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Ocelot96 27/05/2014 03:40 Page 27

Preview – A Girl With A Book For Starters Arts & Culture

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quality that undercuts all our fears of the different – empathy.' Nick has been a journalist and a teacher, but left his last job to write full time. He works extensively with young people, running writing workshops and leading theatre based projects. Much of this work is with the RSC with whom he is a Learning Associate. He said: 'What I’ve made, I don’t really know. One night I think it’s about girls’ education. Or the way the creative imagination can react to current events. Or it’s about courage. I do know I want us to see the writer becoming aware that the creeping demonisation of Muslims has infiltrated far beyond the stereotypical Daily Mail reader.'

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This month, from June 19 to 21, Pegasus Theatre in Oxford presents A Girl With A Book. This play explores the events around the shooting of the Pakistani schoolgirl Malala. Nick Wood wrote and also performs as 'the writer' in the play. The writer is so appalled by the shooting of three schoolgirls in Pakistan, all he knows is that he must respond. He describes himself as a Guardian reading liberal but the more he researches the events and the more he goes into the community searching for answers, the more he uncovers attitudes at odds with his liberal convictions. This is a play, not only about a girl’s right to education and violence against children, but also about a man searching to overcome his own prejudices and doubts, to respond in the only way he knows how. Nick Wood said: 'I wanted to do it because I wanted to react to this event. The play isn’t “about” Malala. I wanted the disjoint that would come from seeing a middle aged man wrestling with attitudes and prejudices he finds far too near the surface as he researches the event. “Tying himself in knots, making a fool of himself, venting his anger at the evils religious differences have brought on the world, wondering how a father could let a daughter run such risks, before arriving at the one

Nick Wood (picture by Alex Esden)

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