This second issue of the critically acclaimed Mechanics’ Institute Review offers 21 exciting new stories from a diverse selection of writers. The bereaved daughter, the insane genius child, the expectant mother, the drugged-up-to-the-eyeballs thrill-seeker – in these tales, the good, the bad and the morally passive encounter the edge and what lies just beyond... With an introduction by and profile of Sarah Waters.
NOTES ON CONTRIBUTORS
Niki Aguirre was born in Chicago and has lived in the USA, South America and Spain. She currently works as a web editor for local government and lives in South London. Niki has written a collection of short stories and is working on her first novel about a family of storytellers who suffer from wanderlust.
Caroline Annis grew up in Cleethorpes on the breezy Lincolnshire coast and, although she now lives in London, she can still feel the wind in her hair. She works as a freelance consultant specializing in digital television. As well as writing short stories, Caroline is currently writing her first novel.
Mary-Louise Buxton was born on the Isle of Man in 1982. After completing her Bachelor’s degree in the UK, she was awarded the 2003 Ella Olesen Scholarship to study at the University of Idaho, USA. She is now based in London. 'Mount Pleasant' is her first published piece.
Gail Campbell worked in investment banking for over twenty years and travelled extensively in North and South America and Asia. She was runner-up in the Bloomsbury New Voices short story competition in 2001. She lives in London with her husband Nick, their pug Jeeves, and tortoise Archie.
Vittorio D’Alessio has worked in London, Hong Kong and Sydney as a features writer and agony aunt, contributing to women's magazines, newspapers and websites. She has been health editor of British Marie Claire and has written a book, The Allergy-Free Home. In 1998 she won an Amnesty International Press Award. She is currently working on her first novel.
Rowena Dunn has spent her career working in the tax departments of a variety of commercial organizations, including a stint in Moscow training young Russian tax consultants. She likes to write about the incongruous.
Nicola Field published her book, Over the Rainbow, in 1995 and has since divided her time between arts journalism, community work, writing stories, performing poetry and (once) standing as Socialist Alliance candidate for Southwark council. Her novel in progress, And Some Will Go to Hell, is a story of family breakdown and domestic hysteria, told from the point of view of a child.
Sam Hudson is currently working on a collection of short stories. She was born in Australia in 1970. This is her second time at Birkbeck having graduated in 1996 with an MA in Gender, Society and Culture. She combines writing with working in the NHS and lives in Surrey with her husband and son.
Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone won the Promis Prize for young writers in the London Writers Competition 2002, and received a Graham Greene Birthplace Trust Award in 2004 to help complete her novel Correspondance, which she is currently revising. Rebekah is also the co-founder of Tales of the DeCongested, a monthly reading event set up to raise the profile of the short story and provide a platform for new writing.
Shaun Levin's novella, Seven Sweet Things, was published in 2003. His short stories appear in over thirty anthologies. He has been writer-in-residence in a school, a theatre, and a bookshop. He received an Arts Council of England Writers' Award in 2004, and is the editor of Chroma, a literary journal. His collection of short stories, A Year of Two Summers, will be out in 2005.
Sara Macintosh originally from British Columbia, Canada, came to live and study in London in 1979 and eventually found her way into the UK music industry. She lives in West London with her partner and their young son.
Alison Heathwood McCormack is a creative writing Master’s student at Birkbeck. Originally from New England, she has spent the last seven years working as a location manager for film and television in Hollywood. She is a graduate of Northwestern University in Chicago.
Frances Merivale was born in London and began writing seriously while teaching English in Ghana. Having travelled widely, she has now settled in London where she works as a fund-raiser for UNICEF. She has published two short stories and one travel article, as well as much professional writing for the overseas development sector. Her first novel, The Lost Collectors, is about a stalker's obsession with a lonely fantasist. Frances is now working on her second novel.
Katie Morris is an American writer living in London. 'Vital Signs' is an extract from her novel in progress, The Things We Cling To.
Mihaela Nicolescu was born in Romania, brought up in Sweden, and now lives and writes in London. She has published a few short stories in magazines and was awarded the Promis Prize for young writers in the 2003 London Writers Competition. At the moment she is working freelance and also writing her first novel.
Allia Oswald was born in North London of Caribbean descent. She is fascinated by the rhythm of dialect and is currently working on a play called Two Berry Place, a comedy about an Englishman who relocates to Jamaica only to find that an old woman has staked a claim on his land.
Nii Ayikwei Parkes grew up in Ghana and worked as a food technologist before becoming a full-time performance poet. Co-founder of the Tell Tales short story initiative, his oeuvre includes the books eyes of a boy, lips of a man and M is for Madrigal, and Incredible Blues, a CD. He received a 2003 Arts Council Award for his recently completed novel The Cost of Red Eyes and is currently an associate writer-in-residence at the BBC.
Nina Robertson lives in Norfolk and London. She is writing a novel set in eighteenth century New England. She has read her work at Tales of the DeCongested.
Patti Webb's extract is from her novel, Stamp. The themes are poverty, addiction and crime. Patti's previous jobs include: fire-eater, sword-walker, cleaner, entertainment agent, festival producer, magician, street performer, teacher, motorcycle courier, painter and decorator, living statue, street-theatre director, go-go dancer, hostess, tap dancer, puppeteer, receptionist, mask maker.
Laura Weinert is a writer, journalist and theatre critic from Los Angeles. She has written for the Los Angeles Times, the LA Weekly, and Back Stage West. As a member of InsideOut Writers, she has also taught creative writing to young students at LA’s Central Juvenile Hall.
Harry Whitehead works in the film and television business. He has published poetry, academic articles on anthropology, and he has a book on Nepalese tantric art coming out in 2006. He lived for four years in Far East Asia and is writing a novel about Tommy.
Project Director: Julia Bell
Editors: Heidi Amsinck, Mary-Louise Buxton, Tamsin Cottis, Nadine Grieve, Rebekah Lattin-Rawstrone, Basil Lawrence, Shaun Levin, Frances Merivale, Mihaela Nicolescu, Nii Ayikwei Parkes and William Weinstein.