Wallonia in Hungary by high school students in Mons16/09/2015

Wallonia, and in particular Mons 2015, take centre stage during French lessons at the AKG school in Budapest in Hungary.

Every year, one French lesson a week is set aside for a creative writing workshop which results in the publication of a short novel in French and Hungarian. PS: et toi? was written in 2015. This is a novel comprised of letters, a work of fiction, in which the Walloon city and Cultural Capital of Europe take centre stage. The book is set in Mons and tries to introduce it between the lines. The students were able to visit the city and return to their home country with plenty of memories to share. The students explain:

Class project?

"We began writing the novel in early September 2014, but at that time we had no practical idea of what we wanted to do. First, we invented the student characters who write to each other in the first chapter. For the 2nd chapter, featuring the boyfriend and girlfriend, we wrote letters that were as kitsch as possible. We showed events by writing letters from two different perspectives; what a girl would write to her boyfriend, and what she would write to her best friend, thinking about the way in which we express ourselves changes. For chapter 3, we wrote business letters, for example letters applying for a job. We used a more professional, more formal language. We wrote structured letters and tried to use a variety of words. After the stories of the main characters, those who resulted from these chapters, became more complicated and began to interact between themselves."

A difficult creation?

"An epistolary novel does not have a narrator, so the characters' thoughts and feelings can only be expressed through their words. It was a bit difficult to have to create characters through just what they write in their letters and what they say. It was also difficult working with many characters in different places, sometimes making it hard to follow, even for us. And then, even though our characters were set in well-known places, we had to find real things so that our novel was realistic; we read articles about the life of Hungarians in London, researched places in Mons using Google maps and local events on the internet and using the Mons 2015 prospectus."

A trip to Mons?

"Our teacher gave us our book at the airport on the morning of 22 May 2015, before we flew to Belgium. Mons did not differ much from we had imagined, a bit smaller perhaps, but really beautiful. We discovered the places that played an important role in the novel, it was interesting because it was both familiar and strange at the same time. We had a lot of fun, we took part in the Mons 2015 projects, La Ville en Jeu(x) and contemporary dances. We loved the buildings and the Grand Place, the vitality of the inhabitants and the red ball :). We also met some lovely, warm and welcoming people. With regards to our book, we left 4 of them for travellers to the city and the region. In any case, it was a wonderful weekend and we enjoyed it a lot. We would recommend to anyone to visit Mons for a weekend, but for us it was a powerful experience because we discovered the city to where all roads in our book lead."

For more information: www.facebook.com/PSettoiAKG