LitSIG: Literature in a time of Covid

Join IATEFL Literature SIG for this live webinar.

None of us has been untouched in one way or another by the Covid pandemic. It seems to have reached into every corner of our lives. So, it is hardly surprising that it has also seeped into literature. In this webinar we will be exploring the ways literature has become one of the ways we come to terms with the effects of the pandemic, and suggesting some possible positive spin-offs for language teaching

Claudia Ferradas:  Behind closed doors

How has lockdown affected our awareness of the way we spend our time by ourselves and with others? How can literature contribute to our reflection on issues such as isolation and the way we deal with vulnerability and loss? We will share short texts related to these themes to explore ways in which literature can encourage empathy and mediation in the classroom and in our personal lives.

Rob Hill: Disease and war in literature through the centuries

I will look at the way that outbreaks of disease have been dealt with in literature over the centuries. This brief survey will also include examples of literature reacting to massive, tragic loss of life that has resulted from other causes (for example, World War I). Is there anything in common between 'war literature' and what has sometimes been called 'plague literature'? I will then take examples from the literary genres of the novel, poetry and the journal/diary and look at some different ways in which each genre has dealt with its subject. And what are the emotional responses of the writers: rage, grief, blame, acceptance?

Jane Spiro: Living locally

The session will look at what can be learnt from staying in one place. The experience of quarantine and lockdown will be discussed in the light of locked down writers Pablo Neruda (in exile) and Christopher Smart (in prison) amongst others. From their example we will consider the beauty of common things when they are all we can see; and the habits of everyday creatures around us such as Christopher's cat Jeffrey when they are a sole daily companion. I will also share ways these locked down writers inspired my own writing during the quarantine months, and suggest activities for teachers to try out themselves and with their learners to turn lockdown into a way of looking.

Alan Maley: Resources and writing activities

I shall present some of the growing body of literature, especially poetry, devoted to the effects of Covid on our lives – and suggest some ways we might use it as a way of enriching our teaching and linking it more compellingly to students’ recent lived experience. I will also share a few poems from my own and other teacher’s writing prompted by the pandemic and lockdown.  I shall then discuss how we might involve students in creative writing projects drawing on the Pandemic and its consequences for our present and future lives.



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Event details

Event type:

SIG Webinar


09/10/2021 - 16:30 until 09/10/2021 - 18:30 UK time
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Free of charge