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University awards Honorary degrees

Press release issued: 13 July 2001

Honorary degrees awarded at Bristol University on Thursday 12 July

Today, at its degree ceremonies, Bristol University is awarding Honorary degrees to two prominent figures.

Mrs Barbara Bell, teacher of classics, is to receive the degree of Master of Arts at the 11.15 am ceremony.

Barbara Bell grew up in Bristol and attended Red Maids School. Following her graduation from London University she returned to Bristol to teach Latin, Greek and English at several Bristol schools. Barbara is presently head of her department at Clifton High School, Bristol.

She set up the Latin Summer School in Bath, which is still flourishing after 20 years. Every summer Barbara teaches Greek in Durham to students aged between 16 and 83.

Barbara Bell's unique contribution is to have started the Primary Latin Project, which aims to introduce Latin to children aged between 7 to 11.

To spearhead the enterprise she devised a book with humorous coloured illustrations by Helen Forte, called 'Minimus - Starting out in Latin'.

The book provides a lively introduction to the Latin language and the culture of Roman Britain through its main character, Minimus, a resident mouse who lives with a Roman family and their cat Vibrissa in Vindolanda near Hadrian's Wall.

The book was been a huge success and is now used as part of the literacy programme in the National Curriculum.

Professor Karl Stead, CBE, New Zealand novelist, poet, literary critic and Bristol graduate, will be honoured with the degree of Doctor of Letters at the 2.30 pm ceremony.

Born in Auckland in 1932, Karl Stead completed an MA in 1955 and then took up his first university teaching post in Australia. In 1957 he arrived at Bristol University to study Yeats, Eliot and modernist poetics. By the time he was awarded his PhD in 1961 he had already embarked on an academic career at the University of Auckland, taking up a lectureship in 1959. He was soon promoted to a personal chair, just three years after the publication of his doctoral thesis as a book, 'The New Poetic', in 1964.

Fifty years after his first tentative introduction into Auckland's literary scene, Karl Stead is an internationally renowned critic, poet and novelist, and one of New Zealand's leading writers and critics.

He is the author of eight novels, two collections of short stories, which include 'Smith's Dream' (1971), 'All Visitors Ashore' (1984), 'The Death of the Body '(1986), 'Sister Hollywood' (1989), and 'The Singing Whakapapa' (1994) and eleven volumes of poetry, including 'Crossing the Bar' (1972), 'Quesada' (1975), 'Geographies' (1982), and 'Straw into Gold' (1997).

He has written influential critical works on Anglo-American modernism and on the literature of New Zealand, and has edited Katherine Mansfield's letters and journals as well as collections of New Zealand short stories. He has been awarded the New Zealand book award for both poetry and fiction. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and in 1984 he was awarded a CBE.

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Copyright: 2001 The University of Bristol, UK
Updated: Friday, 13-Jul-2001 10:29:08 BST

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