Reflecting and looking forward…

And following on from Nela’s post about her Stirling journey, as promised, an equally great post from Charlotte who graduated last June in French and Spanish and who reflects here on the year that has just gone by and the year that lies ahead:

‘Looking back on 2020, as a whole, it has been a rollercoaster! In January, I started my final semester of my French and Spanish degree, not quite knowing where it was going to take me yet. In my head at the time, I had been more focused on postgraduate applications, graduation, and grad ball.

Final semester was in full swing and as we know, the last few weeks weren’t as we thought they were going to be. The day after the University announced its closure, I packed up my things from my Stirling flat and went back up to Inverness to complete my first experience of ‘virtual learning’, which I think we can all agree isn’t the easiest thing to do! 

Nevertheless, Uni finished, I completely exceeded my expectations of myself with my degree award and I had accepted my place at The University of Highlands and Islands to complete my PGDE in Primary Education. I had always gone back to the idea of becoming a Primary Teacher, but when originally applying for university in 2014, it had never crossed my mind to go straight into it. In my head I wanted to go to University to study something non-career specific and something I felt passionate about which was French and Spanish. If I wanted to become a teacher by the end of it, I could do it as a postgraduate.  

I am so glad I took this route. Studying French and Spanish gave me so many tools and transferable skills that have been indispensable and so useful for my journey to becoming a teacher. The biggest learning curves definitely came during my year as an English Language Assistant in Spain through the way it helped me grow my confidence and my love for teaching.  

I’m writing this in December 2020 and I have now completed about 15 weeks of the PGDE programme. I’d be lying if I said it has been easy. Online learning has been tough with lack of interaction, especially when you are becoming a teacher where your whole career involves socialising and communicating in person! However, I have been very, very lucky. Through the University I have made some great friends (virtually) from study groups and classes, and I have loved the practical side to things.  

Because of Covid-19, I have only completed 4 weeks of placement so far, but I have loved every second of being in the classroom. I have been really fortunate to have had a really welcoming and supportive school and the kids have been amazing. By the end of the 4 weeks, I really didn’t want to leave and go back to online classes and the kids were super sad about it. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is that for my second placement I get to return to the same class. I am already so excited and have been thinking non-stop about what I can do next with the kids. 

I am so excited to see what 2021 has in store for me in terms of completing the PGDE and seeing where it will take me. You never know, I might end up back in Stirling…’

Many, many thanks to Charlotte for having taken the time to send us through the post and we wish you all the very best for the second placement, and for the rest of your PGDE and beyond. Do keep in touch! And thanks also to Alfie (Charlotte’s cat) for reminding us of the unexpected side of the online learning environment…

My Journey at Stirling

Bonne année to all blog readers and welcome back to the French at Stirling blog! Our teaching semester starts again next Monday and we’re really pleased to be able to start our blog year with a couple of lovely posts, first this one by Nela, who is currently in her 3rd year of her International Management with European Languages and Society degree, and then an article by Charlotte who graduated last year:

‘Salut! When I was just 18 years old, I was unsure about my future. All of my friends back home in Spain were heading right to university after finishing A levels, without even questioning the degree that they were going to be choosing. This was not my case. In fact, I was too lost to decide and commit to a career. At that age, I was simply not ready. Today, I am glad I made a break to travel and explore the world. As part of a gap year, I travelled and worked abroad. The Netherlands was one of my destinations, where I worked at an organic greenhouse which helped me discover one of my passions: sustainability.

When I visited Scotland, I started exploring options for my university studies, and I decided to use this gap year of travels to complete the application process for Scottish universities. In the end, I chose Stirling because of the flexibility of the courses offered. The beautiful campus was a plus, as it has encouraged me to join a hill running club that allows me to explore the wild hills that you can see around Stirling.

Moreover, this university offered the possibility of combining my degree on International Management with the French language. “This is fantastic!” I thought. Languages have always been appealing to me. Additionally, joining this course has allowed me to enhance both my linguistic skills while testing my cognitive abilities. Learning French following classes in English, which is not my main language, wasn’t too easy in the beginning! But it all took practice, and discipline. So far, while I complete my 3rd year, I am proud to say that I have learnt a lot about the fascinating Francophone culture, as we have studied numerous sources such as the Quebec nationalism, the contemporary issues around the Muslim population, etc.

The University of Stirling is also helping me test my managerial and leadership aptitudes which are key on my degree. Directing the Stirling University Environmental Enterprises Society as the Vice-President has provided me with the opportunity of coordinating conferences, committee meetings and engaging members to support the local community, as well as planning events and activities to learn about sustainability, such as last year’s successful tree plantation in collaboration with the NGO I work with, We Are One! Read more about it here.

Overall, I feel enormously thankful for all the personal and academic growth that I have made during this period of my life, and I am beyond excited to see what the future awaits! What’s for sure is that understanding French will open many doors… Belgium, Canada, France, or even Africa! Qui sait…’

Many, many thanks to Nela for such a brilliant start to the 2021 blog and we wish you all the very best for the rest of your 3rd year, and look forward to updates over the semesters that lie ahead.

French at Stirling in 2020

The very last day of 2020 before the University closes until 6 January and I’m delighted to be able to bring the blog’s year to an end with the following lovely post from Emily, one of our final year students, reflecting on the strangeness of this past year:

‘I’ve written a couple of posts for the French at Stirling blog during the four years I’ve been at uni, and I find that they’re a great way to reflect on everything that’s happened over the semester. However, I don’t think any year has been more difficult to write about than 2020! What did we do, besides binging box sets and getting used to social distancing?

For me, the year got off to a great start; after Hogmanay I flew over to France to begin my semester abroad in Limoges, a nice wee town in Nouvelle-Aquitaine. This was a really fun experience for me, as the previous year I had been working as an English language assistant in a lycée so it was a good change to be the student instead of the teacher! When I was working as a language assistant I lived in a house-share with other French people and this was such a huge help in learning and improving my French, so when I was looking for a place to stay in Limoges, I knew I wanted to do the same thing. Funnily enough, I ended up in a flat-share with two other immigrants, Hung who was from Vietnam and Pedro, who was from Angola, and so we were all learning French together which was really nice (although the lads were definitely better than I was!).

Sadly, it wasn’t to last, and before the UK went into lockdown I made the decision to travel back home to stay with my parents in Argyll. This was quite a change of pace for me and a lot of other students too, as we’re used to juggling part-time jobs with studying and deadlines. For the first time since I was fourteen, I didn’t have a job, I didn’t have classes and I only had one or two assignments – in short, I had more spare time than I knew what to do with. Like many other people, the spring and summer months of lockdown all merged into one big blur of zoom calls, starting new hobbies (then dropping them two weeks later) and following the updates on lockdown guidelines, but there was a light at the end of the tunnel when restrictions started to ease up towards the start of the autumn semester.

This semester has perhaps been one of the biggest changes to normality for students, with the majority of classes moving online, however, I have to say that I’ve quite enjoyed it – there’s something nice about being able to wear your slippers to class! Despite not actually being on campus at all this year, I’ve really been enjoying my last year doing French at Stirling and it’s been really good to have the normality of a routine again after months of not very much happening at all.

This year has been really tough for everyone in so many different ways, but hopefully with the new vaccine being rolled out we’ll get back to normal and be able to see each other in 2021 – maybe in time for graduation!’

Many, many thanks, firstly, to Emily for finding the time and the energy to have written this blog post after what really has been an intense semester. From all of us in French at Stirling, a huge thank you to our students for their commitment, enthusiasm and kindness these past few months. We hope you are all able to have a calm, restful break over the holidays and we look forward to teaching you all again in January. In the meantime, joyeuses fêtes!!

‘The best possible choice to combine my love of business and languages’

The semester is slowly but surely reaching its end at Stirling and this seems a good time to catch up with blog news. There’ll be updates to come on our schools outreach work and doubtless a few other bits and pieces between now and blog hibernation over Christmas but we wanted to start with this lovely article by one of our Year 3 students about her experiences at Stirling:

Bonjour à tous! I am Vasiliki, a third-year student in BA Business Studies with French. Rewind to January 2018 when I found myself in a gap semester after graduating high school, during which I took the time to apply to universities, visit campuses and attend random lectures to “find my calling” as they say. When visiting the university campus of Stirling, my intuition told me that this was the one and thankfully, I listened to my gut, because these past two and a half years have been a blast!

Initially I joined the BA in International Management Studies with European Languages and Society, which is essentially the same degree as I am currently doing, but with Spanish as well, in my case. After the first year and a half, I decided to slightly refine my degree in order to make it more business-focussed with additional modules from the Stirling Management School. As I already had an advanced level of Spanish, the idea of being able to spice up my time at university by taking up a different module every semester rather than having the same three broad subject areas each semester was appealing.

I was a complete beginner when I started French at Stirling, with my knowledge being limited to the classic baguette and croissant. However, the French department at university is absolutely fantastic not only at teaching, but also at creating this sense of belonging which makes you feel part of a community. Their commitment, passion and dedication for French and teaching is transferred to the students and they have all gone above and beyond to do their best to adapt to the new teaching methods and circumstances which have unfortunately been imposed on us all by Covid-19.  

In ordinary time, I would have been going away for a semester of Study Abroad in the Spring but, because of Covid, the exchange will take place online. However, it will surely be an intriguing experience to say the least. Undoubtably, I am disappointed that the exchange will not take place as normal, but I am excited for the different learning opportunities. Although I feel that the transition to online teaching has been smoother than expected, I am definitely excited to get back to in-person teaching (hopefully) in year 4.

To conclude, I love learning languages and I think that the University of Stirling was the best possible choice for me to combine my love of both business and languages. At Stirling, there are so many opportunities to immerse yourself in language culture, like societies, writing competitions, speaking buddies, etc. So, while we may be at a slight disadvantage with the fact that we will not be going to the host country for the exchange, there are definitely opportunities to improve our language skills and it is up to each of us to engage with them. I am confident that in the future there will be more chances to move to France.’

Many, many thanks to Vasiliki for having found the time at such a busy point in the year to send through this article and all good wishes for a happy festive season, and for an enjoyable – if also unusual! – Study Abroad experience in the Spring.

Student Successes

We’re a week away from the end of teaching and a few hours away from the weekend, and this seems like an excellent time to post congratulations to some of our students.

Félicitations, firstly, to Ewan, Agathe and Shryia who graduated yesterday from our postgraduate Translation programmes, and to their French dissertation supervisor, Aedín ní Loingsigh! Their graduation ceremony was online, with well-deserved congratulatory speeches from our Chair in Translation, Raquel de Pedro Ricoy, as well as our Principal and Vice-Chancellor, Gerry McCormac, and our Chancellor, Jack McConnell. And as our colleague, Liam Bell, in Creative Writing highlighted, there really is something lovely about the hope represented by the work our postgraduate students have carried out from March, and the start of lockdown, and August when they submitted their dissertations.

And a second set of felicitations to final year undergraduate student Christina who studies Modern Languages and Business with us. Christina’s entry to the Institut Français d’Ecosse’s Creative Writing competition, organised in collaboration with Napier University, was awarded the ‘Coup du Coeur du Jury’! You can read her entry (inspired by ‘Ne me quitte pas’ by Jacques Brel and ‘Are you with me’ by Nilu) on the IFE’s website and, as Christina says, ‘I’m thankful for the opportunity, I love creative writing in my spare time and having the chance to write something like this in a different language was a challenge but also new and exciting. I hope everyone who reads it enjoys it and I hope to enjoy the little confidence boost it gave me.’

A brilliant way to end the week and congratulations all round from all in French at Stirling.

Research News: From Bilingualism to Sciamma

As you’ll have gathered from recent blog posts, these are busy weeks for staff and students in French at Stirling and we wanted to just give you a quick update on a couple of staff research events that have also taken place recently.

First up, a couple of weeks ago, Aedín ní Loingsigh jointly presented a paper with her colleague Ingeborg Birnie at the ‘On the border of art and languages teaching in the multilingual world’ conference. Their work examines ‘Dementia, Bilingualism and the Insights of Performance-Based Research’, with a particularly focus on Gaelic-speakers and a theatre workshop that resulted in a play exploring linguistic relationships in a family where the mother’s dementia results in her returning to Gaelic, having formerly spoken English.

And just this morning, Cristina Johnston gave a lecture (via Zoom) at the University of Passau, talking to the students on their International Culture and Business Studies programme about the films of Céline Sciamma. This was a great opportunity to work with students at one of our long-standing partners and we’re particularly grateful to Christian Dölle at Passau for his invitation.

As ever, keep reading the blog for more updates!

