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Getting To Know Miriam Elia, Author Of We Go To The Gallery
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Getting To Know Miriam Elia, Author Of We Go To The Gallery

Picture of Danielle Wood
Updated: 12 December 2015
With huge demand for Miriam Elia’s book We Go to the Gallery – the visual artist, comedy writer and satirist decided to publish a new consumer-friendly version due for release throughout the UK on September the 21st. The Culture Trip spoke with Miriam pre-release and were tickled by her witty candour.

The multi-talented Miriam is a North London born and bred girl. Miriam’s younger self wished to rebel against being taken to galleries by her artist parents and longed to be a ‘normal kid.’ Coming from a long line of theatrical relatives, Miriam knew in some way that she would embody parts of her family’s dramatic flair. Despite having a complicated relationship with the arts, Miriam studied at the Royal College of Art in London before going on to use what she knew from both the art and comedy world to begin writing her book. ‘I found a desk by the canal and got to writing.’

When settling on a concept for We Go to the Gallery, Kickstarter was the ‘only’ way Miriam envisioned raising money to get her idea off the ground. She had to raise £4000 to get the 1000 copies of her book printed and successfully achieved this. ‘As a thank you, everyone who contributed to funding We Go to the Gallery had their name published in the book.’

Following the success of her first book Edward the Hamster, Miriam’s second book We Go to the Gallery is a spoof version of the Ladybird books from the 1960s. As we reminisce over the stories which famously portrayed the daily lives of Mummy, Peter and Jane as a syllabus for encouraging young children to read and write, Miriam’s version sees the same characters visiting an exhibition at a modern art gallery where the children ask questions about prompting adult works. Miriam collected the classic Ladybird books since the age of ten and when publishing We Go to the Gallery used their recognisable Ladybird logo. It was her dad who brought the notion of copyright up, but Miriam shrugged off such a fatherly suggestion until The Independent raised the same question a day later. It was then that Miriam changed the familiar logo to a beetle.

For We Go to the Gallery it took around a year and a half from idea to published works. It was a process of constant redrafting and using the good rapport with her brother to finalise the copy. When asked about themes explored throughout her work, Miriam told us ‘there are no themes. It’s not about me; it’s about creating a world. What people wish to read into is fine but it’s not my intention when writing as that doesn’t seem natural.’

Miriam believes that an artist’s role in society should be to try their best. ‘If the work hits a nerve, gains a bigger audience and becomes a success then go with that! When I do well, followers look for new works. This in turn makes me dig deeper.’ Like the weather, Miriam is lead by her mood when seeking inspiration. ‘There’s no logic to it.’ Tony Hancock was one of the biggest reasons Miriam switched from art to comedy and her only zany trait while writing is to listen to old Tony Hancock recordings. If she is not ‘screaming with laughter’ while writing, then Miriam knows the concept isn’t correct.

Miriam is currently working on her next book alongside her brother with an estimated release date of Christmas 2015. She has just returned from travelling Vietnam and is keeping busy by forming compositions and working on smaller projects. In the words of Miriam’s brother, ‘a good satirist aims at everything.’

The new commercial editions of ‘We Go To The Gallery’ are published by Dung Beetle and are available in stockists throughout the UK now. Kindle and iPad versions will be available in October 2015.

By Danielle Wood

Danielle is the art editor for the London hub of The Culture Trip. She has a fascination with living a life full of creativity. Theatrical soul. Cinematic admirer. Champion frolicker. Avid foodie. Sunset enthusiast.