Thursday, 20 December 2007

Tell us how to improve for next year

We are planning to run another competition in 2008, when Liverpool will be European Capital of Culture. Again, it will be a free gift to the city, and we want even more entries from a wider spectrum of the community. To help us improve the competition process and the way we distribute the books, we'd be really grateful for your feedback. We love compliments, of course, but we want criticism too – if we don't know what was sub-standard, we can't improve. So if you're a writer (whether you were successful in this year's comp or not), a reader, a retailer, librarian, or whoever, do please have a look at the questions on the FEEDBACK page (see link opposite) and either email us with your comments, or post them on the blog (tell us if you don't want them made public). MANY THANKS, and a very happy New Year. Enjoy Liverpool's year as Capital of Culture!

How to get hold of Volume 3

This volume was Capsica's birthday present to Liverpool on is 800th anniversary, so it is not for sale. We gave away 3,000 copies on 28th August 2007, and the remaining books are a free bonus volume in the set. But if you have bought the other four volumes separately, you won't now be able to get Vol.3 as a separate purchase.
SO: if you have bought Vols 1,2,4 and 5 and need Vol3 and a band to hold the set together, please email us and we'll tell you how to acquire them. Email:

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Praise for the Minis set

“I took the Mersey Minis to the reading group I run in Hoylake Cottage hospital. There are about ten in the group, all elderly and most can no longer hold a book or see to read; so for the last 2 weeks I have read from the Minis. I can't tell you how much they have enjoyed it. We had lots of laughs and shared so many memories and everyone had a thoroughly good time.”
-- Dr Angela Macmillan

“Bursting with brilliant writing inspired by Liverpool and the River Mersey, the Mersey Minis are a great way to read about Liverpool, whether you live here or know someone who'd love one, far away – a lovely pressie.”

"The research in unearthing so many quotable quotes about Liverpool has been phenomenal."
-- Peter Elson, Liverpool Daily Post

"I was really impressed with the 'Mersey Minis' book..... it is a gem. It's quirky, charming and 'unputdownable'. The woodcuts by Clare Curtis compliment the book so well and give a sense of atmosphere and life to the text."
-- Tom Muir, Orkney Boat Museum

"I was given your Vol I for a birthday present... the book is very handy for carrying around. I was at a really boring event the other night and was able to read it surreptitiously."
-- Stephen Guy, local historian

"Mersey Minis presents Liverpool in miniature. A wonderful composite of the city - lovely to hold, and a delight to read."
-- Margaret Murphy, crime novelist

"What a very stylish - and eminently ransackable - collection!"
-- Charles Nevin, journalist

"A wonderful idea and great choice of texts!"
-- Christoph Grunenberg, director, Tate Liverpool

"A beautifully produced and fascinating book."
-- Loyd Grossman

"Great idea, lovely wee books"
-- Dave Calder, poet and co-founder Windows Project

Monday, 27 August 2007

24 hours to go!

This time tomorrow, Liverpool will have completed eight centuries as a charter town – three cheers!
We're celebrating by giving the people of Liverpool and Merseyside the ENTIRE print run of this new book, so get down to one of the locations listed below and snaffle your FREE birthday present, with our love.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Where to get your FREE GIFT copy of Volume 3 on 28 August

Please NOTE: There are only limited numbers of books in each location, so I'd get there early - once they've gone, that's it!

In Liverpool city centre, you can find your book here:
BBC Radio Merseyside, Hanover Street
08 Place, Whitechapel
Bluecoat Display Centre 2, Hanover Street
60 Hope Street (restaurant)
Utility, Bold Street
The Italian Club, Bold Street
News from Nowhere, Bold Street
Walker Gallery, William Brown Street
Conservation Centre, Whitechapel
Maritime Museum, Albert Dock
Tate Gallery, Albert Dock
Liverpool Editions, Cook Street
Linghams, Heswall & West Kirby
Pritchards, Formby & Crosby
Waterstones, Bold Street & Southport
Borders, Speke
Blackwells, Brownlow Hill

In Knowsley, you can find the book here:
Huyton Library
Halewood Library
Kirkby Library
Prescot Library
Page Moss Library
Stockbridge Library
Whiston Library

In Halton:
Halton Lea Library
Runcorn Library

In Sefton:
Ainsdale Library
Aintree Library
Birkdale Library
Bootle Library
Churchtown Library
Crosby Library
College Road Library
Formby Library
Litherland Library
Maghull Library
Netherton Library
Orrell Library
Southport Library

Plus 13 libraries in St Helens

We will add some more locations this coming week, so check back here again.

Friday, 17 August 2007

LONGING: launch countdown

The publication day of Volume 3: LONGING is not far away - Tuesday 28th August.

Please note that this volume will be available ON THAT DAY ONLY until the boxed set is out at Christmas.

Vol 3 will not be available to buy separately.

We will put a list of locations on this blog in a couple of days, so you can get hold of your free copy on Liverpool's 800th birthday.

Monday, 6 August 2007

Competition winners

The complete list of writers for Volume 3 is released today – 80% of which have been chosen from entrants to the competition launched in March. Our congratulations to all those who won publication, and our great thanks to everyone who entered.

Report on the competition

Deborah Mulhearn, Mersey Minis series editor, has written a comprehensive report on the new writing competition for Volume 3 (out on 28 August). Scroll down to find MORE MERSEY MINIS PAGES, click on the link for WRITING COMPETITION REPORT, which will take you to the main website, then click on NEWS.

