Aoifke McGuire-France

Hi! I'm Aoifke, a second-year English Literature student at Durham University.

I started writing journalistically in the first lockdown, April 2020. I mainly write book and music reviews for my student newspapers but have also had my creative writing published. I am currently the Creative Editor of Durham's main online magazine 'The Bubble', and I run a Bookstagram account named 'afisbooks' where I review books, poetry and post my creative writing pieces.

I am open to requests.

Review: White Teeth by Zadie Smith —

White Teeth by Zadie Smith has been sitting on my bookshelf since last summer. I was drawn to it not only because of my love for Smith’s other works, such as NW and Feel Free, but also because of its well-received response upon publication. Dubbed as ‘an extraordinarily accomplished first novel’ by the Financial Times, I was intrigued by why readers found it so compelling and so lovable. During lockdown, I have finally been able to return to White Teeth and finish reading! Smith's writing is in

Dawn —

the world has stopped breathing and all i hear is my heart beating amongst the trees rustling outside. i press my ear against the window, to hear more. i wish i could touch them. outside there is a different person running every hour they have nowhere to go but they have somewhere to hide. and the man from across the road waves every morning as i peer out of my glass stained confinement. wondering what freedom tastes like. we are stuck between a state of living and dying only to see

You Will Find Her —

dipped behind the bread at 9:30pm in aisle five stuck in-between the railings at the bus stop underneath the lamppost in the evening glow. you will think you have begun to forget her scent, her smile until you find them again in the back pages of a borrowed library book you think the grief is over but then taste a biscuit soaked in tea only to see her dancing on the waters. as you open the window she's perched on top of the lily pads in the pond your father needs to clean where the

Holiday Books: A passage of Christmases in ‘Little Women’

With Greta Gerwig’s recent adaptation being released this time last year, Little Women by Louisa May Alcott has become a firm Christmas favourite. A childhood classic, it reminds me of Christmases spent with family, reunited with friends and the cold weather on Christmas Day. With the holiday season looking a little bit different this year I wanted to revisit the novel and film before the festive period was over. Although it’s not necessarily a totally holiday-centric text its warmth and joy re

Album Review: Taylor Swift – ‘Evermore’

In a year where all of us seem to have been doing nothing, and just getting by, Taylor Swift has been busy. On 11th December she released Evermore; marking her second foray into folk and indie music, after her first surprise album of the year Folklore. An album that has been mainly co-produced by The National’s Aaron Dessener and Jack Antonoff, it feels like Swift has come full circle in her music. Starting out as a country singer writing narratives about characters that existed solely in her he

Diversifying your bookshelf: ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’

Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche’s ‘Half of a Yellow Sun’ is a masterpiece detailing the Nigerian Civil War. Throughout the novel, race is a defining theme – but not an open discussion. The divisions of race are not explicitly detailed in the novel. Adiche uses the downfall of the State of Biafra to explore the differences and divisions between races and cultures. The novel tells the story of three protagonists: Odenigbo, Ugwu and Richard. Odenigbo is a radical university professor, who hosts parties f

Books in the context of 2020: ‘Normal People’ and ‘Station Eleven’

After a turbulent year, two of our Books contributors reflect on the novels they read in 2020 that held a striking resonance. During the first lockdown of 2020, Sally Rooney’s Normal People was the book everyone seemed to be reading. With the highly successful television series depicting Marianne and Connell’s turbulent ‘will they-won’t they’ relationship through high-school and university, the novel became the perfect escapism during the unprecedented pandemic. Perhaps due to the class dispar

A Favourite Poem: Exploring Eavan Boland’s ‘Inheritance’

I began to write this article before hearing of the passing of Eavan Boland on the 27th of April, 2020. Boland was one of the foremost writers of Irish literature, her poetry documenting the often unheard and undiscussed history of Irish women throughout the political turmoil that the country has experienced. Inheritance by Eavan Boland is a poem that I often find myself coming back to, a piece that repeats itself in my head. Boland writes beautifully about political turmoil in Ireland, and her

Revelations in the time of a pandemic

Features compiles the thoughts of Durham students during this strange time. While this has been a time of uncertainty and worry, it has also been a time for reflection and open-mindedness. It is without doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has been a fascinating study of modern society. Akin to a slightly morbid social experiment for behavioural analysists and ordinary persons alike, what has struck me most about the current climate is the sharp polarising effect that a crisis can have. We have

You were always who you were

you were always who you were, soft-spoken, small smile, kind eyes I would look at you for years, only to find it wasn’t enough with your checked shirt and books in the bag you bought just for me there was something missing within me that didn’t make it quite right but I smiled and nodded my head and carried on, waiting for a moment where it would feel right. no matter how long it took how long does it take for someone to erode from you? how do lovers undo each other? I’ll tak