Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.

Images © Lyndsey Garrett and Stella Klein


July’s MIRLive was an exciting event with a set of readings presented by some excellent performers. Several readings chimed with thematic links, touching on identity, inequality, powerlessness and surprisingly frequent references to chickens!

In fact, Miki Lentin’s story was called “Chicken House” in which the narrator and his lodger have rescued battery chickens and set them up in a chicken house at home. Through sparse dialogue the lodger’s situation as an asylum refugee becomes apparent, and his tenderness and concern for the chickens hints at his own traumatic journey and vulnerability. Miki’s measured, clear delivery allowed the audience time to absorb the subtext and to gain an awareness of the suffering and gravitas behind the gentle co-operation of the two men.

Sogol Sur’s performance of her poem “Inheritance” was a dramatic contrast, dynamically portraying turbulent emotions. We were told of a “motherless woman in your twenties” tussling with grief, fear and an obstructive bureaucracy that leaves the girl feeling her identity and status are under threat. It ended with the powerful lines,

“Take off your fake hijab…

You’re not meant to exist.”

It was a further treat to listen to Arhondia’s story “Athenians” in which she drew on her Greek roots to deliver authentic, vivid dialogue. This was sometimes comic but ultimately warm and sensitively conveyed. The encounter with the young man forced by austerity measures into the indignity of bin diving was both convincing and thought- provoking.

Before the break we heard from Valentine Carter whose story “Why make do when you can make art?” contrasted with the styles of the other pieces in that its narrative took a surreal turn of direction. Starting with a description of a sandcastle competition, the story developed through imagery and carefully selected details, transporting us through the ocean. We experienced what was perhaps a little girl’s fantasy, skilfully told.

Refreshed by drinks at the upstairs bar we returned to the cool basement, ready to hear the last three acts. Rushika Wick delivered her poem “Halal Store- we mend Phones” with a gentle tone which belied the violence touched upon in the poem. Economically, and extremely effectively the poet conveyed a sense of two contrasting cultures, of a refugee fled from war, “now consoled by Yorkshire tea/ No avalanche apart from racist jokes you don’t get.”

Anita Goveas followed this poem with a reading called “Outside In.”  This was a flash fiction mosaic derived from her dreams and jigsawed together to produce an interesting and moving piece which conveyed childhood feelings of powerlessness and displacement, in-keeping with the evening’s themes.

This led us to our final reading by our headliner Zoe Gilbert whose book “Folk” works as both a set of short stories and as a novel, in that the stories are inter-linked. They take us through a generation of folk who live precariously on the enchanted isle of Neverness, where adolescents like Madden and Hark experience rites of passage and move into adulthood. Neverness is a weird place of loss and longing, where sexual yearning is fraught with violence and danger, engendered by traditions and customs and the savage nature of the landscape itself. Zoe’s prose is lyrical and exciting and left the audience wanting much more of her “True tale of Jack Frost” in which the peverse jealousy of a mother and sister has disastrous consequences. Zoe’s reading was certainly a delightful end to an inspiring evening.

Our next MIRLive event will be a Mechanics Institute Review special, where we will hear extracts from stories that have been published in MIR 15. All are welcome!

July 27, 2018

Identity, inequality and chickens at our Summer MIRLive

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
May 28, 2018

MIRLive Arts Week Special 2018

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
February 22, 2018

MIRLive Readers Warm Up a Cold February Evening

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
January 9, 2018
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MIRLive with Lara Pawson

Join Lara Pawson at The Harrison.
January 1, 2018

MIRLive Winter Tales

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
November 26, 2017

MIRLive: Winter Tales with Neil Griffiths

Join Neil Griffiths at The Harrison for a Winter Tales Special. 
July 13, 2017

MIRLive Life Stories Special

Elinor Johns rounds up MIRLive.
June 20, 2017

MIRLive Life Stories

Katherine Angel and Emma Henderson Join us for MIRLive
May 22, 2017
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MIRLive Call for Submissions: Life Stories

Join us at The Harrison for our last event of the summer term. We’re looking for stories inspired by real life.
May 19, 2017
live performance poetry given by Birkbeck postgraduate students and staff

Poetry Live Arts Week Special

Elinor Johns rounds up Poetry Live.
March 30, 2017
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Poetry Live!

An amazing line up of poets for our Arts Week Special
March 15, 2017
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MIRLive Celebrates International Women’s Day

Sue Tyley and Stella Klein round up our MIRLive International Women’s Day Special
February 28, 2017
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K J Orr Headlines MIRLive

BBC National Short Story Award Winner KJ Orr headlines our International Women’s Day event. 
February 15, 2017

Leila Segal brings Cuban Warmth To A Frozen January

Katherine Vik rounds up our January MIRLive
February 4, 2017

K J Orr To Headline Women’s Day Event

Our next MIRLive takes place on March 6th at the Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8JF. This event will be headlined by BBC Short Story Award Winner, K J Orr, and will be an International Women’s Day Special. We will be accepting submissions from all genders but work should be […]
January 23, 2017
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Leila Segal Headlines MIRLive

Leila Segal reads from her debut collection, Breathe. MIRLive’s Alison Hitchock shares work from her letter writing project, From Me To You. Leila and Alison are joined by five more wonderful women reading poetry and short stories.
December 11, 2016

Leila Segal to Headline MIRLive

Our next MIRLive takes place on January 30th at the Harrison, 28 Harrison Street, King’s Cross, WC1H 8JF. This event will be headlined by Leila Segal. The deadline for Submissions is January 15th.
December 9, 2016

MIRLive: An Evening of Festive Fun

Alison Hitchcock rounds up our MIRLive Christmas Special
November 2, 2016
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MIR13 MIRLive special

Sue Tyley rounds up our October event.
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.