Studying English at St Catherine’s is a rigorous and rewarding intellectual challenge that will prepare you to excel in wide range of future careers, but we all know that literature is more than an academic subject and impacts our lives in ways that can’t be measured by exams. This is why the Catz English tutors and students have founded their very own Literary Society, named ‘Catz-22’ in honour of one of most famous literary alumni, Joseph Heller, author of the novel Catch-22, who studied at Catz as a graduate student and later went on to become an Honorary Fellow of the college.
Catz-22 is a forum where students can develop their love of literature beyond the tutorial and classroom. We welcome anyone studying literature at Catz, including English and Modern Languages, and throw our doors open to those from other subjects who have an interest in literature too. This year saw a wide range of events taking place, from trips to the theatre to regular theory reading groups and termly film screening to a Careers Workshop featuring Peter Knowles, Controller of BBC Parliament, who read English at Catz in the 1980s. In our theory reading groups, over a glass of wine, tutors and students have discussed everything from literary games, developments in contemporary feminism, avant-garde British poetry, and African-American literary activism.
Catz has one of the largest communities of undergraduates and graduates studying English, and a rich history of producing writers such as the acclaimed novelist Jeanette Winterson (Oranges are Not the Only Fruit), poet Caroline Bird, award-winning novelist Katherine Rundell, and Guardian theatre critic Michael Billington. As a vibrant new addition to the life of literature at the college, Catz-22 ensures that no student will ever end up in the position of poor Clevinger in Heller’s Catch-22: “He knew everything there was to know about literature, except how to enjoy it.”