The 27th September finally saw in the long awaited launch of what has been described as ‘book of the year’ (unofficially). No, not J.K. Rowling’s A Casual Vacancy, although that was released on the same day. I’m talking about Birkbeck’s annual short story anthology, The Mechanics’ Institute Review: Issue 9. And I’m pleased say that we’ve already outsold J.K., well almost.
The beautiful Keynes Library was the location for the launch party and it was jammed to the rafters within minutes of the doors opening. I suspect the party-goers had heard a rumour about free wine and cheese on sticks. They weren’t disappointed. On walking into the room, the first sight was a pile of skeletons: MIR9 stacked high on a table for all to admire (and buy). The next obstacle was black sparkly skull hung strategically from the ceiling as a symbol of … well death really … but in the light-hearted celebratory way of the Day of the Dead theme of MIR9.
When the wine was running low everyone gathered around for their first preview of the stories inside. Alexander Knights, with the help of his friend Jo, wooed the crowd with his story Violet - an amusing but somewhat dark tale of a man’s quest to save ancient poetry, as well as his beloved Violet. Victoria Grigg read an extract of her story Glittery Insides about a twelve year-old girl and the disturbing events of a family trip away, which left everyone hungry for more.
Those who purchased the book on the night were also treated to a shot of tequila and a chunk of chilli chocolate. The bribery seemed to work as the pile of books diminished pretty quickly, and with many of the authors in the room, signed copies were aplenty.
The day was a culmination of ten months of blood, sweat and tantrums from a team of editors, authors and a very patient copy editor and designer. Relief and exhaustion were among the many emotions experienced by all as the after party continued in a nearby pub where the revellers drank champagne from shot glasses and discussed the exceptional quality of the book.
A huge thank you to everyone involved.
There will be another reading event at Foyles, Charing Cross Road on Monday 19th November at 6:30 pm, featuring some of our guest authors.
Two of the MIR9 authors, Chris Lilly and Rachael Withers, will be reading their stories at Hubbub on Monday night and there will be copies of MIR9 on sale.
The Mechanics’ Institute Review is available in paperback and as an eBook on Amazon.
Paperback - Amazon
eBook - Amazon
eBook - Kobo