Manchester Art Gallery launch new series #MAGfiction

  • Short stories and paintings combine for a new weekly series
  • Created by Manchester Art Gallery and writer Patrick Kelleher 

Short stories and beautiful paintings come together in new weekly series, MAGfiction, created by Patrick Kelleher and Manchester Art Gallery.

Patrick Kelleher, a writer and member of the gallery’s Visitor Services Team, has collaborated with M.A.G. and created short stories inspired by the paintings hanging in their collection.

Patrick, who works part-time at the gallery, began writing the short stories last Easter after taking inspiration from Millais’ Winter Fuel and now has enough stories to run one a week across social media for the next year.

Speaking to the Northern Quota, Kelleher told us how the idea for MAGfiction came about: “The Gallery has a great collection of Victorian paintings, most of which tend towards narrative art. I thought they made great writing prompts.

“The idea of writing 50–100 word flash fiction keeps it brief enough so that I’m not asking the reader to commit to anything too long. I also thought it might be a different way to engage visitors to the gallery by enabling them to view words in new and surprising ways.

“I set myself a challenge to write some flash fiction about the paintings that I could share with my colleagues on the Thursday Late shift. When I brought the first batch in, it turned into a scavenger hunt as they went around the galleries looking for the paintings so that they could read the story in front of them. Other staff loved them too and thought we could share them with the public.

“So far I’m the only writer [contributing], we’re testing the water to see what kind of reaction they get. If people feel inspired and wish to contribute flash fiction, poetry or haiku of their own, based on works in the Gallery, that would be fantastic.”

Each painting featured in the series is on display in the Gallery, Kelleher added: “I’ve deliberately stuck to paintings from the permanent collection and visitors can see them on display.

“The response is encouraging and I hope we’re building an audience for them. Once people know that a new #MAGfiction will come out every Friday, I hope they’ll check back to read the latest one. Who knows, it may even be inspired by their favourite painting.”

Manchester Art Gallery publishes the short stories every Friday across their Twitter, Facebook and Instagram with the hashtags #MAGfiction and #fictionfriday.

For the latest news on the #MAGfiction series, you can follow them on twitter:

or visit the gallery’s website for the full collection: