Highlights from Emirates Airline LitFest and GCS Book Week

Just like Greenfield Community School, Emirates Airline LitFest is celebrating its 10th year and featured 180 authors from nearly 50 countries.  As another successful festival closes, we thought we would reflect on a week of all things literary during our very own Book Week!

Starting off the week on a high note, we were delighted to welcome the award-winning British writer and broadcaster, Lemn Sissay, to the school on the Sunday morning.  Lemn was the official poet for the 2012 London Olympics and he has had a truly fascinating life.  He regaled us with snippets of his heartbreaking – yet inspiring – story in the Auditorium packed with secondary students and other staff who were keen to hear Lemn share his wisdom.  We also invited Lemn to be the guest judge for our Grade 10 poetry competition; he selected a poem entitled “Home” written by Jess McNamara as the winner.  Jess was invited up on stage with the two runners up, Mustafa Khan and Angela Garcia Gastelum, whilst Lemn recited her winning poem to the whole audience – an honour indeed!  We had a display of Lemn’s latest book ‘Gold from the Stone: New and Selected Poems’ available for sale and he spent some time chatting to students and signing books after his presentation.

Meanwhile, our Grade 6 students were given the task of reading a set number of books and those who reached their targets visited The Cultural and Scientific Association earlier this week to hear celebrated British author Anthony Horowitz OBE speak. Well done all of you!  Anthony is the author of the forthcoming James Bond book ‘Forever and a Day’ – the prequel to ‘Casino Royale’ – so it was a really amazing day out for all the students.

We were so pleased to have had two students reach the final of this year’s poetry recital competition – the Emirates Airline NBD Poetry Competition 2018.  Osama Shabaan recited “Caged Bird” by Maya Angelou and Mustafa Khan brought Edgar Allan Poe’s “El Dorado” to life for the audience.  Competing against many students from schools across UAE, the boys delivered well-prepared, aptly timed renditions of the poems which conveyed their musicality and cadences wonderfully.  The jury consisted of the groundbreaking Emirati slam poetry queen Afra Atiq as well as British 2012 World Champion Slam poet and mathematician, Harry Baker.  When the winners of the 14 – 18 category were announced, it was first and second places for GCS with Mustafa scooping the top position and Osama securing second. Both students did tremendously well; we are delighted for them in their success and extremely proud of them!

Osama and Mustafa were treated to a winners lunch and are pictured here with Andy Wood, Principal and Peter Fremaux, Head of Secondary

Guided by the enthusiasm of Judith Shannon, Head of English and our library staff, Christine Malinowski, Sara Fisher and Faith Ogaro, both the Primary and Secondary libraries were geared up with plenty of book-related activities during the week including a Shakespeare quote challenge.  We also teamed up with Kinokuniya for a Book Fair, who put together an impressive selection of books available for sale in front of the Primary Library.

The Book Week celebrations finished up with a whole school Parade on the Thursday morning.  All students – and the teachers – were invited to dress up as their favourite fictional character for the day and – wow – what a riot of colour, costumes and obviously much raiding of dressing-up boxes!  All in all – a really fabulous week!


Many colourful characters representing our favourite works of fiction at the Book Week Parade

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