Sue Tyley rounds up our October event.


The second MIRLive, on 24 October 2016, was a special to celebrate the publication of the latest issue of The Mechanics’ Institute Review. All the readers were authors featured in MIR13, reading extracts from their MIR13 stories.Warmed up and kept simmering by MC Jamie West, who was one of the MIR13 editors, the audience packed the Harrison to standing-room-only bursting point, with the healthy book sales on the night testifying to their piqued interest and desire to know what happened next.

MIROnline’s own Melanie Jones opened the programme with an extract from One for Luck, a story about a suburban community with an unusual but scarcely unfortunate addiction. We learned that the idyll enjoyed by mother of two Rose and her neighbour Mr Collins – who memorably hates poached and scrambled eggs for being too wobbly – may not be as permanently perfect as appearances might suggest.

John Forde was up next, reading from Thinking About Sleep, in which the narrator, sleepless in bed in the early morning, recounts to the partner lying next to him the story of how they met, and their shared life together. (For the record, it was in a bed – a different one – complete with mirror ball, the Cocteau Twins, vodka and a K-holed Louise Brooks lookalike.)

Aliyah Kim Keshani then read an extract from Black Box, where Mei returns to work for the first time since the disappearance of the Malaysian plane on which her uncle was a passenger. Still suspended in the limbo of uncertainty and distress, she is constantly reminded of him, and recalls childhood holidays filled with kung fu ninjas, mangoes prodded to ant-crawling pulpiness, and stinking durians.

Melody Razak brought the first part of the evening to a close with an extract from The Girl Who Turned into a Jug. We heard how, out on the Bosphorus, an old fisherman and his young son net a curious sweet-smelling catch instead of the fat spring mackerel they’re hoping for, and how, six months earlier, in the palace, the sultan’s mother rages over a missing knock-kneed, moon-faced girl and trades colourful insults with her ballooningly pregnant daughter-in-law.

After the break, Chris Lilly introduced us to The Tea Dress, and to Kevin (happy to be called Kev), the stage manager caught up in a scheme to buy the eponymous dress for awesome, beautiful, inexhaustible fellow stage manager Antoinette (who insisted on Antoinette, the whole thing, always, every time). The story’s distinctive narrative voice Brian Blessedly delivered ensured the audience’s full attention and enjoyment as the second part of the evening got underway.

Claire Montell then took us to 1980s Moscow with The Travails of Uncle Vanya, where Chekhov-admiring Vanya is following Western diplomat’s wife Julia, and trying to convince his younger, undeservedly promoted boss that Julia’s is taking Russian lessons for nefarious rather than linguistic purposes. Shiny black Volgas, Gorky Park, a luxurious – and bugged – apartment building and double imperfect verbs were among the local touches that set a vivid scene.

Acclaimed Birkbeck alumna Elizabeth Fremantle closed the programme with passages from the first chapter of her new novel, The Girl in the Glass Tower, transporting us back to Chatsworth in the sixteenth century, where the nine-year-old Arbella Stuart, already curious, independent and freedom-loving, cannot resist the opportunity to meet the closely guarded, out-of-favour Queen of Scots, even though, or perhaps because, it is forbidden. The Girl in the Glass Tower is Elizabeth’s fourth novel, proof of MIR’s proud claim that many of the authors first published in its pages go on to achieve literary success.

There are no photos of the evening – unfortunately we were all too caught up in the readings to remember to take them – but if you’d like to share in the stories, you can buy a copy of MIR13 here.

November 2, 2016
Liz Fremantle 480

MIR13 MIRLive special

Sue Tyley rounds up our October event.
November 2, 2016

Poetry by John O’Meara Dunn

Matters Arising and Cold War Sequence
November 2, 2016

Diamonds and Ashes by Tamar Hodes

Creative Non-Fiction by Tamar Hodes
November 1, 2016
November Reads 480

Recommended Reads November

The first of our monthly book recommendations. The MIROnline team have chosen the books they are most enjoying this month.
October 31, 2016

Doppelgänger by Stuart Snelson

Short Fiction by Stuart Snelson
October 25, 2016
ein altes aufgeschlagenes Buch auf einem Tisch vor einer Schultafel

MIRLive December 5th

Our next MIRLive takes place on December 5th at the Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8JF. This will be a Christmas Special and we are looking for work inspired by folk tales, fairy tales and magic. The deadline for Submissions is November 18th.
October 24, 2016

Writers Wanted

Nomads writing group recruiting for new members.
October 24, 2016

Taking in the Parcels by Shauna Mackay

Short Fiction by Shauna Mackay
October 17, 2016

Date Night At The Big Disco by Valerie O’Riordan

Short Fiction by Valerie O’Riordan.
October 14, 2016

Things To Throw In The Fire by Danielle Bainbridge

Short Fiction by Danielle Bainbridge
October 12, 2016

Tribute by Sinead Morrissey

Poetry by Sinéad Morrissey
October 10, 2016

The Gift by Tabitha Potts

Short Fiction by Tabitha Potts
October 9, 2016

Sowing Seeds by Melanie Jones

A short story by Melanie Jones first published in MIR11
October 7, 2016

186000 Miles A Second by David Martin

Short Fiction by David Martin
October 3, 2016

Pretty in Pink: MIR13 Launch Party

On Tuesday we celebrated the launch of our thirteenth anthology in the Keynes Library at Birkbeck.
October 3, 2016

American Rules by Brandon Robshaw

Short Fiction by Brandon Robshaw.
September 29, 2016
Liz Fremantle 480

Elizabeth Fremantle to read at MIRLive

MIRLive returns  on October 24th 2016 for an anthology special. We are joined by Elizabeth Freemantle, Melanie Jones, Aliyah Keshani, Melody Razak, Chris Lilly, John Forde and Claire Montell.
September 26, 2016

Three Singers by Kavita A. Jindal

Short Fiction by Kavita A. Jindal. This story appears in the anthology ‘Love Across A Broken Map‘ which is available from Dahlia Publishing and features stories from the The Whole Kahani collective. The collective will be appearing at The Manchester Literature Festival in October.
August 5, 2016

No New Music

Poetry by Stephen Philip Druce
July 27, 2016

An Imperial Typewriter

Short fiction by Divya Ghelani