The Mechanics’ Institute Review (MIR), Birkbeck’s short fiction anthology, is opening up to entries from across the UK after receiving funding from Arts Council England.
Previously, the anthology only published stories by student’s and alumni of Birkbeck’s creative writing programme.
Julia Bell, director of the creative writing MA at Birkbeck, said: “This is a new departure for creative writing at Birkbeck, editing a publication that showcases the best short-story writers from across the UK and which represents diverse and original voices. It’s an exciting addition to the wider literary culture.”
Any UK resident is eligible to submit unpublished short stories of 6,000 words or less via a dedicated website. Entries close 10th February.
Successful applicants will not be paid but they will receive a complimentary copy of MIR14 and will be invited to attend events including the launch, readings and a workshop on reading their work aloud.
Author and MIR editorial board member Kit de Waal, who funds a creative writing scholarship at Birkbeck, said: “The most important thing for emerging writers is to value your voice, value your story. Because you haven’t read anything like what you’re writing, like the thing you’re writing, don’t be afraid to write that thing and send it out. Value your experience, value your voice, value where you come from.”
According to Birkbeck, a significant number of around 200 new authors featured in the anthology have found agents and landed contracts as a result of their inclusion in MIR.