The lofty heights of literature

Year 8 pupil Guy Flint has been announced as the winner of this year’s QE Big Read competition.

For the annual Big Read competition, organised by English teacher Panayiota Menelaou, pupils are challenged to have a photograph taken of themselves during the summer holidays reading a book in the most unusual location they can think of. The winning picture of Guy shows him devouring The London Eye Mystery (a children’s mystery novel published in 2007) while sitting in the cable car going up to the peak at Funchal on the island of Madeira. He wins a book token as his prize.

Congratulating him, Headmaster Neil Enright said the competition was an example of the creative ways in which the School seeks to encourage reading. The opening of The Queen’s Library and the continuing investment in building up its collections further demonstrate QE’s commitment to literature, the Headmaster added.

""The importance of reading has risen to the top of the political agenda recently following Schools Minister Nick Gibbs’ idea to get 100 great works of English literature published at low cost so they could be distributed to schools. As part of an article in The Times on the somewhat mixed reception that the idea has received, Mr Enright was asked to name his favourite reading suitable for schools.

Mr Enright said: “There is of course a debate to be had about exactly which books should be on the Government’s list, but the renewed emphasis on the importance of reading is surely welcome. Not only does reading high-quality literature develop pupils’ linguistic abilities, but it also exposes them to the works of great intellects and gives them a grounding in the best that our culture has to offer.”

""Mr Enright gave The Times his own suggestions for boys to read at school, including on his list only titles that are out-of-print and therefore cheaper to publish. These were:

  • Flatland, by Edwin Abbott Abbott
  • Oliver Twist, by Charles Dickens
  • The Hound of the Baskervilles, by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • The Turn of the Screw, by Henry James
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • War and Peace, by Tolstoy
  • A Journey to the Centre of the Earth, by Jules Verne.