During June, Loreto College had the privilege of being visited by the talented Ayanna Lloyd Banwo, author of When We Were Birds. Banwo gladly gave up her time to talk and provide an author’s perspective on her bestseller, which we have been studying as part of our English literature coursework. ‘When We Were Birds’ is a romance novel written in 2022 set in Trinidad. This phenomenally successful debut novel is full of grief, magical realism, and captivating beauty; it has quickly become a student favourite at Loreto.
During her visit, Banwo provided us with a rich and detailed history of her home country Trinidad, such as its independence and culture, as well as an insight into the turbulence within her own life that inspired the theme of grief that drives her novel. She explained the reasoning behind specific details within her characters and truly brought them out of the page creating personas that we can all relate to. In addition to this, we were provided with the opportunity to ask Lloyd Banwo questions linking to specific topics and she provided us with packed and thoughtful answers, giving us unique commentary to include in our coursework. Banwo was not only educational but also inspiring, her moving talk deepened our understanding and interest in the book and allowed us to look at the novel in a new light, one that we would not have been able to without her contribution.
Overall, Lloyd Banwo’s visit was enlightening and highly beneficial for us to produce the best work we can, her bubbly spirit filled the room and as students, it was truly an honour to have her here; we do hope she continues to visit our college in the future.

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