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MIR9 Editors
MIR9 Editors

The MIR9 editors are made up of Birkbeck students on the MA in Creative Writing and the MA in Shakespeare and Contemporary Studies. They are: Sue Betney, Dane Buckley, Sarah Cumming, Natalie Fletcher, Marlowe Harris, Zoë Ranson and Antonia Reed. When they aren't busy with the book, they can be found working on their own novels and short stories or hanging out at the Globe. They are looking forward to the MIR9 Launch Party on 27 September, 2012.


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MIR9: Introducing the Birkbeck writers – Jack Wilkes, M.J. Whistler and Nadim Safdar


Jack Wilkes left school at fifteen to become an electrician. He’s installed showers, sold and fitted water softeners. His first creative job was as an animator for computer games but still no writing involved. When his children came along he made up stories for them, but was unsure of his English so didn’t write them down. Sixty-two was a bit late to learn to write fiction, but he started nonetheless. Now after nearly four years of various courses he’s getting close.

 

Describe yourself in three words

Boring old git.

 

If you could have written any book which one would it be?

My first bestseller.

 

Which three books would you take to a desert island?

Three very large blank writing pads.

 

What are your top five writing tips?

  1. After sixty years of not writing you’re asking me?
  2. I write down questions about my story then answer them, which should throw up more questions which I answer.  This way I keep writing and usually have other stories pop up.
  3. I make up rhymes about anything which gets me started and it’s a good brain exercise anyway.
  4. “Control, a2”’ double spaces the whole document.
  5. I’ve only just started so ask me again in a couple of years and I might have some more.

 

And finally … salmon or green?

One of the drawbacks of not reading is I can’t see the importance of salmon or green. All I see (and hear) is a fish fighting its way through a crystal clear stream.  I become that fish and it has a story.

 

 

M. J. Whistler is a writer of British-Guyanese descent, living in London. Her poems have been published in Poetry from Art at Tate Modern (Tate Modern, 2010 and 2011) and online publications, and she was shortlisted for the 2011 Wasafiri New Writing Prize. Her short stories have appeared on the Writers’ Hub and in Decongested Tales (Decongested Books, 2010). Currently she is working on a novel exploring the elusiveness of identity and how even when you think you know someone, they can turn out to be someone quite different. She has a background in journalism and the arts, with degrees in History/Art History and Psychology, and is currently working on a Master’s in Creative Writing at Birkbeck. She is also a transpersonal psychotherapist and spends any free time travelling and reading.

 

Describe yourself in three words

We're all mirrors = see for yourself 

If this is too cryptic, try, tricky to pigeonhole

 

If you could have written any book which one would it be?

Chekhov's Three Sisters

 

Which three books would you take to a desert island?

  • Complete works of Shakespeare - that should keep me going a bit - but maybe it'll just gather dust (or sand)  and the itching would be more  fun
  • Dostoevsky's The Idiot because I need a clear long spell to get into it
  • Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, as it might be necessary to prepare

 

What are your top five writing tips?

  1. There’s me and there’s my writing
  2. Remember to enjoy it – that's why we write
  3. Befriend the inner critic – its intention is to help, it's just that it gets a bit big for its boots
  4. Keep in mind Samuel Becket's quote “fail, fail again, fail harder” - and keep at it
  5. Think: Tortoise and Hare fable - get a regular pattern 

 

And finally … salmon or green?

Green salad with griddled salmon is my favourite meal!

 

 

Nadim Safdar has worked in factories and as a carer, medical volunteer, soldier, stand-up, businessman and dentist; as a director of Fathers 4 Justice he occasionally finds himself in handcuffs. He is writing a novel about a Paki in the British Army who returns to find his people as volatile as the Taliban he left behind.

 

Describe yourself in three words

Love is everything

 

If you could have written any book which one would it be?

The Waste Land – TS Eliot

 

Which three books would you take to a desert island?

  • Stanley, A Biography - Henry Morton
  • Lasts Anatomy – RMH McMinn
  • The Mango: Botany, Production and Uses – Richard E Litz

 

What are your top five writing tips?

  1. Pretend everything you’re writing is about love
  2. Don’t defend your work it doesn’t belong to you
  3. What you get out is directly proportional to the hours you put in
  4. Don’t bluff it, write what you know about
  5. Don’t reach for the bottle too early

 

And finally … salmon or green?

British Racing Green


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