On Tuesday we celebrated the launch of our thirteenth anthology in the Keynes Library at Birkbeck.
The Mechanics’ Institute Review was launched in 2004 by Julia Bell and Sue Tyley as a way for Birkbeck’s Creative Writing MA students to experience the publishing industry. Now in its thirteenth year and created by a team of hard working volunteers, the anthology remains a refreshing collection of new fiction from Birkbeck’s creative writers, although things are set to change next year!
There have been some amazing guest authors over the years and this collection, introduced by Toby Litt, is no different, featuring work from Kit de Waal, Elizabeth Fremantle and Nadim Safdar.
At the launch party last Tuesday we were treated to a glass (or several) of wine, some delicious canapés and a taste of what’s to be found inside the pages of this year’s wonderfully pink edition.
We heard readings from three of the authors in the collection. Stella Klein read from New Materiality, taking us inside an art classroom where a student fantasises about her teacher. Nadia Wassef showed us perspectives on a young Cairo Bride in What Hamdiyya Vowed. The final reader of the evening, Ian McNabb, presented two characters from his story Look Out who have very different ideas on the correct way to obtain a baby.
It was good to see so many new MA and BA Creative Writing students at the launch party and we’re hoping that these students will be inspired to get involved with issue 14. In her introduction to Tuesday’s event, Julia gave the exciting news that next year’s anthology will be open to writers outside of Birkbeck and we’re all looking forward to finding some gems in this wider submission pool.
If you missed out on the fun on Tuesday, don’t worry! The MIR13 team will be hosting two more reading events where you can hear extracts from the anthology and buy your own copy. MIRLive, on October 24th, will be an anthology special and there will also be a reading at The Brick Lane Bookshop on November 7th.
Issue 13 of The Mechanic’s Institute Review is now available to purchase from Amazon and at future events.
Photos by James Wise and Vanessa Onwuemezi.