News and Updates

Giving you the latest information about student life and updates from Hertfordshire University and surrounding areas

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Around the world in seven books

[Katie Noble | Entertainment Editor] Student budget too tight to go abroad? Don’t fret – you can travel the world in books. Here’s a handy list to aid your literature jet-setting. Can you visit every continent before the summer is over? Europe My Brilliant Friend – Elena Ferrante (Italian) ‘A modern masterpiece from one of Italy’s most acclaimed authors, My Brilliant Friend is a rich, intense, and generous-hearted story about two friends, Elena and Lila. Ferrante’s inimitable

Let’s talk about diversity in Young Adult fiction

Image: Unsplash – Glen Noble [Nariece Sanderson | Contributing Writer] Back in December, the world was faced with a re-imagining of the characters of the Harry Potter series. The casting of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child (due to hit the West End in July) caused an online eruption of opinion. The matter of an older Hermione being portrayed by a black woman (Noma Dumezweni) provoked a variety of opinions. Thankfully, Harry Potter author, J.K. Rowling, stepped in on Twitter t

Three new releases to check out this summer

Image: Pixabay [Katie Noble | Entertainment Editor] So you have finally have time to do a bit of pleasure reading – time to read what YOU want. Ha, I’m joking. Now I’m making the reading lists. Let me introduce you to some fabby new releases that you need to read this summer. Human Acts – Han Kang Although technically not a new release, Han Kang’s Human Acts has been given a wonderful English translation from the brilliant Deborah Smith, that was published on 6th January by P

Exam revision tips!

Disclaimer “Swen: The Backward News” is a satirical news column. Any articles associated with Swen are of fiction and constitute as fake news. Any resemblance to the truth or actual facts or to reality is purely coincidental. [Robert Wheatley | Lifestyle Editor] Maybe you’re already in the midst of exams, or they’re coming up soon, we all tend to have some difficulties buckling down and getting our revision done. Maybe assignments are getting in the way, or part-time work, or

Mini Book Reviews: Erotic Romance

Image: Pixabay [Hannah Myers | Contributing Writer] Admit it, everyone has read a piece of erotic fiction in their life, even if it was completely by accident. Erotic fiction is a way to escape the mundane, because I’ll be honest, I’ve never seen an advert in any DIY-shop to buy a “Red Room of Pain”. Before we start, I feel like I must remind you of the following: bondage, dominance, sadism and masochism (BDSM) is included in lots of erotica; the common principles of which ar

Erotic literature: when words tease the senses

Image: Pixabay [Bryony Wharfe | Contributing Writer] Erotic literature has been around for years – way before 50 Shades of Grey – and it continues to flourish. It can be found in the form of novels, short stories, poetry, memoirs or even sex manuals; covering subjects such as prostitution, homosexuality, sadomasochism and the world of fetish. Defining erotic literature is hard; yes it’s a book about sex, but it’s not just that. Many popular non-erotic novels have lots of sex

Queer love stories

Image: chrisjtse, Flickr, CC BY 4.0 [April Wilson | TV Director] While love is very much the focus of modern day media, there is undoubtedly less representation for queer characters; whether that be on TV, in films or comics. This list (by no means exhaustive) covers a range of platforms. Also, some of the couples on this list were instrumental in opening up their platform for the showing of queer characters in popular media. 1. Twist and Shout This is a fanfiction, but it’s

Top 3 Classic Horror Books (that aren’t Frankenstein!)