Brittany, here I come ! Tales of a Languages finalist

We’ve hit that point in semester where everyone – students and staff – is drowning in assessments and presentations and scheduling oral exams and working through the final pages of final texts on modules… It’s intense every year at this point in semester and, somehow, the online learning environment has intensified things even more this year. With that in mind, we’re particularly grateful to have some updates from students to post, starting with news from Stuart, who is in the final year of his BA Hons in French and Spanish:

Salut tout le monde! With all that’s happened in the last year or so it feels like an eternity since my last post about Quebec, which I’ve since read over to gain inspiration and ended up giving myself travel blues, Whoops, won’t be doing much of that for a while! Trying to cast my mind back on what was on the horizon before Covid made its unwelcome debut and made it very difficult to be a language student is harder than it seems. However, this time last year I was finishing up a very difficult semester and getting excited to spend my Erasmus in Oviedo, Spain.

You might be asking yourself, what does that have to do with French? Well, as it turns out, a lot more than I was bargaining on. See, the reason that semester was so hard was because in Quebec I had to fight hard just to be able to speak French sometimes, never mind Spanish. So now that I was going to a place where I was fairly confident that I would be immersed in Spanish, I didn’t want the same thing to happen with my French. As a result of both this, and a complex week of Spanish bureaucracy and university timetabling, I ended up with 2 out 4 classes in my Spanish university being French language courses! I actually thoroughly enjoyed this because they were slightly lower level classes and gave me a chance to relax a bit and step back from the advanced level French which I had just been doing at Stirling and refresh on the basics.

My teachers there were extremely friendly and helpful and perhaps because my French level was above my Spanish level, when I bumped into one of them In Lidl one day, we had a full conversation in French rather than Spanish or English! Considering that my other class ended up being in Asturian, a minority language of the region, I think I ended up speaking far more French than I did Spanish there! (Jose, if you’re somehow reading this, lo siento). One of my first friends in Oviedo happened to also be half French, so I had a great time trying to practise Spanish with him and resorting to French when I had forgotten a word. Spench? Francish? Either way I don’t think he was as big a fan of this hybrid language as I was! Je suis désolé Guillermo!

All good things must come to an end though, and my time in Spain ended abruptly as I anxiously flew to Dublin on one of the last flights out that would eventually connect with Glasgow. The rest is history…

Well, no not really, but I feel like you’ve probably all read enough Lockdown blogs. Once I had finished the last of my Oviedo online classes and exams, and the dreaded thesis 100% in Spanish, the opportunities in Dunoon that I had to practise my French or Spanish were scarce to say the least. Once things started to open up again during the summer, I’ll admit that out of desperation I tried to book a flight back to Oviedo for the weekend to say some goodbyes that were never really had properly, and retrieve some of the things that were hastily left in my apartment. Yes, I know, it was stupid, and sure enough, the very next day after I booked my ticket, quarantine was back in place.

Ah well, no use crying over spilled milk (I don’t know the French for that one! Maybe Cristina will tell me in the footnote!*) I’m going to tough out this last year in Stirling (which as you might have guessed is going to be very different from the last 3) and then I’m planning to do another couple of ELA assistantships to get my French and Spanish over their final hurdles. Let’s hope there’s nothing else massive coming in January that may impede free movement! Regardless, Brittany, you will see me when this is all over! Keep my crêpe warm for me!’

Many, many thanks to Stuart for finding the time to send us this update and it’s great to hear that you’re planning to take advantage of the British Council ELAs after you graduate. We wish you all the best with that!

* And I, personally, couldn’t leave the whole ‘crying over spilt milk’ thing just hanging there…We don’t often use the blog for language points but why not?!

So, according to my dictionary (Oxford Hachette), the expression ‘il ne sert à rien de pleurer sur la lait répandu’ exists…. However, it’s not one I’d ever heard of so, having received the blog post on Friday evening, it sent me on a nice little linguistic mystery tour over the weekend and into Monday morning. The French friends I asked first (one from Northern France, the other Poitou-Charentes), it’s not an expression they’ve ever encountered, neither our own Jean-Michel DesJacques nor Brigitte Depret had ever come across it, but Mathilde Mazau reckons that, in her native Normandy, some people do, indeed, say ‘il ne sert à rien de pleurer sur le lait renversé’. So, ‘there’s no point crying over spilt milk’ might be translated as ‘il ne sert à rien de pleurer sur la lait répandu/renversé’ but the rather less poetic expressions that seem to be more common are: ‘ce qui est fait est fait’, ‘rien ne sert de se lamenter’ or ‘il faut faire une croix dessus.’

And the moral of the story is : never ask about an idiomatic expression on a Friday evening!

