"Prawn Shells" by Shayna Leng (Singapore) and "Potatoes" by Eloise Davis (UK)
Issue 3.3 November 2021
Pre-Reading Quick Write:
There are often strong correlations between food and memory, food and place, and food and family. What do one or more of these connections bring to mind for you? Write for five minutes about the connection between food and one of these other areas, or perhaps another value in your life that feels connected to food in some way. See what comes up for you as you explore not just the “food” but everything else that surrounds it in these moments—the traditions, the memories, the setting, the people—in short, the story around the food.
Examine the first line of each essay, “Prawn Shells” and “Potatoes.” How does the sentence’s subject, structure, word count, or word choice set the tone for the essay? For your reference, here are the two sentences: I have always had a complicated relationship with prawns. —“Prawn Shells; For as long as I can remember, Dad’s been in the garden, kitted out in his camouflage jacket and army-style boots and covered in streaks of mud. —“Potatoes"
What strategies does the author of “Potatoes” use to show the passage of time throughout the story? As the reader, how do you get to know this family in different ways—and more deeply—throughout the essay?
There’s a sudden shift in the tone and mood in the final three paragraphs of “Prawn Shells.”Consider how the essay’s effect would differ if it ended with the line, “I believe the truth is much simpler: the larger the unsightly pile on the table, the more luminescent your happiness.” What was your emotional response, as a reader, when you read the final three paragraphs that follow that line regarding “luminescent happiness”? This might be something to share aloud or an opportunity to write another short reflection, with only optional sharing as a class.
Food Writing: Having now read and discussed these two essays—two personal narratives in the genre of food writing—return to your Pre-Reading Quick Write and consider how you might expand part of your reflection into a full-length essay. You may also begin in a new direction if another idea has come to mind while reading! Use “Prawn Shells” and “Potatoes” as model texts in order to become more familiar with food writing. The goal is to tell a personal story that develops through your use of characters, setting, plot, dialogue, description, interiority/emotions, and, of course, food. In June, Write the World will host our annual Food Writing Competition, so we encourage you to publish your essay to our platform, seek peer reviews, and submit your work to the competition!
We hope you and your students enjoy reading and discussing Write the World Review issue 3.3. We hope these writing prompts and discussion questions lead to fruitful discussion, thoughtful analysis, and creative writing in your class. Please reach out to our teacher liaison Lori Pelliccia (email@example.com) with your suggestions and feedback. We'd love to hear which activities you used in class and how we can best support you with our future writing projects and lesson plans. If you have a moment to provide some feedback on this survey we'd be very appreciative. We look forward to hearing from you, and we wish you and your students all the best in your reading and writing endeavors!