Steven Green is an Associate Professor in Humanities at Yale-NUS College and the Interim Director of the Writers’ Centre for the 2018-19 academic year. He received his BA in Latin (Hons) and MA in Classical Studies (Distinction) at the University of Nottingham (1991-1995); and his PhD in Classics at the University of Manchester (1999). Prior to that, he taught Classics at Universities in England, Scotland, and the Republic of Ireland, and his most recent post was as Senior Lecturer at the University of Leeds from 2004-2013 and Head of Department from 2010-2013.
Some thoughts on writing and the Writers’ Centre from Dr Green:
Growing up, I didn’t much enjoy reading or writing. I was happy to give up English Language and English Literature after the compulsory GCSE (equivalent O-Level) stage in 1989: I got a grade B in both. For my A-Levels, I studied Latin, French, and Maths, and none of these courses involved much in the way of essay writing. When, in 1991, I went off to the University of Nottingham to study BA Latin, I naively imagined myself to be translating texts rather than writing essays, at which point my horizons were unexpectedly widened as I had to face the challenges of writing in different disciplinary modes within classics, which encompasses (among other things) literary, historical and philosophical enquiry.
Fast forward to 2018, and I am author of two monographs, four (co-) edited collections, and numerous articles, and I have 18 years’ experience supporting student academic writing in six different higher education establishments (before Yale-NUS: Leeds, Manchester, St Andrews, Glasgow, NUI Maynooth). What occurred in the intervening 27 years? I lot of growing, learning, and listening. The last of these is particularly important: I have learnt, and continue to learn, a great deal from my seniors, peers, and juniors: indeed, one learns a lot of about one’s own writing and academic thought processes through having to explain things to students! From big ideas, to neat and effective expressions, to more prosaic matters of grammar – I am almost embarrassed to admit how late in the day I was introduced to the difference between ‘less’ and ‘fewer’ – my writing has and continues to be a journey. My advice: practice humility, open yourselves up to multiple readers and critics, but have the confidence to retain your own perspective and autonomy over your writing.
My University experience did not require me to write in as many disciplinary modes as Yale-NUS does for its students. Writing will be both an ever-present challenge and a continuing reward. At every step of the way, from first year common curriculum to Major electives to capstone project, we very much hope that you will think of the team at the Writers’ Centre – Directors, Programme Manager, Writing Lecturers, and Peer Tutors – as a friendly port of call.