Goodbye; Au Revoir; Auf Wiederluege

 Ciara Murray

It’s been a great couple of years living and studying in Zurich. But like all good things, it comes to an end. With my MA exams behind me and a new trainee librarian job awaiting me in September, I’m saying farewell to the land of cheese, chocolate and snow-topped alps as I head back to England’s soggy shores.

I’ve really enjoyed setting up and editing ZEST, and have been amazed at the dedication, wit and creativity that all our contributors have shown. Continue reading “Goodbye; Au Revoir; Auf Wiederluege”

The Circus arrives without warning…

Ciara Murray

Whilst waiting at Liverpool airport for a plane back to Geneva, I thought I had best get something to read from the bookshop. I had my notes and texts for my Linguistics exam the following morning, but even that might not have been enough to keep me going for a five hour journey back to Zurich… Intrigued by its monochromatically stylish cover, its author’s whimsical name, and its recommendation from another of my absolute favourite authors, Audrey Niffenegger, I picked up The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Continue reading “The Circus arrives without warning…”

Ageing on screen

Ciara Murray

What is it about the ageing process that terrifies us so much that we cannot bear to see anyone out of their twenties on our television screens? Modern visual culture has long been obsessed with youth and the conception of beauty as airbrushed, glamorous perfection – the main enemy of which is time as it stamps its lines and crow’s feet on faces once smooth and unmarred or dares to introduce shades of grey into hair once defiantly colourful. There is an enormous and incredibly profitable industry dedicated to waging war with time in an ongoing battle whose object seems to be immortality. But who really wants to be twenty-something for ever? And shouldn’t television celebrate the diversity of its audience a little more? Continue reading “Ageing on screen”

And May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour

Ciara Murray

Following my review/rant on Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games, I now present to you the sequel, in which I review the film (and try not to rant any more about vampires).

If you haven’t yet seen it – which is perfectly possible given it was only released last week – and you also haven’t read the books (naughty) then you might want to wait before perusing this review. Otherwise, on with the show! Continue reading “And May The Odds Be Ever In Your Favour”

Masters Exams: Tips and Tricks

Ciara Murray

As the summer gets closer, so too does exam time. Well, for some of us anyway. In the UK, summer always equalled exams, but at least here you can also choose to take them in the drearier winter term, leaving summer free for more leisurely pursuits.

BUT, for me, the leisurely pursuits will have to wait. I’m hoping to get my MA exams done and dusted this June, and with several others also in the same boat, I thought it might be a good idea to share some potential tips and tricks for surviving… Continue reading “Masters Exams: Tips and Tricks”

Are YOU ready for the Hunger Games?

Ciara Murray

I’m on a bit of a dystopian literature kick at the moment – I’ve been working my way through Huxley’s Brave New World, Orwell’s 1984, Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 – all books that I have always had in the back of my mind to read but somehow never got round to it. Now that I’m intending to take an exam on this genre it’s given me the extra impetus to get on with it. Pressure, in these situations at least, is a good thing.

I have always had a penchant for literary dystopias, even if I haven’t always been particularly conscious of the fact: a lot of science fiction and fantasy has a whiff of the utopian about it, and this brand of “what-if” coupled with astute social commentary usually makes for my kind of book. So when a friend of mine described the plot of Suzanne Collins’s trilogy The Hunger Games, I thought it might well have to be one of my first purchases on my newly-acquired Kindle… Continue reading “Are YOU ready for the Hunger Games?”

Faces of the Faculty #8, 21.12.11

Ciara Murray

Thanks to all the staff members who have taken part so far in ‘Faces of the Faculty’, it was great to have your involvement and to find out more about you. I know the students have enjoyed reading your words of wisdom and discovering things they didn’t know about the people they encounter on a regular basis! For now, this is the last of the features, unless any other staff members wish to take part! It would be great to be able to continue this column; if you have not been in touch yet but would like to be involved, just get in touch on zest.editor@gmail.com. Happy Christmas to the English Faculty and its students; see you again next year! And now, let’s hear from Shane Walshe…


Continue reading “Faces of the Faculty #8, 21.12.11”

Faces of the Faculty #7, 20.12.11

Ciara Murray

Well boys and girls, I had thought that this would be the last of the Faces of the Faculty interviews, but wait! Two staff members very kindly took the time to respond despite the busyness of the end of term…So we shall have not one but two features this week! Let’s roll with the first, with Adrian Rainbow. (David Matley, if you’re watching: them’s fightin’ words, wouldn’t you say?) 😉


Continue reading “Faces of the Faculty #7, 20.12.11”

What They Won’t Tell You

Ciara Murray

If books are correct and poets true
If readers heark to what they say
Then this is what they tell to you –
That love is like a summer’s day.

Now truth be told I must admit,
I’m troubled by this sentiment;
It seems simplistic, doesn’t it?
Belittles the predicament.

If summer days were fraught with rain,
And wavered between cloud and sun,
They might shed light upon the pain
That love deals out to everyone.

But they won’t tell you this, you see:
It doesn’t make good poetry.

The Love of the Irish

Ciara Murray

This general good feeling towards the inhabitants of the Emerald Isle (or indeed anyone who has any association with it whatsoever) is a phenomenon I have especially observed since being in Switzerland, but it does not seem unreasonable to make the sweeping statement that the Irish are generally well-loved around the globe. I have witnessed first-hand people’s desire to demonstrate some connection with Ireland: “Oh, yes, my surname is Irish, I think my great, great, great, great aunt was from Roscommon…” “I don’t actually have any family ties, but I cheer on the Irish in all their sporting endeavours. Come on the Greens!” “I visited when I was ten, spent Winter Solstice in Newgrange, got drunk in the Guinness factory AND I have a pet leprechaun under my bed called Paddy.”

OK, so some of those might not have been direct quotes. But you get the idea. Continue reading “The Love of the Irish”