The election did not change any of that. It put a different frame around it, so people saw it differently. The election had not been that way, they would have said, ‘Phew, this isn’t happening,’ but instead they’re saying, ‘Gosh some of this is happening’ so that is a different frame.”Atwood said people are noticing these similarities because they read literature through the lens of the experiences they have.“We read stories different according to the time we’re in,” she said. “Some people become heroes who weren’t before and other people become villains that weren’t before. So where we are has a lot to do with how we see not only history, but also fictions [and] plays.”Atwood’s novel focuses on the oppression of women in a dystopian world. She said women’s education and empowerment is important not just because it helps women, but because it can positively affect society as a whole.“There’s always pushback when someone wants to change the status quo because the people who have power in the status quo are afraid they’re going to lose some of it,” she said. “As soon as you give women the power to create little businesses and the education to be able to do it, not only does the economy go up, but their status within that economy also goes up.”Atwood said students — especially women at institutions like Saint Mary’s — are well equipped to enter the workforce because companies look for liberal arts majors nowadays. She said a liberal arts education comes with enhanced lateral thinking, better communication skills, and an understanding of stories, which have been proven to help people learn better.“In your life, equipping you for life, it does help to know what Shakespeare play you’re in at the moment.”Tags: Liberal Arts, Margaret Atwood, storytelling, the handmaid’s talelast_img read more

Littlestone sign Women in Golf Charter

first_img Littlestone Golf Club has pledged to become a beacon for equality across Kent after signing up to The R&A’s Women in Golf Charter.The charter is designed to develop a more inclusive culture within golf, to encourage increased participation from women and girls and to allow them to reach their full potential as golfers.Clubs which sign up to the charter are committed to providing a welcoming and inspiring environment for women to play the sport or to work in the golf industry.Littlestone – a renowned links course on the Kent coast since its creation in 1888 – is justifiably proud of its heritage.In 1894, the course staged the first ever Ladies’ Golf Union Championship and remains an innovator in the sphere of women and girls’ golf.The club is already committed to driving up participation levels through a series of initiatives and has been a supporter of England Golf and the Golf Foundation’s ‘Girls Golf Rocks’ campaign in previous years.Now with current ladies’ captain Sheila Stirling (pictured above) acting as Littlestone’s charter champion, the focus is on encouraging more and more women and girls to get out on the course as well as playing a full and active role in the governance of the club.Sarah Saunders, club membership and marketing manager at Littlestone, said: “The board has been in discussions for a long time about how to increase the number of women involved within the business and to increase the membership.“When we learned of the charter, we were very keen to sign up to it as a way of rubber-stamping the club’s commitment.“We hope that Littlestone will be a beacon for equality across the region.”Littlestone currently has 150 women members with six girls in the junior section.However, it is hoped that these figures will rise in the years ahead thanks to coaching programmes driving greater numbers towards the sport.The club runs a successful schools’ programme which includes after-school clubs and free group lessons every Saturday.Coaching and coffee mornings are also held for female non-golfers and improvers as they integrate into club life.Saunders added: “Our charter champion is current Lady Captain, Sheila Stirling. She will continue to be our champion after her tenure.“Sheila has proved to be an inspirational captain and through her we have seen an increase both in women’s membership numbers and in the number of women participating in events.”With clubhouse facilities for women being upgraded and initiatives in place to inspire the next generation of girl golfers, Littlestone is excited about the future.Sarah McDonald, a member of Littlestone,  believes improvements to the governance of the sport will play a key role in developing the game.In 2020, there are plans to unite the Kent Golf Union and the county’s ladies’ association.She added: “As Kent Golfing Union secretary, I became the first female secretary of a golf union in England.“I’m a firm believer that sport is for everyone irrespective of their background and gender.“It has been great to see the way that golf has moved forward in recent years, particularly in Kent.“There are now mixed golf events at our clubs, boys and girls playing and training together in the same competitions and in our Kent Golf-approved junior academies.”Littlestone has followed Pleasington Golf Club in Lancashire, Enville Golf Club in Staffordshire, Boldon Golf Club in Durham, Yorkshire’s Harrogate Golf Club and Surrey’s Walton Heath Golf Club in becoming early signatories of the charter.Over 30 clubs the length and breadth of England are currently working on achieving charter status early in the new year with many more ready to follow suit later in 2020.For more details on how clubs can apply for Women in Golf Charter status please click hereView Littlestone Golf Club’s commitment 16 Dec 2019 Littlestone sign Women in Golf Charter last_img read more

Welcome a Foreign Exchange Student into your Family for the…

first_imgFacebook14Tweet0Pin0 Submitted by International Cultural Exchange ServicesAre you interested in different countries, cultures and languages? Would you enjoy teaching a young person about the American culture and lifestyle? If so, you are an excellent candidate for hosting a high school foreign exchange student!ICES (International Cultural Exchange Services) invites you and your family to join thousands of other families across the U.S. who enjoy the enriching and rewarding experience of becoming a volunteer host family.ICES is a nonprofit organization to promoting a peaceful world by increasing international awareness and understanding through cultural sharing experience. We offer students aged 15 to 18 the opportunity to live with volunteer host families and study in local high school for a semester or an academic school year.You and your family will learn first-hand about a foreign country from the perspective of an exchange student and you will have the chance to establish a wonderful friendship.  The exchange student will become a member of your family and you will share many adventures together.ICES host families represent the diversity of American culture from varied academic, religious and racial backgrounds, including couples without children, singles, single parents and empty-nesters.Host families are expected to provide the exchange student with his/her own room or a separate bed (if they share a room with a host sibling of similar age and same gender), daily meals with the family and some local transportation. All students arrive in the USA with medical insurance, their own spending money and proper visa documentation.ICES has a strong and dedicated network of Local Representatives and Regional Directors that will help you to find the perfect foreign exchange student that will fit into your family. The Local Representative will also provide support for you and your student and prepare you and your family before the student’s arrival. Throughout the year we will be available to you for supervising your student through monthly communication by phone, in-person casual meetings or student/host family group activities.So don’t hesitate and call or send an email to our Local Representative for Thurston County to get more information and get started with your amazing adventure as a host family.Contact Information: Vera Peppler (Local Representative)  [email protected],  360-688-3001last_img read more