Katie Noble | Entertainment Editor So, Halloween is quickly approaching and we’ve got some alternative book reviews for you. ‘Alternative’ you say? Well yes. We’ve decided to do things a little differently and offer you some spooky reading material that is outside of the normal Halloween recommendations. Here we’ve got a modern horror and two classic psychological thrillers: one from 1963 and one from 1890. Carrie – Stephen King We’re probably pushing it by calling this ‘clas

7th September: Buy a Book Day

[Katie Noble | Entertainment Editor] So, today is officially Buy a Book day! I’m sure that you already have a ‘to-buy’ pile as long as your arm (damn reading lists) but here, have a couple more. You know, for good measure? The Man Booker long-list has recently been released and I find that it’s a great way to source a little literary inspiration. Here’s some of our top picks from the books that made the cut: The Chimes by Anna Smaill The Chimes is the brilliant literary debut

9th August: Five types of book to read on Book Lovers Day

[Laura Noakes | Deputy Editor] For me, everyday is Book Lovers Day, but then I’m a massive book geek, so…but for everyone else Book Lovers Day occurs on August 9th. The day is a chance to kick back, relax and crack open that book you’ve been meaning to read for ages. Reading is one of those experiences that instantly transports you away from all the worry and stress of life, and into a brand new world. It’s a way of exploring – travelling – without even leaving your house. I

My 5 favourite books from my childhood

[Laura Noakes | Deputy Editor] Happy Children’s Book Weeks everyone! I was a MASSIVE book geek as a kid, so to celebrate, here are my top five favourite childhood books. 1) The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S Lewis First up, Narnia. I was completely obsessed with this book as a child. It had talking animals, an evil witch, Christmas and turkish delight in it – practically everything you could want or hope for in a children’s book! This book series is a classic, and in

For and Against: Should we read more fiction?

Two of our writers go head to head on the subject of reading fiction. AGAINST – What a waste of time [Brad Johnson | Deputy Editor] When anyone offers me or tells me about this amazing book they are reading, my first reaction is to head in the opposite direction because I can guarantee although my eyes look like I care, I really don’t. Fiction in the form of books is the biggest waste of time ever, fact. I can sum it very simply. I have my problems therefore I do not need to

7 books for 7 continents: Turn a page and travel the world

[Jennie Couling | Contributing Writer] Books are great: Through reading we can be transported to any place, any time, any life. While you might not get a tan reading these, any of these books will transport you to another place and culture for about the same price as a trip to the seaside. Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found by Suketu Mehta (2004) 1) ASIA Maximum City: Bombay Lost and Found is author Suketu Mehta’s autobiographical experience of Mumbai and was a 2005 Pulitzer

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

[Eleanor Pilcher | Contributing Writer] “The Circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it…it is simply there, when yesterday it was not.” The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern was the author’s debut novel in 2011, a number one hit that has a similar following to it as the circus within the story does. Set in Victorian times, spanning the globe as the circus moves from place to place, the story reads like a fairy-tale with its various twists and turns. The story

Book Review: Seven Ancient Wonders by Matthew Reilly

[Leong Qi Tyng | Contributing Writer] I like action thrillers that are fast-paced and non-stop action with the right amount of adventure. Books written by Mathew Reilly meet my expectations and they are a real page turner. The book I like most from Matthew Reilly is the Jack West Jr. Series. It is an action packed book and touches on themes of loyalty, courage and family. The author injects some humour in as well. The characters are lovable and also flawed in their own way. W

5 weird and wonderful novels

[Laura Noakes | Deputy Editor] For this month’s BlueMoon, we’re celebrating all things Weird and Wonderful so if you’re currently in a reading slump, and need something weird, wonderful or both to spruce up your bookshelf, stay tuned. 1.Wonder by R. J. Palacio Our first book is definitely on the side of wonderful. Wonder tells the story of August, who is a ten year old boy with a facial abnormality. If you like John Green, Wonder is for you – this is a heartwarming, tearjerke

Our 5 Favourite Young Adult Novels

[Laura Noakes | Deputy Editor] I am a massive bookworm, I absolutely love reading and have a slight book-buying problem. Some of my favourite books come from the young adult genre – books that are aimed at teenagers, mainly because the genre is so diverse and captures so much great literature from fantasy to contemporary to dystopia and everything in-between. So here are my top five favourite young adult novels that truly show the range and quality of YA fiction: 1. The Divin