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The final adventure for Paddington Bear, which involves the marmalade fanatic visiting St Paul’s Cathedral, will be published in June 2018 a year after the death of his creator, Michael Bond, at the age of 91. “He was working on it very shortly before he died,” said Bond’s daughter, Karen Jankel. “It hadn’t been illustrated, but it was there in manuscript form, and it’s lovely … He kept that magic touch right until the end. He always had to be writing, it was always his way, right through his life.” In his latest adventure, the wild bear sets off for…

“No book is really worth reading at the age of ten which is not equally – and often far more – worth reading at the age of fifty and beyond.” Clive Staples Lewis was born in Belfast, Ireland, on November 29th 1898. He was very close to his brother, Warren, and the two created the imaginary land of Boxen together. Lewis graduated from Oxford University with a focus on literature and classic philosophy. When he took up a teaching position at Magdalen College, within the university, he also joined a group known as The Inklings. This was an informal collective…

“We don’t need a list of rights and wrongs, tables of do’s and don’t’s: we need books, time, and silence. Thou shalt not is soon forgotten, but once upon a time lasts forever.” Philip Pullman is known as one of the world’s most influential storytellers. He was born on the 19th October, 1946 in Norfolk. He was educated in England, Zimbabwe and Australia before his family settled down in North Wales. After securing his Bachelors in Arts at Exeter College, Oxford, he began teaching. He taught middle school children and at the same time, he began to pursue his writing,…

“Mom says where did anxiety come from? Anxiety is the cousin visiting from out of town depression felt obliged to bring to the party. Mom, I am the party. Only, I am a party I don’t want to be at.” Exploring themes of mental health, love and family; Sabrina Benaim’s debut book certainly packs a punch. I knew of Sabrina Benaim long before this book came to light. She is a very well known performance poet and one of the most-viewed of all time, so no pressure for her to release a brilliant book, right? There is an extreme sense…

Looking into the beams of sunlight piercing through the Far Out tent towards the frothy, cumbersome clouds nestling up against the picturesque Brecon Beacons. Kevin Morby remarked: “It’s like playing inside a womb!” A peculiar statement, but I couldn’t help but feel some of its sentiment was rather apt. The whole festival is rife with a sweeping brotherly comradery. A profound aura of acceptance that swallows festival veterans, families and millennial neo-hippies alike in the grandeur of the Welsh countryside. Dissimilar to the likes of Latitude Festival – where the family emphasis is glaring – Green Man falls just on…

Jeremy Hardy has 32 years of performance in stand-up, shows on Radio 4 (Jeremy Hardy Speaks to the Nation, The News Quiz…), which has run for ten series, appearances on TV and a few films all under his belt. What is so particular about this comedian is that he is widely known for his political views. Not only is he firmly left-wing but he also happens to be a 25-year-old friend of Jeremy Corbyn, the new Labour Party leader. In a recent interview with Seren, he talks about his upcoming show in Pontio on the 20th of May and his…

Leonardo DiCaprio’s elusive wait for an Academy Award was finally over on the 28th February this calendar year. It seemed the whole world watched as 41 year old finally picked up his first Oscar for Best Actor in a leading role for his part as fur trapper Hugh Glass in The Revenant. It has been a long time coming for the six times Oscar nominee, five for acting roles and one for producing. But the people’s choice for this year’s best actor finally picked up his award and it was the shining light in a ceremony that was shrouded in controversy…

JK Rowling, she who needs no introduction, has long been ‘done’ with the series which made her the most beloved of children’s writers of our generation. Harry Potter spawned 7 books, 8 films, a dozen video games, and millions of fans. Once the novels were tied up in 2007 with the final title Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Rowling opened the website Pottermore in 2011, which has thousands of words more of backstory about the world of the Boy-Who-Lived. Fans can sign up and receive their wand, take the Sorting Hat quiz to discover their House, and read all…

