In the first of our new series, MIR ‘s Managing Editor of Content takes on our questionnaire.
What is a typical day for you?
As Managing Editor of Content for MIROnline I spend a lot of time organising the submissions to the site or competition entries. This involves getting the entries to the readers, selecting a shortlist, editing, uploading them to the site. It’s a lot but I thoroughly enjoy it. I’m also in charge of the social media for MIR: Every morning I’ll create posts to promote anything new that has gone on the site or upcoming events. When I’m not doing this, I try to write. I’m writing a novel at the moment and it’s tough, tougher than ever. But I’m confident it’s going to be something I’ll be proud of.
What are you looking for/not looking for in submissions?
I want honest stories. Stories that have come from a place of vulnerability. If you’re feeling shame while writing, I think you’re probably nailing it. Also, stories that take one aspect of life and thoroughly investigate it for a few thousand words; anything too vague or sprawling will always turn me off.
What are you most excited about in the next 12 months?
It has to be the publication of two books next year written by dear friends Louise Hare and Abi Dare. Their books ‘This Lovely City’ and ‘The Girl with the Louding Voice’ are sublime.
What was your favourite subject at school and why?
Drama. I loved it. I wanted to be an actor for a while. But it turns out I was just interested in telling stories. It took me 30 years to work that out. But I’m glad I finally did.
What surprises you about your job that you didn’t expect?
The kindness of the writing community. Sure you get some bad eggs, but for the most part, people just want the best for their fellow writers and they’ll do anything they can to support them. I’m so happy to be a part of it.
The Life and Times of Michael K – J.M. Coetzee
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
The Birds and Other Stories – Dauphne De Maurier
The Sisters Brothers – Patrick DeWitt
The Goldfinch – Donna Tartt
This vegan wrap I get from a local market. The butterbean paste is everything.
Coffee or tea
Loose-leaf Rooibos tea from The Store Cupboard in Crystal Palace. I live off the stuff.
Which author, living or dead, would you like to write your biography
J.M.Coetzee – he would be able to write about all the negative and still make me a hero.
Peter J Coles was born in Oxford and currently lives in London. He came to writing after stumbling through various universities around the world studying Japanese literature. He recently finished an MA Creative Writing at Birkbeck University, is the Managing Editor of Content for The Mechanics Institute Review and was an editor for the MIR 15 anthology. He is currently working on two novels and was shortlisted for the Wasafiri New Writing Prize 2018, longlisted for the Grindstone Literature International Novel Prize 2018, and has been published on Ellipsis Zine.