Welcome to the winter 2013 issue of The Manchester Review. December here in northern England is a muted and chilly sort of thing: long dim mornings, shivering nights and a palette dominated by browns and greys. In that sobering context the work we feature in this issue is a reminder of other places and other seasons—some warmer and more various, others, even tougher, simpler and less humane. “Imagine ice,” Jane Routh advises us in her wonderful sequence on the Franklin expedition, “Imagine cold./Imagine a ship held fast all winter long.” Vona Groarke’s poems, on the other hand, remind us of the beauties and hopefulness of domestic gardens that “forget themselves/for whole months at a time/only to turn out their box of tricks/at the first tilt of new light.” Moniza Alvi’s poems take us back to heat and fearfulness of India at the time of partition, whereas Sean O’Brien with his characteristic vigour urges us to “see sense” in a contemporary “deracinated” northern landscape of “brickfields and scrub”. Elsewhere in this sparklingly various issue, we visit a crumbling Italian Palazzo in wartime with Elvis Bego, and overhear the dreary complacencies of a middle-class garden party with Richard Lea; we see Helsinki Harbour and Cantabria in Spain in the work of Kerry Hardie, and the “desperate, debauched carnival” of Las Vegas in Kathryn Kruse’s story “And With Such Great Effort to Achieve”. We hope, as always, that you enjoy this latest issue of The Manchester Review and that you find plenty in it to warm, brighten and enrich these short winter days and long winter nights.