Friday, 3 August 2007

How to get your FREE copy of LONGING

LONGING will be published on 28 August 2007, and will be available FOR THAT DAY ONLY, so keep on eye on here to find out where you can get your FREE copy of the book.
It will also be a free gift within the boxed set of Mersey Minis, available from November, but it WON'T be available to buy separately, ever.
So for your 800th anniversary gift and memento, be ready to rush on Tuesday 28th.

Friday, 27 July 2007

Introduction by Deborah Mulhearn

Longing is the third volume in the Mersey Minis series. It’s a one-off, given away free on 28th August 2007, though it appears again within the complete five-volume set.
More than two thirds of the pieces in Longing result from a competition run by Capsica, the Mersey Minis publisher. The others were commissioned. We asked for a short piece of prose about Liverpool, the Mersey or Merseyside, on the theme of longing. The idea was to mix ‘ordinary' voices with established writers and well known names connected with Liverpool and create a sort of photo album full of literary snapshots, all written in 2007, the city’s 800th anniversary.
It was a pleasure and a privilege, as Mersey Minis editor, to be part of the panel of judges asked to select the competition entries. But not an easy task, I realised when I started reading. At first they were all clamouring for attention: slices of Liverpool life and longings that I’d either forgotten about or never knew existed. But slowly, distinctive voices started to emerge. Small details of longing stuck with me: wind chimes in a cemetery, a lone dandelion in cracked concrete, the salty lips of a long-ago lover. And then the large sweep of it hit me: for childhoold innocence, familiar streetscapes, the love and protection of parents and grandparents.
We all experience longing. It looks forward and back, like our two Pier Head Liver Birds, towards the city and out to sea, or to the future and the past. The two figures on the cover suggest these longings. The sculpture of Eleanor Rigby represents longing for what might have been, and the young girl longs for her life to begin. Perhaps.
The pieces selected weren’t necessarily the most polished, but they all have one thing in common besides Liverpool – they come from the heart.

Judges' comments

Charles Nevin: "This is me from elsewhere: ‘I’ve always liked Scousers, with the admiration of the timid for the daring, of the man below for the high-wire artist; in this case, high-wire artists of the over-dramatic, the anarchic and the riskily sentimental.’ The competition entries were like that, even from the non-Scousers: some pulled it off, as you can see; others didn’t."

Jane Davis: "Some pieces stood out because they were both well done and had something to say. Others were included because – after all this was Liverpool – they just had great stories. Still others were irresistible because they recorded lost Liverpool, or shared memories."

Karoline Fritzsch – a Beatles story

When I was eight years old, I discovered my dad’s Beatles album. In order to sing along. I started writing down the lyrics, and as I didn’t speak a word of English, I ended up with pages full of words that didn’t exist in any language, but sounded right. At 25, I still catch myself discovering the real lyrics.
When I was thirteen years old, I was a full-blown Beatles fan. I decided to go on a pilgrimage and cycle all the way from eastern Germany to Liverpool, a plan that I never realised and laughed at as I got older. At 25, I’m settled in the city that seems to have been with me all this time.
Mysterious ways, indeed.

Lewis Biggs – Bling it

Bling lies at the heart of the Liverpool experience, always present, but reaching maestro level on a Friday night. Liverpool people just love attention. Not that we are greedy or needy, like those poor stage-actors who curl up and die if they think that they are being ignored for a minute. No, we just feel that a glance of appreciation or envy is as much the currency of conversation as verbal wit. Bling’s the visual vocabulary of attitude, a kind of performance art. Within a group of people, it becomes a form of visual intercourse, the repartee of accessory. It’s what I miss when I’m away.

Dea Parkin – City lover

Liverpool. Like a lover, like an undependable, kiss-and-flee, love-you-leave-you-love-you charmer. Not so much a ne’er do well, more a don’t-stay-long-enough-to-tell. Defying commitment to category. Always flirting with tomorrow, dancing on the grave of your past. When will I ever know you? Sparkling in the light, moody in the shadow. Exciting. Stimulating. Passionate. I like that in a city.

Jennifer Moore – I say goodbye and you say hello

Every teenager yearns for escape, craving new horizons. At fifteen I flew all the way to America, only to find Liverpool waiting there for me. At the Hard Rock Cafe, Orlando, I bought the book, got the t-shirt and came away with a John Lennon recording and a tiny packet of dust for good measure. Not just any dust, you understand. Cavern Club dust.

William Backshall – The Scaldy

I learned to swim in the Cut. On summer days, we lads would scale the canal wall adjacent to our terrace house, undress on the towpath, and with those of us able to boast a swimming costume hurriedly changing, the rest would jump or dive into the dark canal waters with whoops of delight. The centre of attraction was a huge submerged pipe on the far bank constantly discharging pleasantly hot water from the grimy rubber-works boiler room. This was known far and wide as the Scaldy, which, over many years attracted boys with its free entertainment. In addition to swimming, youths would bring along bars of soap, and enjoy an al fresco bath, though whether they emerged cleaner was doubtful.
Others would daub their bodies in bizarre patterns with the clay that surrounded the area, and after cavorting around in imitation war dances of Redskin Indians seen at the local movie matinee, they would then jump into the waters and emerge again as palefaces.
Older lads engaged recognised swimming styles, whilst we kids adopted what was known as ‘doggy’. I eventually learnt to dive, progressing from belly flops that left my stomach red and smarting, to an improved crab-like entry. At the bottom of the dive the water was inky black, and surfacing, it would change to a dark brown, then lighter brown, becoming clear only inches from the top. What a brew! Why we never came down with dreadful diseases, I’ll never understand. Another hazard was the neighbourhood rubbish that lay jettisoned on the bottom, old beds and bike wheels, ensuring great care had to be taken not to become entangled.... (more)