The Mechanics’ Institute Review is Birkbeck’s annual anthology of short-form fiction, non-fiction and poetry by emerging and established writers from across the UK.
With 15 issues published to date, The Mechanics’ promotes inclusivity, diversity and opportunity while publishing new work of the highest possible quality. From Issue 16, we are widening our content to include non-fiction and poetry, while remaining steadfastly committed to championing the short story as an art form.
The Mechanics’ has received critical acclaim from the Guardian, Independent, TLS and Time Out, and endorsements from Ali Smith, Damian Barr, Kevin Barry, Tessa Hadley and Courttia Newland among many others. We have been privileged to feature more than 40 guest authors over the years, from Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie to Evie Wyld via Zoe Gilbert, Jackie Kay, Rose Tremain and David Foster Wallace, to name but a prize-winning few. Meanwhile a significant number of the approximately 220 new authors we have published have found agents and landed contracts as a direct result of their inclusion in the anthology.
Available in print and e-book format, The Mechanics’ was originally produced by students taking the Publishing option as part of their Creative Writing MA; since Issue 11, however, it has been produced by a team of volunteers. From Issue 14 onwards, initially thanks to funding from Arts Council England, The Mechanics’ has gone national, extending its reach beyond Birkbeck Creative Writing Programme students to find and develop talent from throughout the country.
A constant and distinguishing feature of each collection is the rigour of its selection and editing process, which ensures the high literary and production quality of every issue and that involvement with The Mechanics’ is acknowledged to be a valuable experience for editors and authors alike.
These pieces are as energetic, diverse, as full of fascinating characters and intriguing stories as the city they were crafted in.
A promise of what’s to come for the short story.
There’s breathtaking energy in these stories, and skilful pulling of the rug from beneath your feet.
Good storytelling, gripping characters and a strong sense of place: these writers show us how it’s done.
Authentic detail, pin-sharp descriptions – buy it.
A window into the future of fiction. Here, you can glimpse writers that your friends will be recommending to you in six or seven years’ time. Here, you can discover their energetic but controlled, reckless but accomplished beginnings. This is the most rewarding kind of reading you can do.