The longlist for the Man Booker International Prize 2016 has been announced; here are the nominees for this year’s prize: A Cup of Rage, Raduan Nassar. A General Theory of Oblivion, José Eduardo Agualusa. A Strangeness in my Mind, Orhan Pamuk. A Whole Life, Robert Seethaler. Death by Water, Kenzaburō Ōe. Ladivine, Marie NDiaye. Man Tiger, Eka Kurniawan. Mend the Living, Maylis de Kerangal. The Four Books, Yan Lianke. The Story of the Lost Child, Elena Ferrante. The Vegetarian, Han Kang. Tram 83, Fiston Mwanza Mujila. White Hunger, Aki Ollikainen.

Alan Rickman, the actor and director, has died aged 69. The quintessential villain to most audiences, he first broke out onto the film scene with a major performance as terrorist Hans Gruber in Die Hard (1988). This led to further roles such as the Sheriff of Nottingham in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), Eamon De Valera in the eponymous biopic of Michael Collins (1996), and to slightly younger audiences as Severus Snape in the Harry Potter films (2001-2011). Rickman made himself to be one of Britain’s best actors by taking up smaller roles along the way, featuring two standouts…

Between the 17th and 25th of July, the circus came to town. This was no ordinary circus, but a feast of circus themed events organised by Pontio, taking place at various fixed and improvised venues around Bangor. The headline event, ‘FLOWN’, was an award winning modern circus show housed in a traditional big top on Beach Road, with 10 performances given over the course of the week. The show opened with a satirical monologue pointing out shortcomings of the previous night’s performance, letting the audience know that this was not your typical circus show. The pace soon quickened when a…

At the start of July, writer Imy Santiago wrote a blog entry on her website which caused a small media frenzy. The post, entitled Amazon… A virtual marketplace, or Big Brother?, talked about how she had written a review for a fellow writer on Amazon’s platform and was surprised and a little peeved to find she was unable to post the review. She then received an explanatory e-mail from the company. You can read the full post on her site here. For those who don’t know, Amazon has a set of rules about posting reviews on their marketplace. As their page…

Action films are of a genre that’s frequently cited as being male dominated and generally not that female friendly. In recent years we’ve seen the rise of the female action hero – it’s becoming a more and more popular occurrence – with the recent releases of Hanna (2011), Lucy (2014) and The Hunger Games (2012). Of the top ten grossing films in 2014 only two contained a female lead but both can be seen to reside within the genre of action. With it being International  Women’s Day today, I decided to write a list of the most powerful and influential female…

Bangor International Poetry Season: Give Poetry a Chance! By Jack H. Upton This October, Bangor hosted possibly one of the biggest literary appreciation events in the UK of 2014; an entire month dedicated to Poetry. I’m sure most of you approach this subject with a pinch of salt – I personally have never been excited by poetry – and for the poetry lovers out there, I’m sure most of you did not know what to expect from Poetry Month. However, the sheer breadth of Bangor Poetry Season perhaps gave me hope for the Poetic Arts, after all. The turnout was…

Recently, Seren was invited to attend a performance of Peter Pan on ice at the local theatre, Venue Cymru. As an occasional writer for the paper, I jumped at the chance to be the one to go and review the show – I absolutely love the story of Peter Pan and what could be more magical than telling that story on ice. I managed to convince one of my colleagues to attend with me, partly for a second opinion but also because I had a strong suspicion that I might be sobbing during the performance and a girl cannot be…

The Maze Runner by James Dashner is fantastic for fans of The Hunger Games. Don’t be put off by its “Young Adult” status it is a great read for adults as well as teenagers. It is set in a dystopia called “The Glade.” Its residents, the Gladers, are all teenaged boys, all of whom have had their memory wiped and all they can remember about themselves is their first name. This is true for protagonist Thomas. The Glade, which resides in the middle of a gigantic maze, appears to be their only means of escape and is guarded by half-robot-half-creature…

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