Philippa Hunt

Book Club

I’m a proud resident of London where I’ve lived for 50 years. From a very young age, I have always loved reading. To start with I read books with young children having adventures and then moved on to stories about doctors and nurses. Now, I read all sorts of stories. At school my favourite subject was English and I loved acting. I wanted to go drama school but my head teacher persuaded me to train to be a teacher at a place in Cambridge where I could do lots of acting in university groups. I went to the teaching training college and the first play I was in was a dreadful experience as I discovered I didn't have any real acting talent. I never tried acting again but I did discover that I liked teaching. I continue to love everything to do with drama.

Once I had qualified as a teacher, I moved to London and started my career in the first of three challenging schools. I particularly liked teaching tricky teenagers. I was made head of an English department and then became an advisory teacher. This led to me working at a university where I trained graduates to be English teachers. So all my working life, I was involved in education and literature.   

Outside of my career, books have always played an important part in my life. Encouraging my own children to enjoy books and now my four grandchildren gives me such pleasure. My other interests are gardening and sport of every kind. 

I joined Svitlo because a friend and ex-colleague of mine, Alison Kelly, told me about what she was doing with Svitlo and I loved the thought of having some connection with teenagers and literature again. Like so many people in England, I have been so moved by the resilience of the Ukrainian people so I am thrilled to have an opportunity to connect with young Ukrainian people.

I want to use my sessions to talk about texts of all sorts. It is important to choose short pieces as I can't see a way to share a long book together. I hope, in time, all the students will choose books, short stories and poems to tell others about. I have always believed in getting students to realise that there is not a correct way to understand a piece of literature. I certainly do not want them to think I have the correct ‘answer’. 

So far we have shared a poem, two short stories and speeches. I would like feedback on what the group likes best.

Other people of Svitlo School

Administrative and communications coordinator
Gianfranco Catanzaro
English Language
Gavin Hepherd-Hall
Director of Academics