Language Ambassador Update

It’s been a busy couple of weeks for our Language Ambassadors and we wanted to just give you a little update on what’s going on before the week ends. As regular blog readers know, we started our virtual Language Ambassador activities last week with some Q&A sessions with S2 pupils at Dalziel High School in Motherwell. These will come to an end this week so huge thanks to Jennifer Tait, the PT in Modern Languages there, and to Eilidh, Morgan, Iain, Louise, Kirsten, Vasiliki, Ben and Sebastian for having given up time over the past fortnight to talk to the pupils.

As Jennifer says: ‘Our S2 pupils have thoroughly enjoyed meeting the Stirling Language Ambassadors virtually and listening to their stories of time spent abroad and at university. It has brought home to our pupils that this is something they could also do in the future and has really inspired them to continue learning languages. It was a quick and easy way to open our pupils’ eyes to the benefits of learning languages and we want to roll this out to other year groups in the New Year.’

At the same time as our Ambassadors have been talking to S2 pupils at Dalziel, they’ve also started meeting virtually with S2 Languages pupils at Holy Cross High School in Hamilton where we’re working with the Acting Principal Teacher of Modern Languages, Dorothy Stevenson, to set up these sessions. We’re looking forward to passing on feedback from them next week and hope the Holy Cross pupils are also enjoying getting to chat to our students.

We’re also currently finalising arrangements for outreach activities which will see our Language Ambassadors talking to pupils at Braes High School in Falkirk and, we hope, Wallace High in Stirling over the next couple of weeks. As the pace picks up even more for our students with assessment deadlines and exams coming up, we’re really grateful to the Ambassadors for taking the time to do this. Merci and gracias one and all!

‘Studying a Masters in 2020 has more than equipped us for the challenges to come’

It’s been great, over the past few weeks, to be able to post about the virtual outreach work our Language Ambassadors are doing and about research and publication news, reminding us all that student and academic life continue, even in the current challenging context. In a similar vein, we’re really pleased to be able to post the following article by Agathe and Ewan, very recent postgraduate students who can give their perspective on the highs and lows of the past academic year:

‘We’ve both recently come to the end of our Master’s degrees in Translation Studies at Stirling. Although our programmes of study were slightly different – MSc in Translation and Interpreting for Agathe, and MSc in Translation and TESOL for Ewan, in conjunction with the Faculty of Social Sciences – we worked together in translation workshops throughout both semesters.

There is no denying that the past academic year was a challenging one, and probably not in the way that either of us expected. Towards the end of our first semester, there was a prolonged UCU strike which resulted in disruption to our normal schedule for classes, although we were grateful to the academic staff for giving up their time to continue giving us help and advice when we needed it. We even had a teach-out so we wouldn’t be at too much of a disadvantage.

Not long after the strike ended, the university campus closed completely due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although some of our remaining classes took place online, it wasn’t the same as being on campus. It was particularly overwhelming for international students. The question of whether going home to your loved ones or staying in Scotland – in case things improved – was all we could think about for several weeks. And even when the decision of staying in Stirling was taken, it didn’t bring much peace of mind. The uncertainty of it all and the worries it brought definitely didn’t help us to put the preliminary work on the dissertation at the top of our list of concerns. Then of course, it was already the second semester exams. However, pandemic or not, things always happen quicker than you think. Our advice would be to keep this in mind, before you dive into the preparation for tests, which will leave you with very few moments to work on your dissertation.

We initially thought it would be a short-term closure, but eventually weeks turned into months, and we found ourselves with a translation project dissertation looming ever closer, with limited access to academic staff and no access at all to the university library (for either resources or dedicated study space).

Fortunately, Aedín ní Loingsigh, our dissertation supervisor, was on hand to provide as much support as possible online during the initial months of lockdown. In the early stages, working from home was difficult. In the age of Netflix and social media, and with the option to do literally anything but study at our disposal, it was amazing what we found to do to help us procrastinate!

We both live in Edinburgh, so in the latter stages, as freedom of movement increased again, we were able to meet up for coffee and help each other. We found it was particularly helpful to be able to bounce ideas off each other and clarify linguistic issues with someone who is a native speaker of the source language we were working from. During these latter stages, Aedín made a couple of trips to Edinburgh too in order to give us some face-to-face (socially-distanced!) consultation time, which was particularly helpful. She was able to point us in the direction of useful e-books to use in the continued absence of the university library. We are genuinely beyond thankful for her, because she didn’t necessarily have to do it; but she knew it’s much easier to raise issues face-to-face rather than by emails or zoom calls.

