I was privileged to meet and work with the late writer and critic Kevin Jackson in 2011. We tutored a school group together at Arvon’s Hurst writing centre in Shropshire.
As Peter Carpenter says in the video below, the range and articulation of his knowledge was truly exceptional. He could segue from the things you knew (or thought you did), pop culture, films and authors you knew a little bit about and may even have been on speaking terms with, to that rarefied branch of opinion (and he had a few) and riffing (ditto) that only a few of us are qualified to attempt, let alone pull off successfully.
I remember his opening workshop, on that horny old chestnut showing not telling, which exemplified this precisely, jumping miraculously from an analysis of a Nicholas Lezard column in the New Statesman to an explification of the opening scences of Lawrence of Arabia. ‘Watch this bit!’ he said. ‘Steven Spielberg calls it the greatest cut in cinema history.’
I had not met Kevin before the Hurst, and I did not meet him again. But because of some notes that he gave me on my teaching, I feel his influence on a daily basis. I know I am far from alone.
Please can I urge you to visit the Kevin Jackson Award crowdfunding page and give as generously as you are able, to support their goal of reaching £25,000 to bring two groups of disadvantaged pupils to Arvon.
Kevin was a truly inspiring teacher and this project is a fitting tribute to his memory.
Beautiful photograph too.
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