Championing English

An Old Elizabethan starting his final year at Oxford returned to QE to extol the virtues of studying English.

Surya Bowyer (OE 2007–2014) spoke to the whole of Year 11 in the Main Hall and encouraged them to study English at A-level and at university. In the afternoon, he also conducted mock interviews for boys considering applying for an English degree.

English, he told his audience, is not only a very well-regarded degree, but can also lead to many interesting careers. For his part, he aims to become a barrister, possibly specialising in either commercial or family law. He said that participating in debating at School inspired him to consider this career.

Surya, who is at Keble College, is passionate about literature. His course at Oxford began with compulsory study of the canons of English literature, including Shakespeare. More recently, he has been able to choose to write a 6,000-word extended essay on Writers and the cinema and a Special Option 8,000-word dissertation on Donald Barthelme, a US short-story writer known as ‘the father of post-modern fiction’.

""Surya’s talk gave pupils an overview of university life and was leavened with some amusing anecdotes about cooking food at college. He happily answered boys’ questions.

In addition, he had some tips for those considering reading English at university on how to succeed in the pre-interview English Literature Admissions Test (ELAT), which is used for admission to English courses at Oxford and Cambridge.