We were initially a bit pessimistic about obtaining our Master’s degree under such circumstances. We were scared of what it would mean for us, professionally speaking, for the years to come: would our diploma be of less value? Would that mean fewer professional opportunities for us?

Eventually, and after the stress of the dissertation being behind us, we came to realisation that we should actually feel quite proud of ourselves for having completed our programme of study in such a turbulent year, because we’re now certain that if we can succeed even in the face of a global pandemic, then there is no telling what we can achieve in the future. Additionally, our teachers reassured us that the diploma will still be of the same worth.

To that end, we are now starting to form a plan of how we want to proceed now that our degree has come to its conclusion. We both joined the Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) as Affiliate Members and intend to make full use of their training resources and networking opportunities. Ewan is in the middle of setting himself up a website to market himself as a freelance translator, and he’s starting to send out his CV to translation agencies to try and get a foot on the ladder. Agathe is on the same process, although she is more turned towards literary translation, which involves constant research for new material to translate, contacting publishing houses, while also keeping up with interpreting training.

The last thing we should mention is more of a warning than a piece of advice. Getting started as a translator is quite confusing and blurry. Despite many interesting classes about working as a translator or interpret in daily life, where we had the chance to meet with professionals, some aspects of the job remain a bit obscure. The financial aspect of it for instance: how much should we charge for a translation? Or what exactly do we exactly to do to go freelance, especially when you just graduated and have no experience? Regarding literary translation, how do you approach publishing houses, knowing that you need to be in contact with both the English ones and the French ones (in Agathe’s case)? Especially since there can be several publishing houses for one book: should you contact the author then? Their agent?

That is the one thing that we are both worried about; a shortage of time to discuss career prospects with professionals from the industry. Although we had the chance to attend lectures with people who have been in the industry for a long time, we realise with hindsight that we didn’t take the opportunity to ask them meaningful questions about starting out as freelancers and about even some of the most basic things (such as pricing ourselves, initially finding clients, etc.).

However, we are aware that the answers for those questions are part of what we will have to figure out along the way. We know it won’t be an easy journey to begin with, but we’re optimistic and feel that studying a Masters in 2020 of all years has more than equipped us for the challenges that are to come.

As a final point, we would like to say that we’ve both really enjoyed our respective programmes of study, so we would both highly recommend them to any prospective students.’

Many, many thanks to Ewan and to Agathe for having found the time to put together this post, among all of the other demands on their time, and we wish them all the very best for a successful future in Translation and Interpreting. Keep in touch!

From the African grotesque to World War I in Australia: Publication News

It’s always good to end the week with a little round-up email, this time with some updates on the publication front that give a very good indication of the (at times surprising!) range of areas colleagues in French at Stirling work on.

First up, Nina Parish, whose ‘Remembering World War I in Australia: Hyde Park as Site of Memory’, co-written with Chiara O’Reilly, has just been published with Palgrave. The chapter is part of a volume entitled Places of Traumatic Memory: A Global Context, co-edited by Amy Hubbell, Natsuko Akagawa, Sol Rojas-Lizana and Annie Pohlmann. Nina’s work in this chapter was helped by a Visiting Fellowship at the School of Literature, Art and Media at the University of Sydney.

Secondly, the new special issue of the Irish Journal of French Studies (co-edited by Sarah Arens and Joe Ford) on ‘Revisiting the Grotesque in Francophone African Literature’ includes an article by Hannah Grayson entitled ‘Room to Manoeuvre: Moving Beyond the Grotesque in Tierno Monénembo’s Convivial Space.’ In this article, Hannah is moving beyond Achille Mbembé’s grotesque in the dictatorship novels of Tierno Monénembo.

And our new colleague, Julie Hugonny, has an article that is due out very soon in French Forum, that will be entitled “Le Rire au service de la tyrannie dans L’Homme qui Rit, de Victor Hugo.” Congratulations to all!

And in other publication-related news, Aedín ní Loingsigh has been acting in an advisory capacity on the translation into English of our own honorary graduate Lilian Thuram’s My Black Stars: From Lucy to Barack Obama. The book has been translated by Laurent Dubois and edited by our former colleague David Murphy and is due out with Liverpool University Press next year. And finally, Fiona Barclay has just been appointed to serve on the Editorial Board of the journal Modern and Contemporary France.

Good news and busy times all round!