Reading workshops

Since 2021, I’ve been running workshops in person and online, sharing some of the approaches to reading outside your comfort zone I’ve developed over ten years of international literary exploration. Feel free to email to discuss how one of these sessions could be tailored to fit your organisation or event.

“Ann’s ‘Incomprehension Workshop’ is such a fun and fresh approach to reading literature in translation from around the globe.  Her playful and expert guidance turned the pieces we read into mirrors, showing our own assumptions and biases when encountering unfamiliar work or worlds, and then freed us simply to wander and wonder through them. I thoroughly recommend the workshop for anyone interested in stories and words.”

Lucy Caldwell, author

The Incomprehension Workshop

Launched at the Cheltenham Literature Festival, this is a 90-minute interactive session centred on exploring how focusing on the things we can’t explain in a text might enrich and broaden our understanding of reading, culture and ourselves.

The main body of the workshop is built around turning the English literature comprehension exercise on its head. Instead of giving answers, participants are invited to explore what questions, problems or reactions examples of writing from unfamiliar traditions provoke or pose.

The featured extracts usually come from translated works drawn from a wide range of literatures underrepresented in anglophone publishing. The selection is designed to complement the interests and expertise of each audience, with sessions so far including publishing students, literature teachers, translators, writers, librarians, academics and general booklovers.

As we work through the material, we explore the roles (both good and bad) that assumption and bias play in reading, the idea of embracing discomfort and the opportunities that paying attention to the gaps in our understanding opens up.

“Ann flips the ‘rules’ of literary analysis and encourages us to embrace what we do not know, to let go of everything familiar and remake our understanding of the world. Fun, lively and thought-provoking, the Incomprehension Workshops encourage us not just to learn more about the world, but also about how we relate
to it.”

Dr Helen Vassallo, Senior Lecturer, University of Exeter

Picture: ‘Question Mark for Willow’ by Smallest Forest on