Elinor Johns rounds up our January MIRLive.



An appreciative audience packed the basement bar of The Harrison on Monday 28th January for our first MIRLive of 2019. We were treated to an interesting variety of creative pieces performed in a relaxed atmosphere, created by Peter Coles, our enthusiastic host for the evening.

Sybil Ruth began the evening with a thought- provoking and evocative piece called “Restored.” Written as a result of a workshop on Brexit, this piece was well- crafted, intertwining two journeys; that of the narrator, taking the bus home from the embassy where she has gained a certificate to restore her German identity, and that of her grandmother, as an immigrant, arriving in the country eighty years earlier. It was an ironic piece about identity, conjuring a sense of displacement, sensitively and gently told through carefully selected details.

The mood shifted a gear when Ronan Fitzgerald took to the stage to present his poem, “The Girl in the Orange Dress,” which was derived from newspaper headlines. Ronan performed his poem perfectly, expertly bringing out the tragi- comic effect of his juxtapositions. His skilled use of repetition and rhythm took us through a myriad of events, succinctly evoked and carefully placed. From “I fell in love/ I fell off the escalator,” through to “fatherhood was like growing wild mushrooms in a death camp,” we were surprised and ultimately moved by the poem, which for all its absurdities was a cogent tale of falling in love “at the supermarket checkout” with “The girl in the orange dress.”

The next piece was called “Unpublished Obituary for a Playwright,” which was extremely well performed by its author, Raoul Colvile. Conversational in tone, the story took the form of a confessional monologue. The strangeness of the playwright’s corpse being wrapped in a carpet was an absurd, yet poignant detail and as the monologue developed, pathos was evoked for the narrator, a lonely and bereaved man, considering the futility of his life.

Kayleigh Cassidy’s autobiographical piece, “Home time,” began with a gentle, comic recounting of growing up in the nineties, charting memories of peer group frictions at primary school, but as the piece developed she inter-wove much darker memories within a fast paced style. The vivid dialogue gave immediacy to the child’s eye view and the hints of family breakdown were drip- fed into the piece so that the audience was left wanting more.

This was followed by “Past Lives,” an interesting internal monologue, in which the many reincarnations of the narrator were presented as a struggle for happiness between the narrator and a lover. Sometimes life allowed for requited love but often destiny would leave the narrator unfulfilled. Nevertheless, the ending was positive. It was beautifully read by its author, Rebekah Lin.

This took us to our headline act. Laura Kaye ended the evening with an impressive extract from her next novel, “Parties,” which described a ludicrously lavish party from the waitress’ perspective. Dressed as a mermaid, Mary suffers the indignities of waiting on predatory guests in a surreal environment. Witty and satirical, her piece had us all laughing out loud. It was a highly entertaining way to end a great evening.

Do join us next time on March 11th as a performer alongside comedian Rosie Wilby, or as a member of the audience – no tickets required! Submit your work here.

February 20, 2019

MIRLive: Laura Kaye

Elinor Johns rounds up our January MIRLive.
December 10, 2018

December Reads

Dystopian worlds, lightning strikes, bleak visions of the American West and tales from a dysfunctional health system – nothing about this selection could be called ‘seasonal’ but we hope you find something that helps you get through the holidays. James
October 18, 2018

MIRLive: The Mechanics Institute Review special!

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
September 25, 2018

October Recommended Reads

A new school term brings some more reading suggestions from the MIROnline Team. We hope you enjoy our selections. James
July 27, 2018

Identity, inequality and chickens at our Summer MIRLive

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
July 23, 2018

July Reads

Another varied selection from the MIR Online team to take your mind off politics, sporting failures and global warming. Enjoy. James  
May 28, 2018

MIRLive Arts Week Special 2018

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
May 21, 2018

May Reads

Two themes emerge in this month’s reads: race and the British ‘establishment’. Enjoy. James
May 7, 2018

Zoe Gilbert discusses her new novel “Folk”

Zoe Gilbert discusses the power of traditional story telling and her new novel “Folk” with Lauren Miller
April 20, 2018

April Reads

Here are some books for you to enjoy in the spring sunshine. (That line is bound to age horribly.) James
March 22, 2018

March Recommended Reads

Here are the MIROnline team’s recommendations for March. We hope you enjoy them. James
February 22, 2018

MIRLive Readers Warm Up a Cold February Evening

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
February 7, 2018

February Reads

Here are our recommendations for February. We hope you enjoy them. James
January 8, 2018

Amer Anwar talks about his debut novel Brothers in Blood

Amer Anwar’s award-winning debut novel Brothers in Blood will be published by Dialogue Books on September 6, 2018. Amer, who graduated from Birkbeck with an MA in Creative Writing in 2010, talks to Aisha Phoenix about his journey to winning the Crime Writers’ Association’s Debut Dagger, cultural bias in publishing […]
January 5, 2018

Sian Hughes talks to Mslexia

Sian Hughes spoke to: Editorial Director, Debbie Taylor; Assistant Editor, Francoise Harvey; and Advertising & Digital Marketing Associate, Laura Steven – to hear their thoughts about creativity, writing, editing, and people that are difficult to work with…
January 4, 2018

January Reads

A new year and some new recommendations. We hope you enjoy them. James
January 1, 2018

MIRLive Winter Tales

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
November 29, 2017

November Reads

The MIROnline team share the books they’ve been reading this month.
November 26, 2017

MIRLive: Winter Tales with Neil Griffiths

Join Neil Griffiths at The Harrison for a Winter Tales Special. 
November 1, 2017

Luke Tredget discusses his new novel Kismet

Luke Tredget speaks to Silvia Rucchin about his new novel Kismet